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'We are not guinea pigs,' say South African anti-vaccine protesters

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Anti-vaccine protesters took to the streets in Johannesburg on Wednesday to voice their concern over Africa’s first human trials for a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Last Wednesday, the University of the Witwatersrand in partnership with Oxford University rolled out South Africa’s first clinical trial, which will consist of 2,000 volunteers.

The involvement of South Africa in vaccine trials is intended to ensure the continent will have access to an affordable vaccine and not be left at the back of the queue.

About 50 people held protests at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, saying they did not want Africans to be used as guinea pigs, reflecting concerns among some on the continent over testing drugs on people who do not understand the risks.

“I’m not happy at all! I mean this feels like the 1980s all over again when the AIDS pandemic just broke out in South Africa,” said 29-year-old graphic designer Tebogo Legoale.

Some of the placards carried by demonstrators read: “We are not guinea pigs.”

Twenty-nine-year-old community activist Walter Mashilo said the vaccine should be tested first on members of parliament and ministers’ children, not on poor people.

“We are clear, comrades, we don’t want this vaccine (trial),” he said, addressing the crowd.

South Africa has the highest rate of infections on the continent, with confirmed cases at over 150,000 and more than 2,600 deaths.

Traditional healers are also fighting for their medicine to be used against the virus instead of a vaccine.

“We are not going to follow a vaccine because we as healers believe that our traditional medicine is not given a chance,” said Sellwane Mokatsi, 32-year-old compliance officer, who is also part of the traditional healers’ organisation.

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Boy, 15, charged with supplying drugs in connection with Carson Price's death

A teenager has been charged with supplying class A drugs in connection with 13-year-old Carson Price’s death.

The boy, 15, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was first arrested on April 18 2019, in connection with the death of Carson from south Wales.

Gwent Police said today that the teenager has been charged with the supply of MDMA and would appear at Cwmbran Youth Court on July 28.

Carson was found unconscious in Ystrad Mynach Park, around a mile from his home in Hengoed, Caerphilly, on April 12 last year.

He was rushed to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, but he was pronounced dead when he arrived.

This is a breaking news story, more to follow…

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Amazon driver abandons delivery van, says he quits in viral tweet

Protesters outside Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’ home set up guillotine

FOX Business’ Cheryl Casone gives details on demonstrators setting up a guillotine in front of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ home.

A Detroit-area Amazon delivery driver on Monday said he abandoned a van full of packages at a gas station in a tweet that has since gone viral.

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Derick Lancaster, known as @_lilderick on Twitter, said in a Monday tweet that he "quit" his job at Amazon and shared the location of his abandoned delivery van "full of gas wit the keys in the IGNITION," followed by another tweet sharing a photo of the parked van.

"Mentally, my health — I just couldn't keep working 13 hours a day for that company," Lancaster told FOX Business.

His tweet went viral and now has hundreds of thousands of likes and comments from other users expressing concerns about delayed packages while others cheered Lancaster for the move.

Tweet with profanity censored. (FOX Business)

In a video posted later on Monday, Lancaster says he's not "about to keep waking up at 9 [a.m.]" and getting home at 10 [p.m.]," then doing it all over again the next day. Lancaster also called out Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in the video for unfair treatment, saying he could make "$15 an hour cutting grass."

PROTESTERS SET UP GUILLOTINE OUTSIDE JEFF BEZOS' DC HOME

He told FOX Business that after his shift Monday, he had plans to help out another delivery driver complete his work, adding that drivers deliver anywhere from 150 to 200 packages or more every day.

Lancaster tweeted about being "unemployed" on Tuesday but said Amazon has not contacted him via phone or email since his tweets went viral.

FOX Business has reached out to Amazon for comment.

AMAZON, LOWES TO PAY BONUSES TO ESSENTIAL WORKERS

Lancaster said he received "thousands" of comments and messages from other Amazon employees who expressed gratitude that he spoke up.

"There were some people saying they wish they have the courage to quit their job, but they have to stay for financial reasons," he said. "Some were saying they quit their job the next morning after they saw my video."

