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(BETHPAGE, N.Y.) — Describing gang violence inflicted by MS-13 members in chilling and gruesome detail, President Donald Trump vowed Wednesday to make “radical” changes to U.S. aid practices by withholding government assistance from countries whose criminals slip into the United States.

“We’re going to work out something where every time somebody comes in from a certain country, we’re going to deduct a rather large amount of money from what we give them in aid — if we give them aid at all,” Trump said during a roundtable discussion on MS-13 on New York’s Long Island attended by federal and local officials.

White House officials did not immediately respond to questions about which countries the president was referencing or how far along the plan was.

Trump defended his references to MS-13 gang members as “animals” as he and others recounted a litany of hackings, decapitations, bludgeonings and other gruesome crimes that law enforcement authorities blame on the group.

“I called them animals the other day and I was met with rebuke,” Trump said, referencing Democratic criticism. He specifically mentioned House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi as saying even gang members are people.

“They’re not people,” Trump said. “These are animals and we have to be very, very tough.”

Pelosi had commented more broadly on Trump’s rhetoric and policies directed at immigrants, including changes the administration wants that could lead to more children being separated from their parents as they cross the border illegally.

During a similar roundtable last week at the White House, Trump used the word “animals” to describe some people who enter the country illegally, in response to a comment about MS-13. He later said he will continue to use the term when referring to the gang.

Trump’s comments, reported by some news organizations without context, sparked a furious blowback that the White House quickly seized on and used to suggest Democrats were defending members of a gang known for brutal violence.

MS-13, or the Mara Salvatrucha, is believed by federal prosecutors to have thousands of members across the U.S., primarily emigrants from Central America. It has a stronghold in Los Angeles, where it emerged in the 1980s as a neighborhood street gang, but it also has wreaked violence in cities and suburbs across the U.S., including Long Island.

Trump opened Wednesday’s event by reading a list of crimes said to have been committed by MS-13 members, including the killing and hacking of a teenager in Nassau County, New York, and the stabbing of a man 100 times, followed by his decapitation and removal of his heart, in Maryland.

Trump in February threatened to cut off aid and slap sanctions on countries that refuse to accept nationals the U.S. tries to deport, saying, “If they don’t take ’em back, we’ll put sanctions on the countries, we’ll put tariffs on the countries.”

He has also threatened to cut off aid to the countries, which include China and Sierra Leone, as well as countries that produce illegal drugs, saying they’re “not our friends.”

Sitting at the table with Trump was Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a frequent target of the president’s fury because he is overseeing the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election meddling. He and Trump appeared on good terms Wednesday, with no hints of any tension between them.

Congo Confirms Six New Ebola Cases, Vaccinations Underway

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(KINSHASA, Congo) — Congo’s health ministry announced six new confirmed Ebola cases and two new suspected cases Tuesday as vaccinations entered a second day in an effort to contain the deadly virus in a city of more than 1 million.

Dozens of health workers in the northwestern provincial capital, Mbandaka, have received vaccinations amid expectations that some will be deployed to the rural epicenter of the epidemic. Front-line workers are especially at risk of contracting the virus, which spreads in contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, including the dead.

“In the next five days 100 people must be vaccinated, including 70 health professionals,” Health Minister Oly Ilunga said. “The priority of the government is to ensure that all these brave health professionals can do their job safely.”

Congo’s health ministry said there are now 28 confirmed Ebola cases, 21 probable ones and two suspected. The six new confirmed cases were in the rural Iboko health zone, it said. Of the confirmed Ebola cases, 14 are in Iboko, 10 are in Bikoro where the outbreak began and four are in the Wangata area of Mbandaka.

The death toll from hemorrhagic fever stands at 27, with three of them confirmed as Ebola. Two of the Ebola victims were nurses, one in Iboko and the other in Bikoro.

“Concerned about Iboko as access remains difficult,” Dr. Peter Salama, the World Health Organization’s emergency response chief, said Tuesday on Twitter. Roads in the region are unpaved and infrastructure is poor.

