Charlottesville anniversary, transgender health care, Gaza rockets and Gal Gadot
Virginia declares state of emergency
The governor of Virginia has declared a state of emergency around the city of Charlottesville ahead of the one-year anniversary of a deadly neo-Nazi march. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, joined the city in announcing Aug. 8 that the state of emergency would last from Aug. 10-12, according to the local Daily Progress newspaper. Events are planned on those days to commemorate the counterprotesters who were killed or injured during the march. There will be checkpoints into the city center and a range of possible weapons — including BB guns, chains and poles — will be prohibited. The white supremacists who organized the march were denied a permit to reconvene in Charlottesville. However, they have been granted permission to gather in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 12 at Lafayette Park, near the White House. Aug. 12 is the day of the march last year that included outbreaks of violence and culminated in a car-ramming attack on counterprotesters that killed one person and injured at least 20. –JTA
Judge strips anonymity of woman who urged Charlottesville violence
An anonymous poster said in a lawsuit to have spurred the violence in Charlottesville, Va., a year ago went by the name “kristall.night,” an apparent reference to a notorious Nazi pogrom. Bigoted messages and the name of the female poster were revealed in a request to a federal court to force a messaging app to reveal her identity, NPR reported. In a series of messages. kristall.night advised the neo-Nazi and white supremacist marchers to bring helmets and shields, and not to use weapons to which they were not accustomed. She recommended using flagpoles as weapons. The marchers violently clashed with a small segment of the counterprotesters, and there were incidents of neo-Nazis seeking out counterprotesters and beating them. The march culminated in a deadly car-ramming attack by a neo-Nazi on counterprotesters. The request, which the judge in California granted this week, came from the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against march organizers. The plaintiffs say they were physically harmed or psychologically traumatized by the march. The woman, who is not a defendant, also posted bigoted statements including “Without complicit whites, Jews wouldn’t be a problem” and “I hate miscegenation so much more after actually talking to mixed race people about their identity.” The plaintiffs want her personal information to better understand how the violence spread. The judge ruled that it be revealed, but only to a small coterie of people attached to the case. “kristall.night” is likely a play on Kristallnacht, the Nazi-led assault on Jewish homes, synagogues and businesses throughout Germany that killed at least 91 Jews on Nov. 9-10, 1938. It translates into English as the “Night of Broken Glass.” The anonymous poster said she did not want her name to be revealed, fearing it would ruin her life. Others who participated in last year’s march who have been exposed have lost their jobs.–JTA
Baltimore officials approve covering transgender services in city health care plan
The City of Baltimore’s health insurance plan will soon cover sex reassignment surgery and other transgender services for municipal employees, bringing the city in line with surrounding jurisdictions that offer the same benefits, according to Baltimore Fishbowl. The city’s five-member spending board, led by Mayor Catherine Pugh, approved the change Aug. 8. A Board of Estimates agenda item stipulated that with their approval, Baltimore’s health care plan would now cover counseling, hormone replacement therapy and “gender conforming surgery.” The change is meant to address a federal rule laid out in the Affordable Care Act that “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex,” the agenda says. The document cites a “commitment to inclusion and non-discrimination,” and says offering the benefit “reaffirms the City’s commitment to equal employment opportunity for all employees.” As for the effect on health care costs for employees on the city’s plan, the agenda says they will likely increase—the exact amount “cannot be stated”—but for “similar employers,” the increase has not exceeded 0.1 percent of all medical claims in the plan.
Ben Jealous’ F-Bomb
Balking at a question from a reporter Aug. 8 about his true political ideology, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous gave a profane answer, according to Baltimore Fishbowl. The Washington Post’s Erin Cox asked Jealous, who’s received backing from prominent lefty politicians like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, about Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign repeatedly labeling him as a socialist. Jealous at first responded by explaining how he laughed at a recent New York Times interview with Hogan where he saw himself labeled as a socialist. Cox followed up on it, “Not to put too fine a point on it, but do you identify with the term ‘socialist?’” Jealous responded quickly, “Are you f—–g kidding me?”
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Rockets from Gaza hit Southern Israel
Israelis living in southern Israel spent the night of Aug. 8 and into the morning of Aug. 9 in bomb shelters as more than 150 rockets were launched from Gaza. One woman, a foreign worker from Thailand, was seriously injured early Aug. 9 when one of the rockets hit a home in a community on the border with Gaza. By the afternoon she had regained consciousness and was taken off a respirator. Several other homes and factories, as well as cars, were damaged after being hit by rockets and shrapnel. On Aug. 8 an Israeli man in his 30s was moderately injured after being hit by shards of broken glass and a man in his 20s was hurt by shrapnel. At least eight people were treated for panic attacks, including two pregnant women who went into labor. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 25 of the rockets heading toward populated areas, and most of the others landed in open areas. The IDF struck back, attacking more than 140 Hamas military targets in Gaza. Among the targets of dozens of Israeli warplanes were weapons production facilities, weapons storage warehouses and training facilities, the IDF said in a statement. The Health Ministry in Gaza said that a pregnant woman and her young daughter were killed in the airstrikes, as well as a man, 30, who is the son of a Hamas military commander. Hamas had threatened an escalation after Israel on Aug. 7 fired on a Hamas military post in northern Gaza in response to the shooting at Israeli troops from there. Two Hamas operatives were killed. It later emerged that the bullets fired at the Israeli troops were errant fire from a Hamas training exercise, which Israel acknowledged after an investigation. The rocket barrage comes after a report by the Turkish Anadolu Agency citing an unnamed Hamas source that Israel and Hamas will officially unveil a long-term truce deal at the end of the month.
Gal Gadot may play Hedy Lamarr
Gal Gadot is close to a deal to star in a limited series about Hedy Lamarr, the film actress who also was an inventor. The Israeli star of the 2017 megahit “Wonder Woman” also will executive produce the limited series, reportedly for Showtime, with her husband and producing partner Yaron Varsano, according to Variety. Lamarr, a Jewish native of Austria, was credited with creating a prototype for a frequency-hopping signal during World War II that could help the Allies disrupt radio-controlled torpedoes. She is better known for her acting in films such as “Algiers” (1938), “Boom Town” (1940), “I Take This Woman” (1940), “Come Live With Me” (1941) and “Samson and Delilah” (1949). A documentary film about the actress, “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story,” ran on PBS in May. Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, is the daughter of a Ukrainian Jewish father and a mother from an upper-class Jewish family in Budapest, though her mother said she converted to Catholicism. Gadot is filming “Wonder Woman 1984,” which is scheduled for release in November 2019. She will star opposite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a new action-comedy heist thriller called “Red Notice” about an Interpol agent who sets out to find the most wanted art thief in the world, scheduled to be in theaters in 2020.
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