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He didn't express much concern over those who were worried about their delayed packages, saying there is no correlation between his decision to leave his van and people commenting on his tweets about delayed packages. One man even threatened to sue, but lawyers have also been offering their support to Lancaster.

Lancaster said he took to social media to express his frustration with the situation because he wanted to vent, saying he never meant for the tweet to go viral, but a lot of people who saw his posts appeared to relate.

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An Amazon delivery driver job listing at the company's Hazel Park, Michigan, location says the job pays $15 per hour and employees can expect to work 10-hour shifts for up to five days a week. The listing says Amazon offers competitive compensation, employee benefits, community interaction and states that "every day is fun and different."

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NYPD budget cuts an 'accounting gimmick': Former commissioner

Defunding police concept is ‘ludicrous’: Former NYPD commissioner

Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly discusses the push to defund the police as crime rises in metropolitan areas and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio slashing the NYPD budget by $1 billion.

Former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the idea of defunding police is “ludicrous,” and called the Big Apple’s budget cuts against the NYPD “an accounting gimmick.”

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Kelly, who served as the New York City Police Department’s top cop for 14 years, spoke to FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday morning, only hours after New York City Council approved nearly $1 billion in budget cuts to the NYPD.

“The concept of defunding the police,” Kelly said, “is ludicrous. Some twisted way to try to get revenge for the murder of George Floyd by just striking out police departments, indiscriminately taking money.”

Protesters gather at an encampment outside City Hall, on June 30, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Protesters have been camped outside City Hall, insisting that the city slash $1 billion from the NYPD’s budget amid a nationwide campaign to “defund” police — a movement animated by outrage over the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of police.

GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTERS PUSH TO DEFUND THE POLICE: WHAT IT MEANS

The new plan calls for an ambitious, nearly $300 million cut in police overtime. The department paid out $115 million in overtime just during recent protests over Floyd's May 25 death in Minneapolis.

Critics of the deal said the billion-dollar cut wasn’t a billion-dollar cut at all. Some of the funding reduction, they noted, was merely shifting police functions like school safety to the Department of Education. And they doubted the promised reduction in overtime would ever happen.

Kelly was asked during his “Mornings with Maria” appearance if he agreed with Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's recent statement about the budget cuts, in which she said: “Defunding police means defunding police. It does not mean budget tricks or funny math. It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget so the exact same police remain in schools.”

AOC SAYS PROPOSED $1B BUDGET CUT TO NYPD ISN'T ENOUGH: 'DEFUNDING POLICE MEANS DEFUNDING POLICE’

Kelly, now Guardian Group CEO, said he agrees with certain aspects of Ocasio-Cortez’s argument.

Protesters learn defensive tactics during a demonstration at an encampment outside City Hall, on June 30, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

“What happened yesterday was an accounting gimmick,” he said. “I’m totally against the defunding of police, but it showed, to a certain extent, the disingenuous nature of Mayor [Bill] de Blasio, because he’s claiming it’s a billion-dollar hit. I mean, hey, we’ll go with that, but it certainly isn’t.”

The approved cuts to the NYPD would come from canceling a nearly 1,200-person police recruiting class set for next month — though another class in October is scheduled to go forward — as well as halving overtime spending, redeploying officers from administrative functions to patrol and ending police responsibility for school crossing guards and homeless outreach.

DE BLASIO ANNOUNCES PROPOSAL TO CUT NYPD BUDGET BY $1B

The police department also would give up control over public school security, which the NYPD took over from the Department of Education in 1998. The city has about 5,300 civilian school safety agents. De Blasio said details were being worked out, but the Education Department would train the agents.

Money would go instead to education, social services in communities hit hard by the virus, and summer youth programs for over 100,000 people.

Prior to the budget cuts, the NYPD budget was nearly $6 billion, plus several billion dollars more in shared city expenses such as pensions.