The WHO said 33 people received the first vaccinations Monday, including a few people in two communities of Mbandaka. More than 7,500 doses are available in Congo, WHO said Monday, and another 8,000 doses will be available in the coming days.

Allowing Congolese to watch health officials receive vaccinations is crucial, health worker Ezela Elange told The Associated Press.

“Our hope is that … the sick will heal, the whole province will be healed,” Elange said.

The vaccination campaign eventually will move to cover the two other health zones where confirmed cases have been reported. A major challenge will be keeping the vaccines cold in this vast, impoverished, tropical country where electricity is patchy.

The vaccine, provided by U.S. company Merck, is still in the test stages but it was effective toward the end of the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia from 2014 to 2016.

Those who are vaccinated in outbreak areas still will have to strictly follow infection-control measures, especially since the vaccine doesn’t protect immediately. It takes a week to 10 days, said Dr. Pierre Rollin, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a veteran of more than a dozen Ebola outbreaks.

Rollin warned that the large geographic area between Mbandaka and the remote towns where the outbreak’s first cases were reported must be scoured for the infected and the people who have come into contact with them.

“Travel from Mbandaka to Bikoro can take four hours to four days” depending on transportation and if it’s raining, he said. “Before making any assumption we’re going to have to look along this road and all the villages.”

The U.S. Agency for International Development on Tuesday said it was contributing another up to $7 million to combat the outbreak on top of the $1 million it committed last week.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Congo warned that the outbreak is far from over. It said it will expand operations for community-based surveillance and safe burials.

“The risk of spreading within the country and to neighboring nations remains real,” said Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, IFRC’s regional director for Africa.

This is Congo’s ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976, when the disease was first identified. While all of the outbreaks were based in remote rural areas the virus has twice made it to Kinshasa, the capital of 10 million people, but was effectively contained.

Mbandaka is an hour’s flight from Kinshasa and several days’ travel by barge.

There is no specific treatment for Ebola. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding. The virus can be fatal in up to 90% of cases, depending on the strain.

USC President Urged To Resign Over Response to Abuse Claims

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(LOS ANGELES) — Two-hundred professors signed a letter demanding that the president of the University of Southern California resign amid allegations that USC failed to properly respond to complaints of misconduct by a gynecologist who worked at a student health clinic for 30 years.

The letter addressed to USC trustees asserts that President C. L. Max Nikias has lost the moral authority to lead the university and its investigation into institutional failures, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

An Associated Press email requesting comment from the president’s office was not immediately returned.

Board of trustees Chairman John Mork released a statement saying its executive committee strongly supports Nikias.

The gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, denied wrongdoing in interviews with the Times. He didn’t return phone calls and it wasn’t known Tuesday if he has an attorney.

Dr. George Tyndall routinely made crude comments, took inappropriate photographs and forced plaintiffs to strip naked and groped them under the guise of medical treatment for his “sexual gratification,” according to civil lawsuits filed this week.

The latest complaint announced by attorney Gloria Allred was filed Tuesday on behalf of Daniella Mohazab, a USC student seeking a master’s degree in communications management. Mohazab said Tyndall saw her at the clinic in 2016 for an STD test. Tyndall made comments about her Filipina heritage, including telling her that “Filipinas are good in bed,” according to court documents.

The suit accuses him of not using gloves during an exam during which she felt uncomfortable.

“I am still in shock that USC had heard about Dr. Tyndall’s inappropriate conduct and allowed him to continue practicing,” Mohazab said at a press conference.

Allred also read a statement from an unnamed former USC student who claims Tyndall took photographs of her during an exam in the early 1990s. The woman said she complained to the director of the health clinic and notified the USC women’s advocacy office.

“Assuming these allegations made by witness Jane Doe are true, USC was told as early as 1991 about Dr. Tyndall’s sexual misconduct,” Allred said.

At least a half-dozen other women have sued the university alleging misconduct by Tyndall. The complaints accuse the university of failing to properly respond to complaints about Tyndall.

USC said in a statement that it was aware of the lawsuits.

