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Killing A Cat In A Hit-And-Run Could Become Illegal In New Hampshire

CONCORD. N.H. (AP) — Nine lives notwithstanding, killing a cat in a hit-and-run soon could become illegal in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire was ahead of the pack when it passed a law nearly 40 years ago that requires drivers who injure or kill dogs to notify police or the animals’ owners, or else face a $1,000 fine. It is unclear why cats and other pets were left out, but the state Legislature is currently considering an expansion that would give cats and canines equal standing.

“It’s a cataclysmic bill. To not pass this would be catastrophic,” Sen. Tom Sherman, D-Rye, said Tuesday, drawing chuckles from fellow members of a Senate committee.

“It’s a categorical imperative: You have to report,” chimed in Sen. David Watters, D-Dover.

Republican Rep. Daryl Abbas sponsored the bill on behalf of his wife, who found their 5-year-old cat, Arrow, dead on the street near their Salem home in July 2019. The partially blind black and gray tabby had once again achieved his “daily goal” of escaping from the house and was hit by a car, Abbas said.

“I remember telling my wife, ‘It’s an accident, we have to forgive the person,’ but I was more upset that the person didn’t stop,” he said. “Who doesn’t stop?”

Abbas contacted an animal control officer, who told him there was no reporting requirement. When he expressed surprise, she suggested he contact his state representative. And so he drafted the bill himself.

Abbas highlighted that New Hampshire law already requires people to report any property damage caused by a motor vehicle to the owner.

“The only glaring exception is if the damage is to a person’s cat. Literally under the law, if you were to hit a statue of a fake cat with your car, you would have to report that, but not the real cat,” he said. “The real cat and the fake cat should at least have equal property protection.”

In any state, hitting an animal with a car could be a potential violation as destruction of property, but the New Hampshire bill is part of a trend of states going further, said Lora Dunn, director of the Criminal Justice Program at the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

“These laws are really a nationwide trend to recognize that animals are more than your property, they are living, feeling beings. They have the capacity to suffer, and they’re deserving of positive experiences as well,” she said. “These laws really recognize that sentience and also the bond between animals and their human companions.”

Connecticut has a similar law to New Hampshire’s existing statute about dogs. In Massachusetts, the law includes cats and dogs, New York requires drivers to report injuries to dogs, cats, horses or cattle and Rhode Island’s statute covers all domesticated animals.

“In this scenario, I looked at animals that traditionally are domestic animals that you keep in your house, animals that you develop affection for,” Abbas said. “I don’t mean any disrespect to ferrets, but let them argue on their own merits.”

The bill’s cosponsors include Rep. Anita Burroughs, a Democrat whose cats have been known to show up by her side during Zoom committee hearings. And while other legislation has sparked contentious debate, the bipartisan measure has had an unusually smooth path so far.

No one spoke against it at public hearings, the House passed it without debate earlier this month and a Senate committee has recommended its passage by the full body.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, whose cat has its own Instagram account, hasn’t taken a public position on the bill.

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Justin Theroux Pushes Back On Rumors Surrounding His Breakup With Jennifer Aniston

Justin Theroux is clearing the air about his breakup with Jennifer Aniston and even has some words of wisdom on relationships.

The actor talked about the dissolution of his marriage to the “Friends” star in an interview with Esquire published Thursday, dispelling rumors about why the pair parted ways. Reports indicated the duo, who had been romantically linked since 2011, married in 2015, and separated and divorced in 2018, had disagreed over whether they’d live in New York or Los Angeles.

“That’s a narrative that is not true, for the most part,” Theroux told Esquire.

“Look, people create narratives that make themselves feel better or simplify things for them. That whole ‘This person likes rock ’n’ roll, that person likes jazz. Of course!’ That’s just not the case. It’s an oversimplification,” he said, not offering any addition commentary on the matter.

Theroux explained that he and Aniston have “remained friends.”

“We don’t talk every day, but we call each other. We FaceTime. We text,” he said. 

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux attend the ceremony honoring Jason Bateman with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017 in Hollywood. Theroux told Esquire recently that he and Aniston have remained friends since their breakup.

As to how he navigates “the complicated emotional terrain” left after a breakup, Theroux insisted that because he and Aniston “didn’t have that dramatic split,” they “love each other.” 

