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Facebook cooperating with FBI in Michigan investigation, company says

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Michigan US Attorney’s Office
Michigan US Attorney’s Office

Col. Joseph Gasper, with the Michigan State Police, said this case is one of the largest his department his been involved in lately.

“This case is one of the largest cases in recent history that the MSP has been involved in, and I think that the nature of this case is rather unprecedented,” he said at a news conference.

He added that while US may be in a “period of discourse,” right now, law officials are united.

“But it does send a very vivid reminder that while we may be in a time period of discourse — possibly even divisiveness and fighting across the nation — law enforcement stands united,” he said.

He continued:

“And for those who think that law enforcement is distracted, let me assure you that we are very much engaged with taking our responsibility to protect the public very seriously. We took an oath to protect and defend and to serve, and together we will take swift action against anyone who is planning or seeking to commit violence or harm to anyone in the state of Michigan.”

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UK festival not returning to Au Dhabi over sexual assault claims

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Tolerance Minister Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan is accused of sexual assault by one of the event’s curators.

Britain’s Hay Festival will not return to Abu Dhabi until the United Arab Emirates’ tolerance minister will remain in his post following allegations of sexual assault by one of the literary event’s curators.

Hay Festival chief Caroline Michel released a statement on Sunday after Caitlin McNamara alleged she was attacked in February by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, 69, a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, the Sunday Times reported.

The Times said McNamara, 32, who had travelled to the UAE to work on the launch of the literary festival there, claimed she was assaulted by the sheikh when they met at a remote island villa on Valentine’s day.

British lawyers for Sheikh Nahyan denied McNamara’s account, saying he was “surprised and saddened by this allegation.”

Michel stressed that her colleagues are committed to supporting McNamara in seeking legal action and said the festival will not return to Abu Dhabi while the sheikh remains in his post.

“What happened to our friend and colleague Caitlin McNamara in Abu Dhabi last February was an appalling violation and a hideous abuse of trust and position,” Michel said in a statement.

“Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan made a mockery of his ministerial responsibilities and tragically undermined his government’s attempt to work with the Hay Festival to promote free speech and female empowerment,” she said, adding that the festival “will not be returning to Abu Dhabi while he remains in position.

The Foreign Ministry of the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula that is also home to Dubai, said it does not comment on personal matters.

When asked about the case, the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police confirmed that a woman contacted the force on July 3 to report an allegation of rape, and said an initial statement has been taken from her.

McNamara agreed to be identified by The Sunday Times, which ran her picture on the front page.

The sheikh’s ministry paid for the four-day festival in Abu Dhabi, which took place in late February and featured several famous authors.

Sheikh Nahyan has received international attention as the Emirates hosted Pope Francis and moves toward normalising ties with Israel while welcoming Jews to this Muslim-ruled nation.

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Pakistani politician released as opposition to continue protests

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Opposition leader Muhammad Safdar has been released on bail ahead of a major anti-government demonstration.

Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistani opposition political leader Muhammad Safdar has been released on bail, hours after being arrested by authorities on charges related to a speech at a mausoleum ahead of a major anti-government rally on Sunday.

Safdar was arrested at his hotel room in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi early on Monday, his wife Maryam Nawaz, the daughter and political heir to former three-time Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said.

Later on Monday, Nawaz confirmed at a news conference that Safdar had been released on bail.

“We will both be leaving Karachi together because I have just received a message … that he has been granted bail,” Nawaz said.

Safdar was taken into custody in connection with charges against him for raising political slogans at the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s founder, on Sunday.

That incident came hours ahead of a political rally of tens of thousands in Karachi that is part of the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) countrywide drive to attempt to overthrow Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government.

Formed last month, the PDM is an alliance of 11 opposition political parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League’s Nawaz faction (PML-N), the Pakistan People’s Party, the Jamiat Ulema Islam’s Fazl faction (JUI-F) and others.