“We are focused on ensuring the safety and well-being of our students and providing support to those affected,” the statement said.

Hiker Dies After Falling From Yosemite’s Half Dome

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(YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif.) — A hiker in Yosemite National Park fell to his death while climbing the iconic granite cliffs of Half Dome in rainy conditions, authorities said Tuesday.

The National Park Service said the accident occurred Monday at about 4:30 p.m. in the Northern California national park. The hiker’s body was recovered Tuesday afternoon.

NPS spokeswoman Jamie Richards said the man and a companion were scaling the steepest part of the trail where rangers recently installed cables to help hikers to climb the steepest part of the 4,800-foot (1,463-meter) ascent.

Richards said the companion was helped from the trail and was unharmed.

The cables are installed each summer to assist the thousands of hikers who make the popular 14-mile (23-kilometer) round trip. Richards said hikers can clip safety harnesses to the cables, but the vast majority don’t.

Richards said investigators are still trying to determine how the fall occurred. She said it’s unclear if the hikers were climbing in the rain, but that the well-worn trail over smooth rock was wet.

The NPS declined to release the man’s name pending notification of his family. The NPS said it’s the first fatal fall from Half Dome since 2010.

NPS requires hikers to obtain permits to hike the popular trail to avoid overcrowding during the peak summer season.

Parents Sue 30-Year-Old Son After He Refuses to Move Out

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(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) — In a real-life case of “Failure to Launch,” an upstate New York judge Tuesday ordered a 30-year-old man to move out of his parents’ house after they went to court to have him ejected.

Michael Rotondo told the judge he knows his parents want him out of the split-level ranch they share. But he argued that as a family member, he’s entitled to six months more time.

State Supreme Court Justice Donald Greenwood rejected that as outrageous, the Post-Standard of Syracuse reported.

Rotondo told reporters he’ll appeal.

Mark and Christina Rotondo brought the court case after several eviction letters offering money and other help were ignored.

The parents didn’t answer a call seeking comment Tuesday and their letters, filed in court, don’t give their reasons for wanting their son out of the house. They do tell him to get a job and move his broken-down Volkswagen Passat.

“Michael, here is $1,100 from us to you so you can find a place to stay,” a Feb. 18 letter starts. It goes on to suggest he sell his stereo, some tools and any weapons he may have to gain money and space.

“There are jobs available even for those with a poor work history like you,” the letter reads. “Get one — you have to work!”

It’s signed “Christina and Mark Rotondo.”

With reporters watching in court, Michael Rotondo sparred with Greenwood for 30 minutes, at one point refusing the judge’s request to work things out directly to his parents, who were sitting quietly nearby.

When Greenwood called Rotondo up to the bench, the long-haired and bearded son tried to bring the podium with him — noting it held the reporters’ microphones.

He then called out for television camera crews to meet him outside the courthouse. There, he answered their questions, telling them he occupies a bedroom in his parents’ home, doesn’t speak to them and isn’t ready to leave home. He said he had a business but wouldn’t elaborate.

“My business is my business,” he said.

The judge instructed the parents’ lawyer to draft an eviction order. Attorney Anthony Adorante said it would give Rotondo reasonable time to vacate.

In the 2006 Matthew McConaughey romantic comedy, the grown son’s parents hire a woman to try to speed their son’s exit.

Amnesty: Rohingya Insurgents Massacred Hindus in Myanmar

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Last August, nearly 100 Hindu villagers were massacred, their bodies found buried in mass graves in Myanmar’s conflict-ridden Rakhine state. For nearly a year, it’s been unclear who perpetrated the attack. The Myanmar military blamed a Muslim Rohingya insurgent group known as ARSA, while the militants pinned the slaughter on the largely Buddhist state security forces. A new report by Amnesty International holds the insurgents responsible for the bloodshed.

According to Amnesty, armed men dressed in black and plain-clothed Rohingya villagers appeared in the village of Ah Nauk Kha Maung Seik around 8 a.m. local time and rounded up dozens of Hindu women, men and children. Starting with the men, the victims were blindfolded and 53 people executed.