“I’m sincere when I say that I cherish our friendship. We can not be together and still bring each other joy and friendship. Also, she makes me laugh very, very hard. She’s a hilarious person. It would be a loss if we weren’t in contact, for me personally. And I’d like to think the same for her,” he shared.

Theroux said he believes when one gets “good at relationships ― and here I am, single ― if you love the person the same way you loved them in the relationship, it would behoove you to love them the same way out of the relationship.”

“Who wants to take a shit while you’re walking out the door?” he asked.

It seems what “The Leftovers” star said in 2018, mere months after the pair announced they’d be separating, has held firm.

In an interview with The New York Times in September 2018, he insisted “there was no animosity” in the breakup and that it was “amicable” and “boring.”

“It was heartbreaking, only in the sense that the friendship would not be the same, as far as just the day to day,” he noted. “But the friendship is shifting and changing, you know, so that part is something that we’re both very proud of.”

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Harry And Meghan’s Royal Baby Name: Top Predictions For Their Daughter

As Meghan Markle’s pregnancy progresses, royal watchers are abuzz with speculation about what she and Prince Harry will name their baby girl.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced in February that they were expecting their second child, and during their March interview with Oprah Winfrey, they shared that they’re having a daughter.

According to most U.K. betting companies, Diana is the current favorite baby name, with 5-1 odds on the Coral platform, 4-1 on Betfair and Paddy Power, and 3-1 on Betway and William Hill.

“Diana is the clear favorite in our market now, ever since Harry and Meghan confirmed that they could be having a baby girl,” Coral spokesperson Harry Aitkenhead said in late March. “We are convinced it will feature somewhere in the name, going 5-1 that it is the new arrival’s first name.”

Royal insiders reportedly doubt that the couple would name their daughter after her late grandmother. What’s more likely is that Diana may feature as a middle name a la Princess Charlotte, whose full name is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

Bettors are also gravitating toward many names that start with “a,” likely due to the couple’s choice of Archie for their son. These include Alice (14-1 on Betfair, and 16-1 on Coral, Betway and William Hill), Alexandria (8-1 on Coral, 12-1 on Betway), Allegra (11-1 on Betfair and OddsMonkey), Abigail (14-1 on Betfair) and Anne (25-1 on Coral and Betway).

Bettors are gravitating toward names that start with “a,” likely inspired by the parents’ choice of Archie for their son.

Other popular bets include Elizabeth, Grace, Emma, Greta, Molly, Isabella, Emily and Victoria. And name predictions at the lower-odds end of the spectrum include Markle’s mother’s name, Doria, and nods to public figures like Oprah, Kamala, Camilla and Ivanka.

Bettors were not particularly successful when it came to predicting the name of Harry and Meghan’s first child. While there were some bets on the name Archie, it was nowhere near the top of the lists. Still, other “a” names like Arthur, Alexander and Albert were seen as likely contenders, so people weren’t completely off track.

Although it’s unclear when exactly we’ll know what name the Sussexes do choose for their daughter, the duchess reportedly plans to take maternity leave in May, so the birth could be sooner than previously thought. And naturally, there are bets for the due date too.

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I Believed Romance Was Off-Limits Because Of My Mental Illness. Not Anymore.

A few years ago, I found myself in a bathroom stall furiously trying to remove a Bumble sticker from a sanitary product bin. I’m not sure how much time I spent there ― pants around my ankles ― picking away, but by the time I left the stall, the sticker looked like it had been clawed by a wild animal. 

I remember being enraged that there was no place I could go ― not even a college library’s bathroom ― where I wouldn’t be reminded that I was single. Worse, I believed that as a woman with a bipolar 1 diagnosis, no one in his or her right mind would ever want to date me.  

I remember receiving my diagnosis clearly; it was May 2014. I was 33 years old. I was seated across from a man I’d never met before, after being involuntarily hospitalized. One way to get involuntarily hospitalized, I discovered, is by attempting to flee the ER, wearing only a hospital gown and men’s tube socks, possessing the sudden belief that humans can fly. 

My sister took me to the ER after I announced on Facebook that I had a very important meeting with then-President Barack Obama; we were going to discuss health care. I was uniquely qualified to talk about health care because, I was, hello, mentally ill. Who better to chat with him about the gaps in coverage? 