PROTESTERS DEMAND NYC MAYOR DE BLASIO CUT NYPD BUDGET BY $1B

The vote by the City Council came at an extraordinary moment when the nation's biggest city is grappling with a $9 billion revenue loss due to the coronavirus pandemic and simultaneously with pressure to cut back on policing and invest more in community and social programs.

“Cuts that were announced two days ago, that’s not making a major in-road into the department, which, again, is a good thing, but it’s just not being truthful on the part of the mayor and the City Council,” Kelly continued.

Pivoting to crime statistics, Kelly attributed the increase in shootings in New York City and nationwide to “police backing off from being proactive.”

“It certainly is cause for concern,” he said. Kelly referenced de Blasio’s decision to disband the NYPD’s Anti-Crime Unit, which was focused on making gun-related arrests.

“This is, sort of, a signal that we’re surrendering. That we are accepting violent crime. We’re going to, unfortunately, continue to see crime go up.”

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He added that he believes New York City is “at risk” of losing its loosely-used title of “Safest Big City in America.”

“We have a problem here. No question about it,” he said. “The city took a body blow with coronavirus and if you layer on top of that this exploding crime problem, I think the business community in New York should be very much concerned about it."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Princess Anne title: Why did Princess Anne refuse titles?

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Princess Anne is the Queen’s second child, and the current holder of the Princess Royal title, one of the highest honours in the Royal Family. Although not the eldest of the monarch’s brood, she was the first to have children. However, she decided not to accept inherited titles in the family.

Why did Princess Anne refuse titles?

Princess Anne’s children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall (formerly Phillips), did not receive princely titles at birth.

Archaic royal rules mean only the offspring of male royal heirs may pass on their honours, making them princes or princesses.

As such, the Princess Royal’s children could not inherit titles, but the Queen did make her daughter an offer.

READ MORE

  • Royal revelation: How Peter Phillips has been living with ex Autumn

She refused, however, choosing to allow her children to live their lives without the honours later afforded to their cousins.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, she defended her decision, saying she believed they were “better off”.

The Princess Royal said: “I think it was probably easier for them, and I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles.

“So I think that was probably the right thing to do.”

Experts state Princess Anne had “no regrets” about their standing amongst the other royal grandchildren.

Her son Peter Phillips was eventually allowed to make the decision himself, further down the line.

When he married Autumn Phillips in 2008, he was the first of the Queen’s grandchildren to tie the knot.

In celebration, the Queen allegedly offered him an Earldom, which he turned down for reasons unknown.

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When Zara Tindall followed in 2011, she was not given the same choice as her brother.

However, both she and royal experts have revealed the Olympian has done well without one.

She told the Times in 2015 her lack of a title presented her with “opportunity”.

She said: “I’m very lucky that both my parents decided to not use the title and we grew up and did all the things that gave us the opportunity to do.”

Former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter also hailed the decision as a “masterstroke”.

He said: “It was a masterstroke of the Princess Royal when she decided not to give her children titles.

“Growing up as a commoner allowed Zara to thrive as her own woman, and there has never been pressure on her to conform.

“She has benefited from it in all sorts of ways.”

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Princess Beatrice snub: The reason Bea is NOT a working royal – despite HRH title

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Princess Beatrice, 31, is the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and is ninth in line to the British throne. She, along with her younger sister Princess Eugenie, holds a HRH – Her Royal Highness – title, a style normally used to denote senior members of Royal Family.

Since the early 18th century it’s been customary for the title to be issued to sons and grandsons, and later, daughters and granddaughters, of the monarch.

But despite her title, Beatrice is not a working royal.

This is in stark contrast to many other royals high up in the line of succession to the throne.

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex are both hardworking members of the Royal Family and represent the Crown in full capacity.

READ MORE

  • The REAL reason Princess Eugenie didn’t wear a veil on her wedding

But Edward, who is the younger brother of Prince Andrew, Beatrice’s father, is online 11th in line to the throne.

Being a working member of the Royal Family means you receive a check from the Sovereign Grant – the Government-supported fund that finances the Queen and her family.