Eight survivors told Amnesty they saw their relatives killed, or heard their screams.

“They slaughtered the men. We were told not to look at them … They had knives. They also had some spades and iron rods. … We hid ourselves in the shrubs there and were able to see a little … My uncle, my father, my brother – they were all slaughtered,” said Raj Kumari, 18, according to the report.

In a neighboring village, Ye Bauk Kyar, another 46 Hindu villagers disappeared, allegedly killed by the Rohingya insurgents.

“Members of ARSA captured scores of Hindu women, men, and children and terrorized them before slaughtering them outside their own villages. The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be held to account,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty’s crisis response director.

The atrocities committed against the Hindu community allegedly occurred on the same day that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked 30 Myanmar military outposts, prompting bloody reprisals. Around 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled over the border to Bangladesh amid a military-led campaign of violence the U.N. called “ethnic cleansing.” According to Doctors Without Borders, at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed during the first month alone.

Yet despite widespread refugee accounts of rape, torture, arson and extrajudicial killings, the Myanmar government has insistently denied the military forces committed any serious abuses. So when the government discovered two mass graves in September and claimed the Hindu victims had been killed by ARSA, the account was met with skepticism. Independent observers and journalists have also been barred from accessing the conflict area except on government escorted trips, further exacerbating doubts about the credibility of the government’s conclusion.

When Hindu survivors reached Bangladesh, the narrative was further muddied by refugees’ conflicting accounts.

Amnesty says the inconsistencies were the result of “pressures and threats to personal safety,” with ARSA forcing the victims to pin the Hindu massacres on Buddhist Rakhine villagers return

After the Hindu refugees returned to Myanmar in October, they “unambiguously asserted that Rohingya, believed to be ARSA fighters, were responsible,” Amnesty says. According to the rights group, this witness testimony was backed up by forensic analysis of 31 photos of exhumed bodies.

Amnesty added that it also documented ARSA’s involvement in other murders and attacks around Maungdaw township, the epicenter of the renewed violence.

ARSA has previously denied killing Hindus or attacking any civilians, but has not released a statement in several months. Social media accounts purporting to represent the militant organization have also gone quiet.

Amnesty called for an independent investigation to bring justice to all victims and survivors in Rakhine state.

“ARSA’s appalling attacks were followed by the Myanmar military’s ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya population as a whole,” said Hassan. “Both must be condemned — human rights violations or abuses by one side never justify abuses or violations by the other.”

Philip Roth: Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Dies at 85

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(NEW YORK) — Philip Roth, the prize-winning novelist and fearless narrator of sex, death, assimilation and fate, from the comic madness of “Portnoy’s Complaint” to the elegiac lyricism of “American Pastoral,” died Tuesday night at age 85.

Roth’s literary agent, Andrew Wylie, said that the author died in a New York City hospital of congestive heart failure.

Author of more than 25 books, Roth was a fierce satirist and uncompromising realist, confronting readers in a bold, direct style that scorned false sentiment or hopes for heavenly reward. He was an atheist who swore allegiance to earthly imagination, whether devising pornographic functions for raw liver or indulging romantic fantasies about Anne Frank. In “The Plot Against America,” published in 2004, he placed his own family under the anti-Semitic reign of President Charles Lindbergh. In 2010, in “Nemesis,” he subjected his native New Jersey to a polio epidemic.

He was among the greatest writers never to win the Nobel Prize. But he received virtually every other literary honor, including two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle prizes and, in 1998, the Pulitzer for “American Pastoral.” He was in his 20s when he won his first award and awed critics and fellow writers by producing some of his most acclaimed novels in his 60s and 70s, including “The Human Stain” and “Sabbath’s Theater,” a savage narrative of lust and mortality he considered his finest work.

He identified himself as an American writer, not a Jewish one, but for Roth the American experience and the Jewish experience were often the same. While predecessors such as Saul Bellow and Bernard Malamud wrote of the Jews’ painful adjustment from immigrant life, Roth’s characters represented the next generation. Their first language was English, and they spoke without accents. They observed no rituals and belonged to no synagogues. The American dream, or nightmare, was to become “a Jew without Jews, without Judaism, without Zionism, without Jewishness.” The reality, more often, was to be regarded as a Jew among gentiles and a gentile among Jews.