The man, my doctor, tried to explain that Obama wasn’t coming. 

“You have bipolar 1,” he said flatly. Instantly offended, I told him I was certainly not bipolar; my life just sucked. While hospitalized, I’d lost my job and internship, and I would soon be homeless. My previous diagnosis had been clinical depression and I didn’t want to accept something more severe. 

He brought up that I had taken off all my clothes the night before in the hospital’s common room. 

“Performance art,” I shrugged. What I didn’t explain was that I believed, in that moment, that I had to be in my birthday suit in order to be reborn the female Jesus Christ.  

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit how long it took me to accept my diagnosis ― six years. I thought my involuntary hospitalization was a one-time fluke until I started to experience symptoms again in February, triggered by the stress of winter storm Uri. 

I thought to myself: “Maybe it’s time to learn about this thing I have.” Unable to focus enough to read, I listened to audiobooks. I learned that people with bipolar 1 experience manic phases (at least one) that can include psychosis and delusions. My manic episode lasted two months ― during that time I went three weeks without sleeping and believed that the hospital I was committed to was actual purgatory.

Because bipolar 1 disorder has a genetic component, I asked my mom about our family history. My grandmother, it turned out, liked to dress up like Liberace and ― without having had a single music lesson in her life ― “play” the piano. When my aunt was a teenager, she wholeheartedly believed that David Cassidy was in love with her. She swore they would meet up on the beach, and that he drew a heart in the sand with their initials.  

Dressing up in wigs and pounding on the piano sounded fun, but my aunt’s flights of fancy deeply worried me. In my research, I learned that being in love, with all its euphoric goodness, can trigger or coincide with bipolar episodes. So, too, can heartbreak. This only added to my fear that I might never be mentally fit to be in a romantic relationship. 

Indeed, one of the scariest movies I ever saw wasn’t a horror flick but a French film called ”He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not.” Angélique, an art student, played by Audrey Tautou, falls in love with a doctor, whom viewers assume reciprocates her feelings. The film’s perspective shifts, Angélique is committed to a psych ward, and it becomes clear that she’s suffering from erotomania ― the belief that someone is in love with you when they are not, which falls under the delusion category in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5. 

The final scene in the film is unforgettable. After her release from the hospital, a nurse moves a bookshelf and discovers that Angélique has made an artful portrait of her amour out of all the meds she did not take. That film scared me shitless because at 40, my only romantic relationships have involved unrequited loves that played out like vivid movies in my head. 

In high school, I was madly in love with Danny, a Skinny Puppy-loving punk at my high school.

The most “romantic” and goth thing I did was gift Danny the razor blade I used for cutting my forearms, because only he could give me a reason to live. Not surprisingly, rumors spread quickly that I was a psycho, a word that would greatly affect how I saw myself long term. By the time I turned 17, I had been hospitalized three times; I’m deeply grateful that I was so bad at attempting suicide. 

None of this bodes well for a dating profile. 

In December 2020, I started attending support groups on Zoom through the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Not only did the group help me to come to terms with my diagnosis, but it was a huge relief to finally find people who understood what it’s like to live with a mental illness. I’d been in therapy on and off for years, but it never offered what I didn’t know I needed most ― a sense of community. 

I was deeply touched when others raised the subject of dating and relationships. I heard questions aloud that had been rolling around in my head for years: When do you tell someone you have a mental illness? How do you cope if they react negatively? What about the kid thing? Is it OK to date someone with the same diagnosis as you? One question I badly wanted to contribute was: What if your medications totally kill your sex drive? 

I noticed this side effect six years ago after I was stabilized on a tolerable cocktail of meds. I didn’t find anyone attractive anymore. I began to experience what I called “my one horny day” a month. I’d notice a slight tingling that I recognized as arousal and then realize, “Must be my horny day.”  

Staying out of hospitals was worth not having a sex drive but it did add to the belief that I might never be in a “normal” relationship, let alone a relationship at all.  

A few months ago, something shifted for me when I found myself crushing on a support group member. He was kind, a good listener, and had a nice strong jaw. The feeling was faint but I started to think about how much trust and vulnerability factor in when attempting pretty much anything new ― especially dating. It’s not that I pictured myself falling in love with this person, but it planted the seed that such a thing was possible.