Although Princess Beatrice still attends events like Royal Ascot and Trooping the Colour, she has no obligation – or intention – to match more senior royals.

Instead, Princess Beatrice has used her BA in History from Goldsmiths to work in finance and consulting.

The 31-year-old works at software company Afiniti and is employed as the Vice president of Partnerships & Strategy.

Her company bio reads: “Beatrice is responsible for the management of the strategic Afiniti partnerships as well as company growth through unique initiatives and client development.”

Princess Beatrice recently talked about her struggles with dyslexia in a video shared by global charity Made By Dyslexia.

Speaking of her job in May, Beatrice said: “I’m very lucky I’ve been able to find a job that relies on my communication skills a lot more than it is me sitting behind a desk.

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“A lot of my colleagues also have dyslexia because we work in a technology company that is always about looking at things differently.

“And I think that’s one of the strengths we have as dyslexics, looking at things differently.”

Princess Beatrice’s father Prince Andrew, who helps support his daughters financially, stepped down from royal duties last year.

Andrew was the one who agreed to let his daughters use HRH titles.

The Duke of York announced his withdrawal as a senior royal after an interview with BBC Newsnight about his friendship with late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The scandal has reportedly led to Prince Charles, who is the future King of Britain, eager to slim down the monarchy.

Editor of Royal Central Charlie Proctor suspects the Prince of Wales will take steps to have a minimal monarchy.

He said: “Since the Prince Andrew debacle and the events surrounding his Newsnight interview, I should imagine support for a slimmed-down monarchy have shot up overnight’

“Also gone are any chances of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie ever becoming working Royals.

“Andrew has always hoped and lobbied for his daughters to become full-time Royals as they were the only blood Princesses a few years ago.

“There is now no chance they will ever conduct engagements on behalf of Queen Elizabeth or King Charles.”

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China vs India: Military vessels sent to patrol disputed lake by New Delhi – tensions soar

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The move comes after China showcased its military might with a series of war games in the South China Sea, further underlining Beijing’s increasingly belligerent foreign policy. Pangong Tso is a strategically vital waterway where the Chinese Army lake fleet has deployed Type 928 B ships in a statement of intent.

The Indian Navy’s decision to counter by drafting in a dozen high-powered, bigger capacity and top-of-the-line surveillance equipped steel boats indicates New Delhi’s refusal to be bullied into ceding territory in Ladakh.

Indian and Chinese military commanders last week agreed to disengage troops from a heavily disputed stretch of their border where a clash earlier this month left at least 23 Indian soldiers dead.

Senior military officials from both sides met for several hours last Monday in an attempt to reduce tensions in the Ladakh region in the western Himalayas.

A source said: “Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in Eastern Ladakh were discussed and will be taken forward by both the sides.”

Nevertheless, the Hindustan Times reported there was a widespread belief among Indian national security planners that China was nevertheless determined to tighten its grip on key points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which divides the two countries in Ladakh.

Speaking last week, Tory MP and former British Army officer Tobias Ellwood told Express.co.uk of the ongoing dispute: “It’s not just the two largest nations on the planet, these are ones with nuclear weapons in their back pockets.

“Therefore we need to watch developments here very carefully.

“What we are seeing with China is a greater resolve to promote its ambitions in a more aggressive style.

“There’s been the South China Sea, Hong Kong and Taiwan and now the Indian/Chinese border in eastern Kashmir.

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“What we are seeing here is China testing the mettle of India knowing that China has now got so large militarily, economically and indeed technologically that nobody is willing to take it on.”

Addressing the brutal clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers, Mr Ellwood cited a 1996 agreement banning firearms from the Ladakh region to avoid a potentially catastrophic exchange of gunfire.

He said: “To avoid that there is this large area in the Galwan Valley where no firearms are allowed which means that if you are going to have any impact you have go in there with bats and other things and go hand to hand in the old medieval way.

“But ironically it is abiding by the 1996 agreement.”