The PDM alleges Khan’s victory in the 2018 general election was rigged by the country’s military, which has directly ruled the country for roughly half of its 73-year history.

Khan and the military have routinely denied the accusation, with the prime minister accusing the opposition of attempting to deflect or discredit his government’s anti-corruption campaign, which has seen several top political opponents jailed or investigated for alleged corruption.

The military has taken an increasingly overt role in governance under Khan, with serving and retired military officials taking key positions in his administration, including in the areas of health, telecommunications, economic affairs and the $60bn China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

Dwindling economy

At the rally in Karachi on Sunday, PDM leaders repeated their accusations against Khan and criticised him for his handling of the country’s economy.

It was the second major protest by the group, which launched its anti-government campaign with a protest by thousands in the central city of Gujranwala on Friday.

At that demonstration, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, addressing the gathering by video link from London, took blunt aim at the military, accusing army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa of rigging the 2018 elections and engineering his removal as prime minister in 2017.

Sharif left for London on medical bail last year, as appeals against his conviction and sentencing to 10 years in prison on corruption charges continue.

Supporters of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) react to party songs during an anti-government protest rally in Karachi [Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]

Last month, an Islamabad court issued arrest warrants for him, demanding he returns to the country and appears in person for hearings.

Sharif is also facing sedition charges for criticising the military’s alleged role in politics.

The opposition’s movement to overthrow Khan comes as Pakistan’s economy – already struggling before the pandemic – is grappling with double-digit food inflation and negative economic growth.

Khan’s government says it will be taking on the issue of food inflation in the coming weeks, and blames the economic slowdown on the coronavirus pandemic and the state of the economy it inherited from Sharif’s PML-N in 2018.

The PDM will continue its countrywide protest movement with further anti-government demonstrations in the coming days, PDM leaders said on Monday.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim

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Halloween face masks that keep you safe — and still spooky

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(CNN) —  

Halloween is typically a time for safety concerns — flammable costumes, tripping, tampered-with candy — but this year, there’s something new to worry about: Covid-19. Given the times we’re in, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has discouraged door-to-door trick-or-treating, parties and even wearing regular Halloween masks rather than ones that can prevent the disease’s spread.

“A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask,” the CDC says. “A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps.”

So this year you can wear a disposable or reusable cloth mask under a traditional Halloween costume mask, or you could pick from one of these Halloween-themed face masks below, even if you’re choosing to stay home for a virtual party or attend an outdoor scavenger hunt, which is among the CDC’s low-risk Halloween ideas. These masks will help to keep you safe without spoiling your costume — and they may even be part of it or inspire this year’s theme.

NicholesWickedTops Beetlejuice Face Mask ($12.59, originally $13.99; etsy.com)

NicholesWickedTops Beetlejuice Face Mask
NicholesWickedTops Beetlejuice Face Mask
PHOTO: Etsy

Take one striped suit ($59.99; spirithalloween.com) and one fright wig ($16.59; amazon.com), add this Beetlejuice face mask and you have a costume that no one will realize has a built-in safety feature.

Assmasks Incredible Hulk Face Mask (starting at $9.99; etsy.com)

Assmasks Incredible Hulk Face Mask
Assmasks Incredible Hulk Face Mask
PHOTO: Etsy

You could also build an inexpensive costume around an Incredible Hulk mask by donning a green T-shirt and a pair of cutoff shorts.

RisebySamyouwell Cat Mask ($16; etsy.com)

RisebySamyouwell Cat Mask
RisebySamyouwell Cat Mask
PHOTO: Etsy

There are lots of other mask options to build a costume around, especially if you like animal costumes. Forget messy face paint whiskers — this year, elevate your animal costume with a mask with its own whiskers and cute heart nose.