The truth is some days I feel like I’m fighting for my life. Just a few weeks ago, I didn’t sleep for four days. Today, it felt excruciating to put one leg into a pair of sweatpants, realizing I still had the other leg to go. When I think about my hierarchy of needs, it’s food, water, shelter, meds and shampooed hair. From there, I build upward into social support: friends, family, peer support groups and counseling. 

You can probably sense how far I have to travel. That doesn’t mean I’m not putting in the work to challenge my fears. 

My first step has been to break the silence, to admit that I am lonely. My second step has been to grow the relationships I already have, and feel my heart wake up a bit. My third step is to imagine the sort of partner I want in my life. What qualities do they have? What are my deal breakers? Would this person be willing to call my doctor if I wake up and announce that I’m in the CIA?

I’m working hard to imagine a partner who would love me despite the fact that I take heavily sedating meds, hit the hay at 7:30 p.m. sharp and wake up 11 hours later still tired. I’m prone to “checks” ― getting 10 minutes down the road only to be convinced I left the stove on, and there’s a 50% chance that I’ll be found up on a ladder, checking air vents for hidden cameras. 

But I’ve always hated that saying: You can’t love someone else until you love yourself. This past year, I’ve learned that I don’t have to wait until I’ve become some sort of perfect, self-loving, sound-of-mind, confident, relationship-ready person because that person doesn’t exist ― anywhere ― so I’m taking small steps when I can. I’m a work in progress, as most of us are, and if that’s the case, my chances for finding love are actually pretty good. 

Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on HuffPost? Find out what we’re looking for here and send us a pitch!

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White Army Sergeant Charged With Assault After Threatening, Shoving Black Man

A white Army non-commissioned officer depicted in a viral video accosting and shoving a Black man in a South Carolina neighborhood has been charged with third-degree assault.

Jonathan Pentland, 42, was charged Wednesday and listed as detained in the Richland County jail and issued a personal recognizance bond, according to online jail records, which did not show him as having an attorney.

The video, posted Monday by a woman on Facebook and shared thousands of times, shows a man, identified as Pentland, demanding that a Black man leave the neighborhood before threatening him with physical violence.

“You’re in the wrong neighborhood,” Pentland, standing on the sidewalk, can be heard saying to the other man before using an expletive. “I ain’t playing with you. … I’m about to show you what I can do.”

According to Shirell Johnson, who posted the video, the incident happened in a subdivision of The Summit, which has a Columbia address but is technically outside the city’s limits. The video does not show what started the conflict. Johnson did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking further details.

The recording begins with Pentland, a U.S. Army sergeant first class, asking the Black man what he’s doing in the area. The Black man says he was simply walking and not bothering anyone.

Throughout the three-minute video, Pentland continuously demands that the other man leave the neighborhood, getting in his face and, at one point, pushing the man, who almost falls to the ground.

“Let’s go, walk away,” he said. “I’m about to do something to you. You better start walking right now.”

At the end of the video, a woman who Pentland identifies as his wife can be heard telling the other man that he had picked a fight with “some random young lady” in the neighborhood, a claim the Black man then denies.

Johnson said authorities arrived at the scene and only gave Pentland a citation for malicious injury to property for slapping the man’s phone out of his hand and cracking it.

Officials at Fort Jackson, the U.S. Army’s largest basic training facility, said Wednesday they were looking into the incident. On one of its Twitter accounts, base officials also said that U.S. Department of Justice authorities were investigating as well.

According to social media accounts connected to Pentland, he has been stationed at Fort Jackson since 2019 and has worked as a drill sergeant at the garrison, a 53,000-acre complex that trains 50% of all soldiers and 60% of women who enter the Army each year.

Asked on Twitter for his response to the video, Fort Jackson Commanding Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. said the behavior displayed in the video “is by no means condoned by any service member.”

“We will get to the bottom of this ASAP,” he said.

On his official Facebook page, Beagle said Army officials “have begun our own investigation and are working with the local authorities.”

Earlier this year, the Department of Defense announced that Beagle would take over as commanding general at Fort Drum, New York, to be succeeded at Fort Jackson by Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis. An official transfer date has not been announced.

Commenters on the video said they had reached out to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department asking for additional charges to be filed. In a release issued early Wednesday, a department spokeswoman said deputies had been dispatched to the neighborhood for “an assault” call involving one of the men several days before the date of the video, and that all of the matters were under investigation.

