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Nikki Fried claims Gov. Ron DeSantis wants anti-vaccine vote

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A Democratic candidate for Governor slammed incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis, saying his opposition to vaccine passports was made with one eye on 2024.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, during a “Nik at Nite” broadcast from her campaign that aired Friday afternoon on Facebook Live, made the claim as part of a larger critique of DeSantis’ pandemic performance.

“Unfortunately, the Governor was going toward a very small sector of these anti-vaxxers. Thinking that’s where he wants to be for his base to support him,” Fried said, adding that the move was “not just about here in Florida.”

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Gavin Newsom on L.A. Rail Theft: ‘We Look Like a Third-world Country’

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LOS ANGELES, California — Governor Gavin Newsom professed shock and outrage as he visited the site of mass looting of cargo trains in L.A. on Thursday, helping clean up debris and touting his recent plan to help law enforcement fight theft.

Rail theft Los Angeles (Mario Tama / Getty)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 19: A Union Pacific freight train passes along a section of tracks littered with debris from packages stolen from cargo containers stacked on rail cars on January 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. The area has seen numerous thefts of the containers aboard trains which sometimes are required to stop in the area on their way to other destinations. Union Pacific has seen a 160 percent increase in rail thefts in Los Angeles County over the past year. Many of the packages are from Amazon and other retailers. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“I’m asking myself, what the hell is going on? We look like a third-world country,” Newsom said, before apologizing for using the word “gangs” to describe the attacks on the trains, stressing that he did not mean the word in a “pejorative” way.

“I’m asking myself, what the hell is going on? We look like a third-world country,” @GavinNewsom says at site of L.A. train theft

— Jeremy B. White (@JeremyBWhite) January 20, 2022

“This is not one-off. This is organized theft. These are organized gangs of people,” Newsom says, then apologizes for saying “gangs,” says wasn’t “pejorative”

— Jeremy B. White (@JeremyBWhite) January 20, 2022

As Breitbart News has reported, images and videos of torn boxes and packages were shared widely on social media last week as the country learned of the looting of cargo trains as the Union Pacific line slowed near L.A, providing a target to thieves in the absence of law enforcement.

Responsibility for policing the railroad right of way falls on Union Pacific Police… not local agencies like LAPD. We did see Union Pacific police chasing two people today off the tracks and keeping an eye on things. pic.twitter.com/M5aQSrkGZW

— John Schreiber (@johnschreiber) January 14, 2022

Newsom joined workers in trying to clean up the mess, the latest in a series of media events where he has worked to clean graffiti and debris.

Gavin Newsom cleanup (Office of the Governor)

The Union Pacific rail line wrote to left-wing, George Soros-backed L.A. District Attorney George Gascón — whom Newsom endorsed — demanding better law enforcement and threatening to route trains elsewhere.

Los Angeles rail theft (Mario Tama / Getty)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 19: In an aerial view, a Union Pacific freight train passes along a section of tracks littered with debris from packages stolen from cargo containers stacked on rail cars on January 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. The area has seen numerous thefts of the containers aboard trains which sometimes are required to stop in the area on their way to other destinations. Union Pacific has seen a 160 percent increase in rail thefts in Los Angeles County over the past year. Many of the packages are from Amazon and other retailers. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has done little about the theft, while claiming credit for having “saved Christmas.”

In a statement, Newsom touted his “Real Public Safety Plan,” which proposes $255 million in grants to law enforcement agencies. It does not reverse the cuts to law enforcement undertaken by many Democrat-run cities, including L.A., where Mayor Eric Garcetti cut police funding by up to $150 million in response to the Black Lives Matter riots in the summer of 2020. Newsom also promoted his programs aimed at cleaning up the state and assisting “local litter abatement efforts.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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Taliban Delegation Coming to Europe for Talks with U.S., UK, EU Next Week

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – A Taliban delegation will travel to Norway for talks with the Norwegian government, meeting with representatives of the Norwegian authorities and several allied countries but also with civil society activists and human rights defenders from Afghanistan.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry said Friday that it has invited representatives of the Taliban to Oslo from Jan. 23 to Jan. 25. Norwegian newspaper VG said that special representatives from the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and the European Union would take part. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

It would be the first time since the Taliban took over the country last August, that they have met in Europe. Earlier they traveled to Russia, Iran, Qatar and Pakistan. It was not immediately clear who will lead the Taliban delegation to the Norwegian capital.