SeesanGeneralGoods Animal Face Masks, Red Panda ($10.95; etsy.com)

SeesanGeneralGoods Animal Face Masks, Red Panda
SeesanGeneralGoods Animal Face Masks, Red Panda
PHOTO: Etsy

These face masks come in lots of different realistic-looking species, from tigers to domestic cats, so you can even dress as something more unexpected, like a red panda or even a pug.

CaseRocket Scary Clown Face Mask ($12.85, originally $14.27; etsy.com)

CaseRocket Scary Clown Face Mask
CaseRocket Scary Clown Face Mask
PHOTO: Etsy

Other traditional Halloween costumes and motifs have also made their way onto masks. Scary clowns are a classic.

JonnyCustomShop Winifred Sanderson Mask ($4.90, originally $7; etsy.com)

JonnyCustomShop Winifred Sanderson Mask
JonnyCustomShop Winifred Sanderson Mask
PHOTO: Etsy

You can never go wrong with a “Hocus Pocus” homage on Halloween. This mask will instantly transform you into Bette Midler’s iconic character Winifred Sanderson.

WithLoveJeanette Jack-o’-Lantern Mask ($9; etsy.com)

WithLoveJeanette Jack-o
WithLoveJeanette Jack-o’-Lantern Mask
PHOTO: Etsy

Grinning jack-o’-lanterns offer a new — and friendlier! — take on the smiling face mask.

Gift2yo LED Light-Up Face Mask ($21.79; amazon.com)

Gift2yo LED Light-Up Face Mask
Gift2yo LED Light-Up Face Mask
PHOTO: Amazon

A newcomer in the face mask world is the light-up mask, which uses LED lights to create an eye-catching neon effect. This version can change color, allowing you to pick from seven different hues, and it can be recharged using a USB cable.

Costume Agent Glow-in-the-Dark Skeleton Mask ($13.90; amazon.com)

Costume Agent Glow-in-the-Dark Skeleton Mask
Costume Agent Glow-in-the-Dark Skeleton Mask
PHOTO: Amazon

This smiling skeleton mask offers a slightly different take on the glow-in-the-dark styles.

HTownApparel Boo Halloween Face Mask ($11.24, originally $14.99; etsy.com)

HTownApparel Boo Halloween Face Mask
HTownApparel Boo Halloween Face Mask
PHOTO: Etsy

For the jump-out-and-get-you set, this mask that says “Boo!” is just for you.

FoxyRoxyCo Resting Witch Face Cloth Face Mask ($9.98; etsy.com)

FoxyRoxyCo Resting Witch Face Cloth Face Mask
FoxyRoxyCo Resting Witch Face Cloth Face Mask
PHOTO: Etsy

And, if you have a bit of a cheeky bent, this “Resting Witch Face” mask will let people know what your personal protective equipment is hiding.

ProCraftyCreations Candy Corn Face Mask ($8.50, originally $10; etsy.com)

ProCraftyCreations Candy Corn Face Mask
ProCraftyCreations Candy Corn Face Mask
PHOTO: Etsy

Identify yourself as the designated candy hander-outer of the house with a candy-themed mask.

Studioxtc Gothic Lace Mask ($17.99; etsy.com)

Studioxtc Gothic Lace Mask
Studioxtc Gothic Lace Mask
PHOTO: Etsy

For people looking for a more sophisticated look, a gothic-inspired mask is a lovely addition to formalwear.

This Is My Halloween Costume Mask ($5.99; spirithalloween.com)

This Is My Halloween Costume Mask
This Is My Halloween Costume Mask
PHOTO: Spirit Halloween

For those who have the opposite of the Halloween spirit, there’s a mask just for you: “This Is My Halloween Costume” mask.

Sooqoo Disposable Face Masks, 100-Pack ($25.97 for 100; amazon.com)

Sooqoo Disposable Face Masks, 100-Pack
Sooqoo Disposable Face Masks, 100-Pack
PHOTO: Amazon

Disposable masks are also convenient, and plain black ones are thematically appropriate for the darkest of holidays.

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