During an afternoon news conference, Sheriff Leon Lott said the other man in the video was not a juvenile but declined to release his name. Lott said that man had been involved in other incidents in the neighborhood in the days leading up to the video but said that “none of them justified the assault that occurred.”

“The first time I saw the video, it was terrible. It was unnecessary,” Lott said, noting he had met with community leaders and elected officials before speaking with reporters. Lott said his investigators had turned their case over to prosecutors, who determined what charge to levy against Pentland.

Pentland did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment. If convicted, he faces up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

State Sen. Mia McLeod, who represents the area, said Wednesday on the Senate floor that she had spent much of the previous day in discussions about the incident and planned to meet with the sheriff later in the day.

“My sons have a freaking right to live,” said McLeod, who is Black. “Another unarmed Black man could be dead today because he was walking in a neighborhood that, I am told, is adjacent to his, doing absolutely nothing.”

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Are Dermal Fillers Safe To Inject In Your Face?

It happens every time: I stare at before-and-after photos of women who’ve gotten lip fillers, considering making an appointment. Then, as the social media algorithms are designed to do, I’m delivered videos full of warnings: “Filler migrates! It never dissolves! Look how disfigured these people’s faces are now!” The voices shout at me while I’m shown MRIs of blobs of filler that have migrated from someone’s cheekbones to behind their eyeballs.

It’s enough to scare anyone away from the seemingly simple procedure, but with dermal fillers becoming so ubiquitous, it can’t actually be as bad as these videos try to make us believe. Right?

What is filler, anyway?

Fillers are injected into the face to create a variety of looks, to add volume where it’s been lost to age or where it never existed. They plump lips, heighten cheeks, smooth smile lines and build jaw lines.

Understand that “dermal filler” comes in many forms. There are different brands, and within those brands are unique formulas, but the most commonly used are short-term fillers like Juvederm and Restylane. These are mostly made of hyaluronic acid (HA), an ingredient that naturally occurs in our skin and has been modified to create a more stable, long-lasting substance.

Yes, MRIs can show where filler has been injected in the face.

“Overall, HA fillers have become the material of choice due to their favorable properties: safe, long-lasting, non-immunogenic and cost-effective,” said Samuel Lin, associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and a board-certified plastic surgeon. In the case that something goes wrong or the patient doesn’t like the final results, a solution called hyaluronidase can be used to dissolve the filler.

Though fillers can cause temporary swelling, they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are considered safe, coming with few side effects or known long-term consequences. The key phrase here is “known long-term consequences.” If you want to learn exactly how much testing a particular filler underwent in order to receive approval, the FDA publicly shares data for dermal fillers. (For example, you can read the entire methodology behind testing Juvederm Voluma.) Ultimately, if you’re not comfortable with the testing that’s been done on a product, the decision is up to you. And always make sure that you’re seeing a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

How long do fillers last?

For those who want the convenience of a temporary filler, the marketed lifespan of these short-term fillers is six to 12 months (depending on the filler used and an individual’s lifestyle). But though the filler itself is deemed safe for use, what about all those claims of filler sticking around years later?

It’s not a surprise to Dr. Anil Rajani, who specializes in minimally invasive aesthetics (and often discusses filler on his YouTube channel). “In terms of longevity, there’s no question that these fillers last longer than what the approval studies follow for duration of effect,” Rajani said, referring to fillers he’s dissolved years after injection.

So why are we told differently? Rajani says it comes down to the FDA approval process, which looks at safety and duration, the studies of which last around six months to two years. In these studies, the amount of product remaining in the face is based on external appearance, not actual tissue sampling of what’s left in the body.

“People think that the product is totally gone at one year, which is erroneous,” Rajani said. “In fact, filler can be in the body for several years, and this is evidenced by the recent flare-ups within people’s face after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said, referring to the few patients who have experienced swelling in areas with filler. In one case, the patient had gotten the filler years earlier. “I personally have dissolved filler in my eye region from product six years prior,” Rajani said.

The body begins to absorb the filler in about four to six months, Lin added. “However, it is not uncommon for fillers to last much longer (one to two years), depending on the location, brand of filler used and injection technique.” How much filler is injected and the body’s metabolism make a difference, too, and because hyaluronic acid fillers can absorb water, it can make the fillers more visible.

