Ongoing siege following car explosion at hotel gate in Somalia's capital


A car bomb exploded at the gate of Afrik hotel and was followed by gunfire heard inside, Somali police captain, Ahmed Hassan, told CNN. The incident occurred around 5 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET), Hassan added.

Gunmen from the al Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab gained access to the building after the car bomb explosion at the gate, he said.

There is an ongoing operation to rescue people from inside the hotel, according to police. It is unclear at the moment whether there are casualties.

The reason for the attack is also unclear but Hassan said a top military commander was inside the hotel at the time of the attack. Other senior military officials and lawmakers were also inside the hotel, Hassan said.

The hotel is frequented by Members of Parliament, politicians, and security officials, but not foreigners.

People flee as gunshots are heard on a street near the Afrik hotel in Mogadishu

Outside the hotel is the main security checkpoint to the airport and Halane base, which houses western missions, including the US embassy.

Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack through a statement broadcast by Andalus Radio, its mouthpiece channel. CNN has been unable to independently verify this claim.

The Islamist insurgent group, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, wants to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state.
It claimed responsibility for a a truck bombing outside Mogadishu in December which killed 85 including two Turkish citizens.
Another terror attack at a hotel in Kismayo in Somalia’s Jubaland state in July left more than 26 people dead including journalists and local government officials.
US forces begin to move out of Somalia
The militant group also said it was behind a triple car bombing near a hotel in Mogadishu in which at least 52 people were killed and 100 injured in November 2018.
US forces that had been based in Somalia began their withdrawal from the country in December and were redirected to other bases in East Africa.

US troops in Somalia primarily train and advise local Somali forces as they battle Al-Shabaab. The US military also carries out airstrikes against the group and the local ISIS affiliate in the country, killing a top Al-Shabaab leader in a targeted strike in September.

Former US President Donald Trump ordered the majority of US troops to leave Somalia “by early 2021,” in just one of the major military policy decisions taken in the final days of his administration.

Omar Nor reported from Mogadishu and Radina Gigova wrote from Atlanta, Georgia.



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Now Playing

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Disproportionate number of current and former military personnel arrested in Capitol attack, CNN analysis shows


Two of those arrested are in the Army, and two are National Guardsmen. Of the 17 veterans, six are former Army, eight are former Marines, two served in the Navy, and one was in the Air Force. Their service records show at least one served in Vietnam; others were deployed in the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. At least one earned a Purple Heart. They were discharged with a variety of ranks and included officers — a captain and a lieutenant colonel.

And on January 6, the active and former military personnel are accused of declaring a war at home — attacking the Constitution they once swore to defend, some even equipped with military gear and weapons.

Analysis of the charges faced by some of the veterans show prosecutors say they led the violence and lawlessness that disrupted the certification of President Joe Biden’s election win.

There are also alleged links between some of the veterans and extremist groups.

Veterans and Proud Boys

CNN tracked down 9 of the accused veterans.

The most well-known of those arrested so far is Joseph Randall Biggs. The 37-year-old is an Army combat veteran. He is also one of the leaders of the far-right Proud Boys group that is known for violent clashes with anti-fascists or Antifa during protests from Portland, Oregon, to Washington, DC.  

Biggs became an online personality of the far-right, spouting bombastic and sometimes violent rhetoric toward women and Antifa. 

As far back as 2012, there were a plethora of tweets mentioning sexual violence on his @RamboBiggs account, which has been archived by the Media Matters For America group.

One said: “Every Kiss begins with … Roofies.” — a reference to Rohypnol, the “date rape drug.”

Biggs tweeted a rallying cry of “DEATH TO ANTIFA” and called on others to get guns and ammunition to take to a rally in Portland. His account was suspended by Twitter in 2019 for repeatedly violating the terms of service.

One of his self-titled online shows was still being featured on a right-wing subscription website a week after his arrest. It began with computer-generated explosions, and a tank firing out the letters B-I-G-G-S.  

On January 6, Biggs is accused of going far beyond rhetoric.  

The FBI used this image of Biggs in its affidavit, saying he entered the Capitol within 20 seconds of a door being opened.

In video CNN has reviewed from January 6, Biggs is seen commanding his Proud Boy troops and guiding them to the Capitol steps.

Federal prosecutors say he ”did aid, abet, counsel, command, induce, or procure others to unlawfully enter the U.S. Capitol by means of destruction of federal property.”

He is charged with unlawful entry, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and obstructing an official proceeding of Congress.

In the criminal complaint, federal agents say Biggs was among the first to enter the Capitol during the mob attack.

One of Biggs’ Proud Boys, Dominic Pezzola, who has been charged with several crimes including conspiracy, is shown on video smashing a window of the Capitol with a plastic shield, which several people climb through before a door was opened.

Pezzola’s lawyer said he was “denied contact” with his jailed client, which, he said, undercut his ability to mount a “meaningful legal defense.”

“Hey Biggs, what do you gotta say,” a voice off camera says in a video reviewed by the FBI. “This is awesome.” Biggs replies on camera before walking into the Capitol building within 20 seconds of the door opening, the FBI agent alleged in court documents.