In the novel “The Ghost Writer” he quoted one of his heroes, Franz Kafka: “We should only read those books that bite and sting us.” For his critics, his books were to be repelled like a swarm of bees.

Feminists, Jews and one ex-wife attacked him in print, and sometimes in person. Women in his books were at times little more than objects of desire and rage and The Village Voice once put his picture on its cover, condemning him as a misogynist. A panel moderator berated him for his comic portrayals of Jews, asking Roth if he would have written the same books in Nazi Germany. The Jewish scholar Gershom Scholem called “Portnoy’s Complaint” the “book for which all anti-Semites have been praying.” When Roth won the Man Booker International Prize, in 2011, a judge resigned, alleging that the author suffered from terminal solipsism and went “on and on and on about the same subject in almost every single book.” In “Sabbath’s Theater,” Roth imagines the inscription for his title character’s headstone: “Sodomist, Abuser of Women, Destroyer of Morals.”

Ex-wife Claire Bloom wrote a best-selling memoir, “Leaving a Doll’s House,” in which the actress remembered reading the manuscript of his novel “Deception.” With horror, she discovered his characters included a boring middle-aged wife named Claire, married to an adulterous writer named Philip. Bloom also described her ex-husband as cold, manipulative and unstable. (Although, alas, she still loved him). The book was published by Virago Press, whose founder, Carmen Callil, was the same judge who quit years later from the Booker committee.

Roth’s wars also originated from within. He survived a burst appendix in the late 1960s and near-suicidal depression in 1987. After the disappointing reaction to his 1993 novel, “Operation Shylock,” he fell again into severe depression and for years rarely communicated with the media. For all the humor in his work — and, friends would say, in private life — jacket photos usually highlighted the author’s tense, dark-eyed glare. In 2012, he announced that he had stopped writing fiction and would instead dedicate himself to helping biographer Blake Bailey complete his life story, one he openly wished would not come out while he was alive. By 2015, he had retired from public life altogether.

He never promised to be his readers’ friend; writing was its own reward, the narration of “life, in all its shameless impurity.” Until his abrupt retirement, Roth was a dedicated, prolific author who often published a book a year and was generous to writers from other countries. For years, he edited the “Writers from the Other Europe” series, in which authors from Eastern Europe received exposure to American readers; Milan Kundera was among the beneficiaries. Roth also helped bring a wider readership to the acclaimed Israeli writer Aharon Appelfeld.

Roth began his career in rebellion against the conformity of the 1950s and ended it in defense of the security of the 1940s; he was never warmer than when writing about his childhood, or more sorrowful, and enraged, than when narrating the shock of innocence lost.

Roth was born in 1933 in Newark, New Jersey, a time and place he remembered lovingly in “The Facts,” ”American Pastoral” and other works. The scolding, cartoonish parents of his novels were pure fiction. He adored his parents, especially his father, an insurance salesman to whom he paid tribute in the memoir “Patrimony.” Roth would describe his childhood as “intensely secure and protected,” at least at home. He was outgoing and brilliant and, tall and dark-haired, especially attractive to girls. In his teens he presumed he would become a lawyer, a most respectable profession in his family’s world.

But after a year at Newark College of Rutgers University, Roth emulated an early literary hero, James Joyce, and fled his hometown. He transferred to Bucknell College in Pennsylvania and only returned to Newark on paper. By his early 20s, Roth was writing fiction — at first casually, soon with primary passion, with Roth observing he could never really be happy unless working on a novel, inside the “fun house” of his imagination. “The unlived, the surmise, fully drawn in print on paper, is the life whose meaning comes to matter most,” he wrote in the novel “Exit Ghost.”