UN Chief to AFP: We ‘Must’ Have ‘Dialogue’ with the Taliban https://t.co/Jkv7OElYGd

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 10, 2021

Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said that “we are extremely concerned about the serious situation in Afghanistan.” She said there is “a full-scale humanitarian catastrophe for millions of people” in the country.

She stressed that the meeting was “not a legitimation or recognition of the Taliban. But we must talk to those who in practice govern the country today.”

“We cannot let the political situation lead to an even worse humanitarian catastrophe,” she said.

The Foreign Ministry said that the Taliban delegation meetings also will include Afghans with backgrounds “from various fields and include women leaders, journalists, and people who work with, among other things, human rights and humanitarian, economic, social and political issues.”

It said that earlier this week, a Norwegian delegation visited Kabul for talks on the precarious humanitarian situation in the country.

Norwegian news agency NTB said that Taliban earlier had taken part in secret talks in Norway when the current prime minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, was foreign minister, which was from 2005 to 2012.

The VG daily said that the single most important issue in the talks that are to take place next week is the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

France Wants to Send Ambassadors to Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan https://t.co/16XY8Mn9NP

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 6, 2021

The Foreign Ministry in Oslo said that Afghanistan is experiencing drought, pandemics, economic collapse and the effects of years of conflict. According to them, some 24 million people experience acute food insecurity and are unsure of how to obtain enough food. It is reported that 1 million children may die of starvation.

It added that the U.N. estimates that famine will affect more than half of the population this winter and that 97% of the population may fall below the poverty line this year.

“Norway continues to engage in dialogue with the Taliban to promote human rights, women´s participation in society, and to strengthen humanitarian and economic efforts in Afghanistan in support of the Afghan people,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

According to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, the Scandinavian country that is home to the Nobel Peace Prize has in the past been involved in peace efforts in a number of countries, including Mozambique, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Colombia, the Philippines, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Syria, Myanmar, Somalia, Sri Lanka and South Sudan.

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California: Data Suggest Omicron Coronavirus Wave Has Peaked

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California tattoo (Vivianna_love / Flickr / CC / Cropped))
Vivianna_love / Flickr / CC / Cropped)

Data from around the State of California suggest that the state’s omicron coronavirus wave has peaked, though the infection rate remains high, hospitalizations and deaths are at near-record levels, and the virus remains highly contagious.

The Los Angeles County public health information page shows that the seven-day average of the testing positivity rate has fallen below 20%, and appears to be on a downward trajectory after a peak in the first week of January, after the holidays.

The Los Angeles Times reported that transmission rates are falling across the state, a welcome sign amid the wave:

After weeks of an unprecedented spike in coronavirus cases that challenged hospitals, schools and other institutions, there are growing indications that the surge spawned by the Omicron variant is flattening and, in some parts of California, even beginning to wane.

Health officials in San Francisco said Thursday they believe they’ve passed the peak of the latest wave. And in Los Angeles County, there’s cautious optimism that the days of exponential growth may be in the rearview mirror.

But officials warn that hospitals will continue to face significant challenges in the coming days and weeks, and that Californians need to keep their guard up.

“We can now confidently say that we are on the beginning of a downward trajectory,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s director of health. According to state data, San Francisco averaged nearly 2,700 cases a day from Jan. 3 to Jan. 9 but is now averaging about 2,000 cases a day.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Mayor London Breed indicated that the latest surge appeared to have “peaked”:

San Francisco city officials said Thursday that new figures show the worst of the surge in coronavirus infections peaked earlier this month, sending case rates on a promising downward trend that could mark a turning point in the pandemic.

San Francisco logged a seven-day average of 2,164 new cases per day on Jan. 9 — a record high for the city — but the average dropped to 1,705 by Jan. 12. While more people than ever tested positive for the virus at the peak, declining numbers indicate San Francisco is on track to follow patterns elsewhere in the U.S. and world where the highly infectious omicron variant swept through populations but then rapidly dropped.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is here,” Mayor London Breed said at a news conference in front of City Hall. “We may go through another tunnel again. But know there is hope and there is light.”

At the same time, on Thursday, L.A. County reported 102 new deaths from coronavirus, “the highest number of deaths reported in a single day since March 10th, 2021.” It stressed that hospitalizations and deaths are highest among black and “Latinx” patients.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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