Separately, a statement issued by China’s military yesterday said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) 73rd Group Army had undertaken a live-fire exercise off of the country’s southeast coast.

Zhou Zhirong, a flight commander of the army aviation brigade involved in the training, said: “In the exercise, we conducted the training through day and night, set multiple kinds of targets on land, at sea and in the air, and stressed on the tactical coordination in continuous strikes by multiple projectiles.

“The gunship pilots have greatly improved their combat effectiveness in such an actual combat environment.”

More manoeuvres are scheduled between now and Saturday.

China, which claims sovereignty of the waterway, has fortified numerous uninhabited islands in the South China Sea.

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BBC Weather: Blistering 40C heat fuels ‘intense’ European thunderstorms – alert issued

BBC Weather meteorologist Helen Willetts warned viewers that a named storm in Finland brought very strong winds and lots of rain during the course of Tuesday. The weather presenter noted that that low pressure is still around, whipping up the winds across Scandinavia and the Baltic states, as well. That also brought an end the scorching heat recently seen there.

Ms Willetts said: “The heat though remains with us with temperatures into the 40Cs across parts of Iberia.

“It’s stretching into the north of Africa as well.

“That heat will be fuelling some really intense thunderstorms as well.

“There are orange warnings out for some parts of the continent today.”

She continued: “You’ve got some heat to be expected across Turkey as well.

“Some of these storms are pushing into Hungary across Italy, and heading into the Balkans and Poland again.

“They have the potential to give damaging hail, large gusty winds and flash flooding too.

“There’s quite a bit of rain around that low pressure area as well still pushing its way into Scandinavia.”

The BBC presenter added: “So the risk of flooding remains here too because the snow is still melting here at the same time.

“By Friday, the storms will have pushed further eastwards.

“They’ll still be affecting the Alpine regions with some parts of southern France and Germany as well.”

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Ms Willetts told viewers: “The heat will be easing just a little bit across northern parts of Iberia.

“But more wet and windy weather will be in store into the northwest of Europe.

“Here temperatures remain a little bit below par, but are building across Paris and Madrid.

“It stays hot and dry for much of Rome though there are showers further north.

“Some showers getting towards Moscow where temperatures are into the high 20Cs.”

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Colorado museums, Denver Zoo reopened after coronavirus closures

While new coronavirus cases continue to surge across the U.S., Colorado arts and culture institutions remain desperate to share their works with audiences.

It’s a tricky balance, this reopening amid signs that closures may soon be needed again.

For evidence, see Colorado bars, which reopened on June 19 only to be closed again this week. Or this week’s announcement of canceled events, such as the Larimer County Fair (its Aug. 2-4 PRCA Rodeo), the Evergreen Music Festival (normally July 4), and Bellvue’s annual Mountain Festival, put on by the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department (normally Sept. 12).

RELATEDDenver’s thriving arts scene was headed for its best year yet. And then the pandemic hit.

For now, many cultural institutions are still at the ready. And, as with everything else, if you’re being smart (wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing hands, etc.) there’s a chance to get some of what you’ve been so badly missing since mid-March.

Here’s a list of Colorado institutions that have opened recently or that plan to open soon. Remember these reopenings are provisional and possibly temporary. Check the respective websites and social media accounts for the latest updates, timed tickets and other safety guidelines, as this may not have the most up-to-date information:

  • Denver Botanic Gardens’ York Street (in Denver) and Chatfield Farms (in Littleton) locations are now open. Both have limited capacity and timed tickets. botanicgardens.org
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science reopened to the public on June 23. The big draw for now is the touring, Lego-focused exhibit, “The Art of the Brick,” which opened June 25 and is free (with regular admission) through Labor Day. dmns.org
  • The Denver Zoo reopened to the public on June 12 with social-distancing guidelines and timed entry. denverzoo.org
  • Denver Art Museum reopened last week after the longest closure in its history, and there are tons of new and held-over exhibitions to take in. denverartmuseum.org
  • History Colorado and its eight statewide museums reopened in mid-June, including the Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center, Fort Vasquez (in Platteville), The Center for Colorado Women’s History at Byers-Evans House (Denver), El Pueblo History Museum, Trinidad History Museum, Montrose’s Ute Indian Museum and Leadville’s Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin. The flagship History Colorado Center is also open in downtown Denver. historycolorado.org