After receiving a master’s degree in English from the University of Chicago, he began publishing stories in The Paris Review and elsewhere. Bellow was an early influence, as were Thomas Wolfe, Flaubert, Henry James and Kafka, whose picture Roth hung in his writing room.

Acclaim and controversy were inseparable. A short story about Jews in the military, “Defender of the Faith,” introduced Roth to accusations of Jewish self-hatred. His debut collection, published in 1959, was “Goodbye, Columbus,” featuring a love (and lust) title story about a working class Jew and his wealthier girlfriend. It brought the writer a National Book Award and some extra-literary criticism.

The aunt of the main character, Neil Klugman, is a meddling worrywart, and the upper-middle-class relatives of Neil’s girlfriend are satirized as shallow materialists. Roth believed he was simply writing about people he knew, but some Jews saw him as a traitor, subjecting his brethren to ridicule before the gentile world. A rabbi accused him of distorting the lives of Orthodox Jews. At a writers conference in the early 1960s, he was relentlessly accused of creating stories that affirmed the worst Nazi stereotypes.

But Roth insisted writing should express, not sanitize. After two relatively tame novels, “Letting Go” and “When She was Good,” he abandoned his good manners with “Portnoy’s Complaint,” his ode to blasphemy against the “unholy trinity of “father, mother and Jewish son.” Published in 1969, a great year for rebellion, it was an event, a birth, a summation, Roth’s triumph over “the awesome graduate school authority of Henry James,” as if history’s lid had blown open and out erupted a generation of Jewish guilt and desire.

As narrated by Alexander Portnoy, from a psychiatrist’s couch, Roth’s novel satirized the dull expectations heaped upon “nice Jewish boys” and immortalized the most ribald manifestations of sexual obsession. His manic tour of one man’s onanistic adventures led Jacqueline Susann to comment that “Philip Roth is a good writer, but I wouldn’t want to shake hands with him.” Although “Portnoy’s Complaint” was banned in Australia and attacked by Scholem and others, many critics welcomed the novel as a declaration of creative freedom. “Portnoy’s Complaint” sold millions, making Roth wealthy, and, more important, famous. The writer, an observer by nature, was now observed. He was an item in gossip columns, a name debated at parties. Strangers called out to him in the streets. Roth would remember hailing a taxi and, seeing that the driver’s last name was Portnoy, commiserating over the book’s notoriety.

In an Oval Office recording from November 1971, President Richard Nixon and White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman discussed the famous author, whom Nixon apparently confused with the pornographer Samuel Roth.

____

Haldeman: I never read “Portnoy’s Complaint,” but I understand it was a well written book but just sickeningly filthy.

Nixon: Roth is of course a Jew.

Haldeman: Oh, yes … He’s brilliant in a sick way.

Nixon: Oh, I know —

Haldeman: Everything he’s written has been sick …

____

With Roth finding himself asked whether he really was Portnoy, several of his post-Portnoy novels amounted to a dare: Is it fact of fiction? In “The Anatomy Lesson,” ”The Counterlife” and other novels, the featured character is a Jewish writer from New Jersey named Nathan Zuckerman. He is a man of similar age to Roth who just happened to have written a “dirty” best seller, “Carnovsky,” and is lectured by friends and family for putting their lives into his books.

“Operation Skylock” featured a middle-aged writer named Philip Roth, haunted by an impersonator in Israel who has a wild plan to lead the Jews back to Europe. In interviews, Roth claimed (not very convincingly) the story was true, lamenting that only when he wrote fiction did people think he was writing about his life.

Even when Roth wrote non-fiction, the game continued. At the end of his autobiography, “The Facts,” Roth included a disclaimer by Nathan Zuckerman himself, chastising his creator for a self-serving, inhibited piece of storytelling.

“As for characterization, you, Roth, are the least completely rendered of all your protagonists,” Zuckerman tells him.

In the 1990s, after splitting with Bloom and again living fulltime in the United States (he had been spending much of his time in England), Roth reconnected with the larger world and culture of his native country. “American Pastoral” narrated a decent man’s decline from high school sports star to victim of the ’۶۰s and the “indigenous American berserk.” In “The Human Stain,” he raged against the impeachment of President Clinton over his affair with a White House intern. “The fantasy of purity is appalling. It’s insane,” he wrote.

