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‘Living hell’: Sandy Hook parents testify against conspiracy theorist



Sandy Hook parents describe ‘living hell’ caused by conspiracy theorist who claims the mass shooting was a hoax

In 2012, a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 28 people, most of who were children. The shooting brought America to its knees and remains one the deadliest school shootings in American history.

The horrific event caused unbearable and unthinkable pain for families of the victims. Now, the parents of a six year old boy who was killed have taken to the stand.

Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis are testifying against conspiracy theorist and far-right radio host, Alex Jones, who claims the entire shooting was a hoax.

They told the jury that Jones put them through ‘living hell’ with his some of his supporters shooting at their house and making continuous death threats.

Heslin says Jones’ media organisation “tarnished the honor and legacy” of his son. He continued saying he couldn’t “even begin to describe the last nine-and-a-half years of hell” caused by Jones.

“There’s got to be a strong deterrent that shall prevent him from peddling this propaganda…To restore my credibility, my reputation, and Jesse’s legacy that he so much deserves.”

Neil Heslin, sandy hook parent
Neil Heslin, Sandy Hook parent
Photo Credit: San Fransisco Chronicle

The parents are claiming $150 million in damages, for the trauma that have endured by Jones and his accusations.

“I am a mother first and foremost and I know you are a father. My son existed…I am not deep state… I know you know that… And yet you’re going to leave this courthouse and say it again on your show.”

scarlett lewis, sandy hook parent
Scarlett Lewis, Sandy Hook parent
Photo Credit:  (Briana Sanchez/Austin American-Statesman via AP, Pool)

Jones however, claims he never “intended to hurt anyone” and says he didn’t know who the parents were until recently.

Alex Jones, Infowars radio host
Photo Credit:  [File: J Scott Applewhite/AP]

It comes at a time when conspiracy theorists are more prevalent and powerful than ever.

Many far-right groups across the world are infiltrating and challenging key issues. However, far too often the ideology of the organisations turns to violence.

This has been seen more recently during the storming of the Capitol building, where many right-wing militia turned to violence to portray their views and beliefs.

The defamation trial against Alex Jones continues.

Holly is an anchor and reporter at Ticker. She's experienced in live reporting, and has previously covered the Covid-19 pandemic on-location. She's passionate about telling stories in business, climate and health.

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TikTok CEO testifies as U.S. considers nationwide ban



FBI says TikTok threatens U.S. national security

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified in Washington D.C. on Thursday.

The hours-long fiery hearing on Capitol Hill was incredibly tense as Chew was grilled by both Republicans and Democrats.

With bipartisan support, both parties are pushing for a nationwide ban on the app which the FBI has said threatens the national security of the United States.

TikTok says it has 150 million America users – almost half the country.

The CEO gave testimony to try and reassure lawmakers and Americans that TikTok is not an agent of the Chinese Communist Party, but critics aren’t convinced.

Chew was bombarded with questions from representatives from both sides of the aisle about the company’s ties to the CCP, security, data storage, well-being, and mental health. 

Many lawmakers are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of answers from the company.

Congress is now weighing a nationwide ban on the popular social media platform amid concerns that it is used to harvest Americans’ information and harm children online.

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Protests continue across France over pension reforms



Protestors blocked a terminal at an airport and sat on train tracks

The ongoing nationwide protests in France over plans by the government to raise the retirement age by two years saw another day of disruption – events which President Emmanuel Macron has recently compared to the storming of the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump supporters two years ago.

Protestors blocked a terminal at Paris’s Charles De Gaulle airport.

Protesters also sat on train tracks, and reportedly triggered a brief fire in the yard of a police station in once city.

Protests have been mostly peaceful, but tear gas has been used against them on occasions.

The plan is to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

For comparison, the U.S. is slowly raising its retirement age to 67 and the UK plans to go to 68.

Polls have long shown that a majority of voters in France oppose the move.

Macron earlier in the week said he was standing firm on the law and that it would come into effect by the end of the year.

The government says the change is needed to keep pension budgets from running a deficit – failure would create an annual deficit of about $14 billion by 2030.

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Prosecutors allege Donald Trump misled people on potential arrest



The move prompted Republicans in Congress to interfere with the course of justice

Manhattan prosecutors say Donald Trump has misled people to expect he would be arrested, prompting Republicans in Congress to interfere with the course of justice.

A probe is currently under way into his alleged hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

On Saturday, the former President said he would be arrested on Tuesday.

This saw three Republicans launching an offensive against the District Attorney, who is a Democrat.

They accused him of abusing authority, while also seeking communications, documents and testimony.

A grand jury hearing evidence in the Stormy Daniels case is yet to issue an arrest warrant for Trump.

The attorney’s office has since sent the committee chairmen a letter.

It says the lawmakers’ accusations “only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation he would be arrested”.

It also confirms the attorney’s office is “investigating allegations that Donald Trump engaged in violations of New York State penal law.”

If indicted, Trump would be the first U.S. President to face criminal charges.

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