How and why does filler migrate to other parts of the face?

As far as those scary-looking MRIs go (which are the exception, not the norm), there are quite a few factors behind why filler can end up beyond where it had been injected.

“A high volume of filler injected, and filler injected into high-pressure areas, can lead to filler overflowing into adjacent areas with lower pressure,” Lin explained. In the case of lip fillers, it can lead to a “filler mustache,” where filler injected into the lips spreads above the mouth.

Excess lip filler can migrate around the lips if too much is injected.

Excess lip filler can migrate around the lips if too much is injected.

But just because filler has migrated doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to cause any harm. And if it does ― likely by becoming infected or forming nodules ― the filler can be dissolved with hyaluronidase. “The low-level amounts remaining in the body have not been shown to be a problem,” Rajani said. “Because it is in such small amounts, it isn’t visible to the human eye. So at this point, there are no known long-term side effects to this, but we are always monitoring.”

Lin agrees. “Filler migration and fillers that last a long time do not necessarily indicate anything unsafe.”

Though fillers are generally safe, they are not without risks. But those risks — like being injected by an untrained provider or by someone using unapproved or “black market” fillers — can be mitigated by going to a licensed professional with extensive training. “Finding the right plastic surgeon or dermatologist to perform your dermal filler procedure and optimize your safety is key,” Lin said. During your consultation, ask questions about the procedure and the filler used, and be sure you feel comfortable before proceeding.

The problems that fear-mongering content creators warn of aren’t completely without merit, but perhaps their message is overblown. Filler migration is real, and the length of time these fillers exist can surpass their marketed lifespan. But a provider who knows what they are doing can turn these into non-issues, and, most important, do so safely.

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Trevor Noah Pulls No Punches In Assessment Of ‘Bad Apple’ Police Excuse

“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah called out the “bad apple” excuse for police violence on Monday, saying America’s broken police system deters good cops from intervening when their colleagues hurt and kill Black men and women.

“We’re told time and time again that these incidents that Black Americans are experiencing are because of bad apples, right?” he said. ”‘There are bad apples in these police departments who are doing these things. They use chokeholds that are not allowed. They use excessive force. They’re violent in their words and in their actions to the people they’re meant to be protecting and serving.’”

“My question, though, is where are the good apples?” he continued. “If we’re meant to believe that the police system in America, the system of policing itself is not fundamentally broken, then we would need to see good apples … Where are the cops who are stopping the cop from putting their knee on George Floyd’s neck? Because there’s not one cop at that scene.”

Noah’s comments aired just days after the killing of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop. 

Noah noted that there seemed to be no uprising within police ranks of officers calling for those “bad apples” to be rooted out or videos of police officers intervening to prevent their colleagues from using excessive force. He said he believes there are many good people on the police force, but they fail to take action because “they themselves know that if they do something, they’re going against the system.”

Noah also referenced the case of Cariol Horne, a Black former police officer in Buffalo, New York, who was fired over a 2006 incident in which she tried to stop a white colleague from using a chokehold on a handcuffed suspect. A court ruled this week that she will receive back pay and a pension.

Watch more on “The Daily Show” below:

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Florida Driver Busts Through Gates, Leaps Over Drawbridge As It Opens

In a scene caught by multiple traffic cameras, a driver smashed through the traffic arms of a Florida drawbridge, then made the dangerous leap as the bridge opened.

The vehicle was briefly airborne on Daytona Beach’s Main Street Bridge, which crosses the Halifax River, on Monday:

Local NBC station WESH said the traffic arms had to be replaced and that police believe they have identified the driver. The gate also appeared to damage the vehicle’s windshield, but it’s not known if the driver was injured. 

The drawbridge has seen its share of stunts; just last month, a motorcycle made the same leap.

“It’s absolutely against the law, that’s why the rails are there,” Florida Safety Council spokesperson Bonnie Frank told Fox35 in Orlando after this week’s jump. “You’re not just risking yourself, you’re risking all those other people that are also up on that bridge.”

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India Reports More Than 200,000 New Coronavirus Cases In A Single Day

NEW DELHI (AP) — India reported more than 200,000 new coronavirus cases Thursday, skyrocketing past 14 million overall as an intensifying outbreak puts a grim weight on its fragile health care system.

