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BREAKING: Rescuers locate crash site of helicopter carrying Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi

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The crash site of the helicopter carrying Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has been located, Iranian state news agency IRNA and semi-official news outlet ISNA reported on Monday.

The helicopter crashed in a remote part of the country on Sunday.

As president of Iran, Raisi is the second most powerful individual in the Islamic Republic’s political structure after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. He became president in a historically uncompetitive election in 2021, and he has overseen a period of intensified repression of dissent in a nation convulsed by youth-led protests against religious clerical rule.

The crash comes at a fraught moment in the Middle East, with war raging in Gaza and weeks after Iran launched a drone-and-missile attack on Israel in response to a deadly strike on its diplomatic compound in Damascus.

As the sun rose Monday, Raisi and the others on board remained missing more than 12 hours after the likely crash, with Turkish drone footage suggesting the helicopter went down in the mountains. Rescuers rushed to the site.

The incident comes as Iran under Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei launched an unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel last month and has enriched uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels.

Iran has also faced years of mass protests against its Shiite theocracy over an ailing economy and women’s rights — making the moment that much more sensitive for Tehran and the future of the country as the Israel-Hamas war inflames the wider Middle East.

Raisi was traveling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. State TV said what it called a “hard landing” happened near Jolfa, a city on the border with the nation of Azerbaijan, some 600 kilometers (375 miles) northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran. Later, state TV put it farther east near the village of Uzi, but details remained contradictory.

Traveling with Raisi were Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province and other officials and bodyguards, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. One local government official used the word “crash,” but others referred to either a “hard landing” or an “incident.”

Neither IRNA nor state TV offered any information on Raisi’s condition in the hours afterward.

Early Monday morning, Turkish authorities released what they described as drone footage showing what appeared to be a fire in the wilderness that they “suspected to be wreckage of helicopter.” The coordinates listed in the footage put the fire some 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the Azerbaijan-Iranian border on the side of a steep mountain.

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At least 162 killed and 700 hurt as earthquake hits Indonesia’s Java island

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Hundreds of homes were damaged, in addition to a boarding school, a hospital and several government buildings, the national disaster agency chief said.

An earthquake shook Indonesia‘s main Java island Monday afternoon, killing at least 162 people, local officials said.

Around 700 people were injured, National Disaster Mitigation Agency chief Suharyanto said.

“Many were hurt because they were hit by collapsed buildings,” he added.

The death toll reached 162 Monday night, local media reported citing West Java Gov. Ridwan Kamil.

More than 5,300 people had been displaced, the Indonesian disaster mitigation agency said in a statement. It added that at least 25 people were still trapped under collapsed buildings.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck West Java at 1:21 p.m. local time (1:21 a.m. ET). It was centered in the Cianjur region at a depth of 6.2 miles — about 47 miles southeast of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

At least 25 aftershocks were recorded by the country’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency.

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OMG: Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

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The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, holding that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion.

The opinion is the most consequential Supreme Court decision in decades and will transform the landscape of women’s reproductive health in America.
Going forward, abortion rights will be determined by states, unless Congress acts.  Already, nearly half of the states have or will pass laws that ban abortion while others have enacted strict measures regulating the procedure.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

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Breaking: U.S. Supreme Court strikes down New York conceal carry gun law

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BREAKING: In a major ruling for gun rights, Supreme Court has just struck down restrictive New York gun law. The highest court ruled on its biggest gun rights case in more than a decade and decided that  Americans can carry concealed weapons outside the home. Put simply, this court agreed that there is a fundamental right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense.

New York’s 100-year-old law requires showing “proper cause” in order to carry a concealed firearm, with permits issued at the discretion of local officials. By striking down this law, it would likely mean more guns in public spaces.

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