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Biden quietly ramping up Palestinian aid

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Biden quietly ramping up Palestinian aid

The Biden administration is quietly ramping up its financial assistance to Palestinians, in the latest reversal of former President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

The State Department, along with the US Agency for International Development, notified Congress of their intent to deliver nearly $75 million in aid to the region just one day after announcing a $15 million commitment publicly to vulnerable Palestinian groups.

The State Department declined to say whether the $15 million was included in the $75 million mentioned to Congress, or if the two were separate payments.

The funds do not require further Congressional approval, as they were largely appropriated in the 2020 fiscal year budget.

They weren’t spent prior to President Biden taking office, however, because of the Trump administration policy blocking nearly all aid to Palestinians.

Then-President Trump severed ties with the Palestinian Authority in August 2018, amid heightened tensions over the then-commander-in-chief’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The decision to block aid resulted in the Palestinians losing out on over $200 million.

The Biden administration did not go out of it’s way to publicize the payment renewals, likely an effort to not cause concern among pro-Israel Americans over his Middle East positions.

Reached for comment, State Department spokesman Ned Price reiterated the Biden administration’s support for resuming aid to the Palestinians.

“We continue to believe that American support for the Palestinian people, including financial support, it is consistent with our values. It is consistent with our interests. Of course, it is consistent with the interests of the Palestinian people,” Price told reporters.

“It’s also consistent with the interests of our partner, Israel, and we’ll have more to say on that going forward,” he continued.

While Biden may not support the Trump doctrine on all aspects of foreign policy, he has welcomed one effort by the previous president: the Abraham Accords.

The Abraham Accords were signed in September of last year, normalizing relations between Israel and two Gulf countries in a deal spearheaded by the Trump administration.

Biden pledged at the time to build on the work of his predecessor, praising the diplomatic achievements that brought together Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

With Post wires

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Mom charged with killing teen son, burying him under clothes in bedroom

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Mom charged with killing teen son, burying him under clothes in bedroom

An Ohio woman is charged with murder and assault, after she allegedly killed her teenage son and hid his body in his bedroom for two months.

The body of Dominic Allen, 19, was found in the Cincinnati home of his mother Kenya Stallworth, 39, and her husband, Robert Robb, 35, in early December — after he was reported missing in September.

Police said the couple tried to conceal the body by placing clothes over it and sealing off the door.

Stallworth was indicted on murder charges Tuesday, after DNA testing verified the decomposed remains belonged to her son, according to local station FOX 19 NOW.

Stallworth and her husband — who is not the victim’s father — have been in custody since December on charges of felony abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

Marcus Allen, Dominic’s father, told the local station there were signs that his son had been tortured.

“The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘What was going through your head when you all did whatever you all did?,’” Allen reportedly said.

“You all didn’t just take away my child. You took away the gift that God gave me,” the devastated father continued, according to the station. “You took away my daughter’s best friend. You took away the nephew of all of my sisters and brothers. You all took him away from all of the people who loved him… and for what?

“He loved helping everybody. He was a wonderful child. He was a happy child. (…) I am proud to be his father.”

With AP wires

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Dems planning to unveil bill to add justices to SCOTUS: report

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Dems planning to unveil bill to add justices to SCOTUS: report

Democrats are preparing to unveil legislation that would add four seats to the US Supreme Court.

The bill, first reported by The Intercept, is expected to be introduced in both the House and Senate on Thursday.

It would up the number of seats on the high court to 13 from the current nine.

Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, a co-sponsor of the bill, told The Wall Street Journal that adding justices “will shore up the public’s confidence in the court and its legitimacy in the public’s eyes.”

Also backing the measure are House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (NY-10th District) Subcommittee Chair Hank Johnson (GA-4th District), and freshman New York Rep. Mondaire Jones.

The sponsors will announce the proposal at a press conference Thursday morning on the steps of the court, where they will be joined by activists from liberal groups including Take Back The Court, which has advocated for increasing the number of justices.

“Our democracy is under assault, and the Supreme Court has dealt the sharpest blows. To restore power to the people, we must #ExpandTheCourt,” Jones wrote on Twitter.

Conservatives currently hold the majority on the bench after former President Donald Trump’s appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal icon.

It is believed Barrett — Trump’s third nomination to the court —  will cement the conservative tilt for decades, prompting calls from Democrats to increase the number of justices, who have lifetime appointments.

President Biden on Friday signed an executive order creating a commission that would study the “pros and cons” of expanding the court.

But Markey said that, “We need more than a commission to restore integrity to the court.”

Republicans and legal purists decry the idea as “court-packing” and say it will undo the court’s historical insulation from politics.

Biden previously opposed adding seats.

Congress altered the number of justices on the court several times over the 19th Century from a low of five to a high of 10. The number was fixed at nine shortly after the Civil War.

In the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt unsuccessfully sought to expand the court after conservative justices ruled against some of his New Deal policies.

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Florida 7-year-old shot while sleeping in home, mother injured

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Florida 7-year-old shot while sleeping in home, mother injured

A double shooting near West Palm Beach, Fla. left a 7-year-old boy dead.

The child’s mother was also injured when at least one shooter opened fire at the Riviera Beach home where the family was sleeping early Wednesday morning, according to WPTV.

The young victim’s father and another child inside the home were not injured, police told the local station.

The mother, 28-year-old Addiscia Ball, is in stable condition, according to the report.

Her son, whose name has not been released, died at the hospital after reportedly being shot multiple times.

Facebook friends of the injured woman, whose profile states she is originally from Jamaica, posted well wishes on Wednesday.

“I pray that God be with you and help you pull through and give you strength,” one person wrote.

In 2014, Ball held vigil for a close friend whose toddler was shot and killed while sitting in a car in West Palm Beach, according to the Sun Sentinel.

“After we get through the grieving stage, we want justice,” Ball told the paper at the time. “Somebody has to be [held] responsible for this 18-month-old child dying.”

No suspects have been arrested, and the motive for the attack is unclear, the station said.

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