In the capital, New Delhi, more than a dozen hotels and wedding banquet halls were ordered to be converted into COVID-19 centers attached to hospitals.

“The surge is alarming,” said S.K. Sarin, a government health expert in New Delhi.

The last rites are performed for a person who died of COVID-19 on Wednesday in New Delhi, India. 

The bustle of India’s biggest city and financial capital, Mumbai, ebbed under lockdown-like curbs to curb the spread of the virus. The action imposed by worst-hit Maharashtra state Wednesday night closed most industries, businesses and public places and limits the movement of people for 15 days, but didn’t stop train and air services.

In recent days, migrant workers hauling backpacks have swarmed overcrowded trains leaving Mumbai, an exodus among panic-stricken day laborers.

In addition to the 200,739 new cases of infection, the Health Ministry also reported 1,038 fatalities from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, taking deaths to 173,123 since the pandemic started last year.

India’s total cases are second behind the United States and its deaths are fourth behind the U.S., Brazil and Mexico. The actual numbers may be much higher with limited testing among India’s nearly 1.4 billion people.

Shahid Jamil, a virologist, said the recent local and state elections with massive political rallies and a major Hindu festival with hundreds of thousands of devotees bathing in the Ganges river in the northern city of Haridwar were super-spreader events.

India is ramping up its vaccination drive. The Health Ministry said the total vaccinations crossed 114 million with more than 3 million doses administered on Wednesday.

Hospitals in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and several others state were overwhelmed with patients with several hospitals reporting shortage of oxygen cylinders.

Cremation and burial grounds in the worst-hit area also were finding it difficult to cope with the increasing number of bodies arriving for last rites, Indian media reports said.

Imran Sheikh, a resident of the western city of Pune, said hospital authorities asked him to arrange for an oxygen gas cylinder for his relative undergoing COVID-19 treatment.

New Delhi and dozens of other cities and towns imposed night curfews as they battled an infection rate that almost doubled within 11 days.

When infections began plummeting in India in September, many concluded the worst had passed. Masks and social distancing were abandoned. When cases began rising again in February, authorities were left scrambling.

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus

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House Panel Approves Bill To Study Slavery Reparations

A House committee on Wednesday advanced an effort to create a commission that could consider how to provide Black Americans with reparations for slavery.

The bill is commonly known as H.R. 40 and was first introduced in 1989 by former Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), referring to the Civil War promise to provide newly freed slaves with “40 acres and a mule.” That pledge was never fulfilled and was later rescinded by the U.S. government.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee voted 25 to 17 to advance the legislation, with all Republicans objecting.

“Here we are today, marking up for the first time in the history of the United States of America any legislation that deals directly with the years and centuries of slavery of African American people who are now the descendants of those Africans,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), the bill’s new sponsor since Conyers’ retirement in 2017, said Wednesday. “We’re asking for people to understand the pain, the violence, the brutality, the chattel-ness of what we went through.”

If passed, the bill would establish a 13-member commission to study the lasting effects of slavery and racial discrimination, and later present “appropriate remedies” to Congress. It’s unclear what those remedies would look like, who would qualify for them or if they would have any financial value.

The bill would also include considerations for a “national apology on behalf of the people of the United States for the perpetration of gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity on African slaves and their descendants.”

Despite Wednesday’s vote, the legislation still faces a steep climb to become law. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he would consider bringing the bill to a floor vote, but it may take time, according to The Washington Post.

The case for reparations has long been a fraught political issue, and most Republicans and some Democrats remain firmly opposed to it.

“Look, everyone knows how evil slavery was, wrong as wrong can be,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio.), the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday. “But this is not something we should be passing.”

President Joe Biden has pledged to address the nation’s long history of racial inequality during his administration, and his recent, $1.9 trillion stimulus package included tens of billions of dollars in aid that advocates said would dramatically help low-income Americans and communities of color.

“We understand that we don’t need a study to take action right now on systemic racism,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in February. “So he wants to take actions within his own government in the meantime.”

The bill comes at yet another inflection point for the country amid the Minneapolis trial of a white former police officer in the death last year of George Floyd, a Black man; and following the shooting death earlier this week of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, a Black man, during a traffic stop in Minnesota. The white police officer who shot Wright has been charged with manslaughter