CNN visited Biggs’ home in Ormond Beach, Florida, just north of the Daytona International Speedway, to hear what he had to say now that he is out on bail and on house arrest.

He peeked through a curtain on his door when we identified ourselves, but stayed mostly hidden.  

When asked if he was an insurrectionist, Biggs replied, “Oh God no.”

But as we pressed for why he was inside the Capitol building, he threatened to call police.

“If you don’t get the f**k out of here, I’m calling the police right now,” he said, pushing his phone around the curtain to take video.

Proud Boy and would-be politician

A four-hour drive south from Biggs is the Miami home of Gabriel Garcia, a former Army captain, now a Proud Boy extremist who is also accused of involvement in the insurrection.

Last year he ran for the Florida House of Representatives as a Republican, though he told CNN affiliate WPLG at the time there were questions about the election system. “There’s people starting to doubt this process,” he said then. Garcia lost in the Republican primary.

Now he is charged with “certain acts during civil disorder, aiding and abetting; knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.”

The FBI alleges Garcia shot video inside the Capitol during the riot, using this image as evidence.

According to the federal complaint, Garcia was inside the Capitol when he said on a video: “We just went ahead and stormed the Capitol. It’s about to get ugly.”

The affidavit says he called police who were trying to stop the siege “f**king traitors.”

But when we tried to get comment from him, he had no problem calling the Miami-Dade police.

He is free on $100,000 bail, WPLG reported. His lawyer told the station, “He didn’t commit any violent acts up there and didn’t intend to.”

‘Revolution’ call allegedly from dog rescuer

In the Texas city of Longview, between Dallas and the Louisiana border, Ryan Nichols lives in a gated community with large homes and big lawns.

A neighbor called police to try to stop us from approaching Nichols’ house. Down the street at Nichols’ wholesale business, a man refused to say if he was inside and threatened to call 911.

Nichols, 30, says in an ad that he has made “millions of dollars here on the e-commerce platforms” and claims he can help others do the same. 

A former Marine, Nichols was once featured on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2018 after video of his work rescuing dogs during Hurricane Florence was shared widely over the internet.

On January 6, federal prosecutors say Nichols was at the Capitol with a Texas buddy called Alex Harkrider, who is also a former Marine.

The FBI says Nichols can be seen on video yelling through a bullhorn towards the large crowd, “If you have a weapon, you need to get your weapon!”

The FBI used this image and others from Nichols' Facebook page to establish what Nichols, in the camouflage hat, and Harkrider wore on January 6.

The complaint says another video shows Nichols shouting, “This is the second revolution right here folks! […] This is not a peaceful protest.”

A person who recognized the men told the FBI according to court documents: “I have photo screen shots from their social media pages showing they were there and showing Alex stated they were planning a civil war.”

The complaint says Nichols had a canister of OC/pepper spray and a crowbar with him and sprayed what is believed to be pepper spray toward the Capitol entrance where federal agents were trying to stop the attack.

Federal agents obtained a Snapchat photo they said was “apparently shared by Harkrider.”

“We’re in. 2 people killed already. We need all the patriots of this country to rally the f**k up and fight for our freedom or it’s gone forever. Give us liberty, or give us death,” the caption read.

He and Nichols are charged with conspiracy and unlawful entry with a dangerous weapon, violent entry or disorderly conduct, civil disorder, assaulting a federal officer using a deadly or dangerous weapon, and aiding and abetting, according to a federal complaint.

They both remain in jail.

Purple Heart recipient lives with parents

Three hours south, in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, Army veteran Joshua Lollar is staying with his parents as part of his bond requirements.

The home is part of a planned community with tree-lined streets and large brick homes at the ends of long driveways.

It’s a far cry from Iraq, where Lollar was deployed, and from Washington, DC, on January 6.

A screen capture of Lollar’s Facebook account shows a picture of people wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats entering the Capitol, with a caption saying “busting in.”

The FBI complaint included selfie shots of Joshua Lollar at the Capitol.

The complaint against him said he was livestreaming on Facebook while taking part in the siege. He is also captured on police body camera video admitting to violence against officers, the affidavit says.

“Yeah, I’m good. Just got gassed and fought with cops that I never thought would happen,” Lollar posted on Facebook, the affidavit said.

Lollar’s father came out of his home, holding a small fluffy dog. After greeting CNN in a soft voice, he said, “I can’t tell you anything.”

He did confirm his son was an Iraq war veteran, awarded a Purple Heart.

Lollar told a federal court hearing he lives with his parents, is being treated for PTSD, and has been receiving disability since 2009, according to CNN affiliate KPRC, which attended the hearing. He has been charged with numerous offenses including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, obstructing or impeding law enforcement officer during civil disorder and obstructing federally protected functions.

Lollar was released on bond. The court ordered that guns, body armor and gas masks be secured by Lollar’s father.

“He will have no knowledge of where they are,” Grover Lollar told the judge, according to KPRC.