In recent years, Roth was increasingly preoccupied with history and its sucker punch, how ordinary people were defeated by events beyond their control, like the Jews in “The Plot Against America” or the college student in “Indignation” who dies in the Korean War. Mortality, “the inevitable onslaught that is the end of life,” became another subject, in “Everyman” and “The Humbling,” despairing chronicles as told by a non-believer.

Writing proved the author’s most enduring relationship. Roth, who married Bloom in 1990, had one previous wife. In 1959, he was married to the former Margaret Martinson Williams, a time remembered bitterly in “The Facts” and in his novel “My Life as a Man.” They were legally separated in 1963 and she died in a car crash five years later. There were no children from either marriage.

Roth’s non-literary life could be as strange, if not stranger than his fiction. In the mid-’۹۰s, he split up with Bloom, whose acting roles included a part in Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Roth then reportedly dated Mia Farrow, the ex-lover of Allen, who in another movie played a writer with the last name Roth.

Bloom turned her marriage into a memoir, and Roth turned her memoir into fiction. In the novel “I Married a Communist,” one character just happens to have been married to an actress who wrote a book about him after their divorce.

“How could she publish this book and not expect him to do something?” he asks. “Did she imagine this openly aggressive hothead was going to do nothing in response?”

Venezuela: U.S. Diplomats Expelled After Tougher Sanctions

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(CARACAS, Venezuela) — President Nicolas Maduro expelled the top U.S. diplomat in Venezuela and his deputy Tuesday for allegedly conspiring against the socialist government and trying to sabotage the weekend presidential election.

“The empire doesn’t dominate us here,” Maduro said in a televised address, giving charge d’affaires Todd Robinson and his deputy, Brian Naranjo, 48 hours to leave the country. “We’ve had enough of your conspiring.”

Tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela have mounted following Maduro’s victory in presidential election Sunday, a vote that the White House and others have branded a “sham.”

Maduro said in his speech that Robinson and Naranjo, whom he referred to as the head of the CIA in Venezuela, both personally pressured several anti-government presidential aspirants not to compete in the race. Despite widespread discontent over Venezuela’s economic collapse, most opposition parties decided to boycott the election after officials blocked their most popular leaders from competing against Maduro.

Maduro also accused the Trump administration, which toughened financial sanctions on his government Monday, of seeking to escalate “aggressions” against the Venezuelan people. U.S. officials have also said the administration might consider imposing oil sanctions on Venezuela.

“The dominant and decisive reason why the opposition progressively withdrew from the elections was the decision by the extremist U.S. government to not validate or legitimize a presidential election that they knew fully was going to be won in any scenario by the candidate of Nicolas Maduro,” Maduro said.

Anticipating likely reciprocal expulsion by the Trump administration, Maduro hours later gave a new job to Carlos Ron, who had been serving as his top envoy to Washington. Ron was named deputy foreign minister in charge of relations with North America.

Robinson was travelling in Venezuela’s western state of Merida when he learned through social media of Maduro’s order, according to a local radio broadcast of him speaking at an event. Robinson said he and his deputy “strongly reject the accusations.”

“This is my first visit but it won’t be my last visit to Merida or to Venezuela,” he said.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert in Washington echoed Robinson’s words during a briefing with reporters, saying that U.S. officials consider them “false allegations.”

In his long career, Robinson, a career diplomat, has worked in Colombia, Bolivia, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. He earned a reputation for speaking out as ambassador to Guatemala and several times faced calls there for his expulsion.

He has been similarly provocative in his short stay in Caracas.

Days after landing in Caracas in December, he posed for pictures next to a statue of independence hero Simon Bolivar in a pro-government plaza and called Maduro’s constitutional assembly “illegitimate.”

He has also made several forceful calls for the release of U.S. citizen Joshua Holt, who has been jailed for more than two years without a trial on weapons charges.