  • The tourist-friendly Georgetown Loop Railroad, which is operated by History Colorado, also returned to service with multiple daily round trips. georgetownlooprr.com
  • Clyfford Still Museum is now open to members in the Golden Triangle neighborhood, showcasing that artist’s abstract expressionism. It reopens to the public on July 7. clyffordstillmuseum.org
  • Butterfly Pavilion, one of the few accredited invertebrate zoos in the world, reopened to the public on June 13, with guests and staff under requirements to wear masks. (If you forget yours, they’ll be available for $5 at the front desk.) butterflies.org
  • McNichols Civic Center Building is open and displaying a pair of Pride-adjacent exhibitions, “Queer City of the Plains: An Artistic Look at Denver’s LGBTQ+ History (through Aug. 30) and “Lavender Mist: Gay Men in Contemporary Art in Colorado,” both through Aug. 30. Both are free and open to the public. Groups of eight people or fewer can make appointments online for a two-hour time slot. artsandvenues.com

RELATEDThere are two LGBTQ art exhibits at the McNichols Building. One is inclusive. The other isn’t.

  • The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver debuted Nari Ward’s bracing, hyper-relevant “We the People” by reopening to the public on July 1. mcadenver.org
  • Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, the state’s official aerospace institution, reopened on June 27. wingsmuseum.org
  • The Molly Brown House Museum reopened on June 26, with a virtual birthday celebration of the Denver historic figure planned for July 17, featuring Neyla Pekarek (formerly of The Lumineers). mollybrown.org
  • Four Mile Historic Park has been allowing people back in the park’s outdoor spaces since June 19. Visitors will be able to access the park by purchasing timed tickets. fourmilepark.org
  • Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art has reopened two days a week (Wednesdays and Fridays) to showcase its moody, alluring new exhibit, “Night Reels: The Work of Stacey Steers.” Read a review from critic Lisa Kennedy and visit bmoca.org for details.
  • Aspen Art Museum reopened on July 1 with 25% capacity and “where i am and was,” the first solo museum exhibition of British painter Rose Wylie in the U.S. Originally scheduled to open in March 2020, this exhibition will remain on view until Nov. 1. aspenartmuseum.org

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Islamic State: Drugs made by terror group and worth more than €1bn seized by police in Italy

Tens of millions of amphetamine tablets, thought to be made by the terrorist group Islamic State, have been seized by Italian police.

Posting a video on its Twitter page, the Guardia di Finanza, a militarised police force which works for the Italian treasury, showed officers cutting through machinery to reveal the 84 million pills – thought to be worth more than €1bn (£910m).

The 14-tonne shipment of the drug imported from Syria, known as Captagon, was captured from three containers at the port of Salerno, in the south east of Italy, with police claiming it is the world’s biggest ever haul of amphetamines.

Captagon is a brand of amphetamine that is used by IS fighters to inhibit fear and prevent tiredness.

It was dubbed the “Jihadi drug” by authorities, which found large quantities of it stashed at the hideout of the terrorists behind the 2015 Paris attacks.

The Guardia di Finanza said that IS largely finances its terrorist activities by trafficking drugs made in Syria, adding that the country has become the world’s largest producer of amphetamines over the last few years.

Captagon, once a legitimate medical drug, is now mostly produced in the Middle East, from where it is distributed around the world.

According to Forbes, it is also thought that students sometimes use the drug to help with studying, fuelling the black-market demand for it.

Authorities in Italy believe that lockdown measures across Europe have meant that it cannot be produced and distributed on the continent, leading traffickers to import that drug from Syria.

Two weeks ago, police also seized almost three tonnes of hashish and around one million Captagon pills from the same port, where the shipment was hidden among clothing.

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