Last week, Robinson rushed with cameras in tow to the foreign ministry to demand information about Holt after the Utah native appeared in a video from jail saying his life had been threatened during what the U.S. Embassy deemed a prison “riot.”

Robinson said nobody in the Venezuelan government would met with him, but socialist party boss Diosdado Cabello denied the snub, accusing the diplomat of staging a “show”

But despite the frequent clashes, Maduro had seemed little inclined to declare Robinson persona non grata, as he and his mentor, the late Hugo Chavez, did several times previously to U.S. diplomats.

Last month, Maduro even welcomed Robinson to the presidential palace for a private meeting with visiting U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. He also dispatched a trusted aide, Delcy Rodriguez, the head of the constitutional assembly, to meet with Robinson at his residence.

Venezuela and the U.S. haven’t exchanged ambassadors since 2010, so Robinson, while preserving his ambassadorial rank, was serving as chief of mission at the hilltop embassy in Caracas. Naranjo, his deputy, is one of the most senior State Department officials working on Venezuela, having served previously in Caracas when Chavez first ran for president in 1998.

Patrick Duddy, the last U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, who himself was briefly expelled by Chavez in 2008, said the U.S. is not alone in rejecting Maduro’s election as illegitimate and harshly criticizing the government for destroying the economy.

“They’re looking to blame someone,” said Duddy, now director of Duke University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. “As it has so often been in the past, the target of their efforts is the United States.”

Indian Police Fire on Copper Plant Protestors, Killing 12

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Demonstrations against a copper smelting plant in southern India ended in violence Tuesday after police opened fire on protestors, killing 12, local authorities confirmed.

Thousands of protestors assembled for hours in India’s southern Tamil Nadu to demand the closure of a British-owned copper plant due to worries over pollution, Agence France-Presse reports. Protestors set fire a local administrator’s office and burned more than 110 vehicles, according to police, who responded with batons and tear gas before firing on the crowd. About 20 police officers were also injured in the skirmish, which occurred in the southern port city Tuticorin.

The violence has sparked outrage from Indian public figures and celebrities. Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition Indian National Congress party, called the incident “state sponsored terrorism.”

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami defended the police response in a statement, citing “unavoidable circumstances” and blaming the protestors for resorting to “repeated violence.” Palaniswami added that families of the victims would be offered one million rupees ($14,700) in compensation.

Local residents have been protesting for months against the plant, which is operated by Sterlite Copper, a subsidiary of London-based Vedanta Resources. Environmental activists say the cooper plant is polluting local water resources, allegations the company denied as “false propaganda.”

The plant has been closed since March, when it shut for maintenance, but it has since been denied an operating license over failure to observe environmental regulations, Reuters reported. It is scheduled to reopen in June and plans to double its capacity.

The plant was also briefly shut in March 2013 after a suspected gas leak left hundreds of local residents struggling to breath and suffering from nausea and throat infections, according to AFP.

Santa Fe Shooting: Sabika Sheikh’s Body Arrives in Karachi

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(KARACHI, Pakistan) — The body of a 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student killed in a mass shooting at a high school in Texas arrived before dawn Wednesday in the port city of Karachi, where her family lived and where she was being buried.

Sabika Sheikh was among 10 students and staff slain Friday at Santa Fe High School. The alleged shooter is 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who is being held on capital murder charges.

Sabika had planned to return home in a few weeks for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

She was her family’s oldest child and began classes at Santa Fe High School last August. She had hoped to one day join Pakistan’s foreign service.

Her tearful father was there to receive the body at Karachi airport. Abdul Aziz Sheikh has said he hopes her death leads to stricter gun control in the United States.

Later, thousands of mourners, including the provincial governor, attended her funeral at city’s mosque.

“Before her death, she was just my daughter, but now she is the daughter of Pakistan, and it is only because of the love of people, who mourned her killing,” her father said.

The shooting reignited the debate over gun control in the United States. Pakistan requires gun owners to be licensed, but the rules are poorly enforced, particularly in the tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan. Heavily armed militant groups have carried out scores of attacks in recent years.