More veterans accused of conspiracy 

The first people to be charged by federal officials with conspiracy in connection with the insurrection are all veterans. Jessica Watkins, who served in the Army under another name, is also accused of being part of the far-right Oath Keepers.
Army vet who tended bar accused by FBI of conspiring in Capitol insurrection 

The complaint against her says she conspired with former Marine Donovan Crowl and Navy veteran Thomas Caldwell.

CNN has reached out to the arrested veterans mentioned in this story and any lawyers listed on their court documents. Most did not respond. Lollar’s representative said his client had no comment at this time.

CNN is continuing to keep count of the number of military members arrested in connection to the insurrection, as well as police officers and others who have been trained or prepared for combat in the name of the United States.

“What we’ve seen too often is that this kind of ideological militancy is allowed to exist in the military,” said former FBI agent Michael German who spent years undercover in White supremacist and domestic extremist groups and is now a fellow at the Brennan Center For Justice. “And there isn’t enough effort to root it out and to actually paint it as what it is: an anti-democratic movement that’s a threat to our security within our security forces.”

But he added that the threat extended outside the armed forces and law agencies.

“It’s not just the military veterans and the police officers who were involved in the violent and illegal activities, but the fact that these groups that have been engaged in militant violence across the country over the last four years and beyond have support among elected politicians.”

CNN’s Paul P. Murphy, Katelyn Polantz and Nicky Robertson contributed to this story.



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100-year-old UK fundraising hero Tom Moore hospitalized with Covid-19



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Wendy Williams' biopic is as brutally honest as she is


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Powerful nor'easter could bring up to 18 inches of snow to NYC



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Meteorologist u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/allison-chinchar-profile” target=”_blank”>Allison Chincharu003c/a> has the latest. “,”descriptionText”:”The developing nor’easter is expected to bring ‘major to extreme’ impacts to the Northeast including New York City through Tuesday. 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Rob Portman of Ohio tells CNN’s u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/profiles/dana-bash-profile” target=”_blank”>Dana Bashu003c/a> that he believes Trump’s actions ahead of the Capitol attack were “inexcusable,” but that the constitutionality of the impeachment trial is subject to debate.”,”descriptionText”:”Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio tells CNN’s u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/profiles/dana-bash-profile” target=”_blank”>Dana Bashu003c/a> that he believes Trump’s actions ahead of the Capitol attack were “inexcusable,” but that the constitutionality of the impeachment trial is subject to debate.”},{“title”:”This Biden clip is being used against him. Here are the facts”,”duration”:”02:58″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/01/29/fact-check-joe-biden-executive-orders-orig-me.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/01/29/fact-check-joe-biden-executive-orders-orig-me.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210126105306-02-biden-0125-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/01/29/fact-check-joe-biden-executive-orders-orig-me.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans have taken this Biden statement out of context to push back against the President’s executive actions.”,”descriptionText”:”Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans have taken this Biden statement out of context to push back against the President’s executive actions.”},{“title”:”Biden’s top economic adviser responds to GOP letter”,”duration”:”03:14″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/?refresh=1″,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/01/31/brian-deese-biden-economic-relief-covid-19-bash-sotu-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/01/31/brian-deese-biden-economic-relief-covid-19-bash-sotu-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210131093103-brian-deese-sotu-1-31-21-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/01/31/brian-deese-biden-economic-relief-covid-19-bash-sotu-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese tells CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/dana-bash-profile” target=”_blank”>Dana Bashu003c/a> that they are open to ideas about economic relief for the coronavirus pandemic. “,”descriptionText”:”Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese tells CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/dana-bash-profile” target=”_blank”>Dana Bashu003c/a> that they are open to ideas about economic relief for the coronavirus pandemic. “},{“title”:”A culture war is raging in Poland. The battleground: Women’s bodies”,”duration”:”02:12″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2021/01/31/poland-abortion-law-black-pkg-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2021/01/31/poland-abortion-law-black-pkg-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210127232130-01-poland-abortion-protest-210127-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/31/poland-abortion-law-black-pkg-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”The Polish government has imposed a u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/28/europe/poland-abortion-restrictions-law-intl-hnk/index.html” target=”_blank”>near-total ban on abortionsu003c/a>, including the termination of pregnancies with fetal defects, delivering a major blow to pro-choice advocates and sparking protests in one of Europe’s most devout Catholic countries.”,”descriptionText”:”The Polish government has imposed a u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/28/europe/poland-abortion-restrictions-law-intl-hnk/index.html” target=”_blank”>near-total ban on abortionsu003c/a>, including the termination of pregnancies with fetal defects, delivering a major blow to pro-choice advocates and sparking protests in one of Europe’s most devout Catholic countries.”},{“title”:”Russian protester on why he is demonstrating amid security crackdown”,”duration”:”02:10″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2021/01/31/russian-security-forces-crack-down-opposition-protests-pleitgen-pkg-newsroom-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2021/01/31/russian-security-forces-crack-down-opposition-protests-pleitgen-pkg-newsroom-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210131150745-russian-protestor-vpx-screengrab-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/31/russian-security-forces-crack-down-opposition-protests-pleitgen-pkg-newsroom-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/profiles/frederik-pleitgen” target=”_blank”>CNN’s Fred Pleitgenu003c/a> reports that thousands of opposition protesters calling for the release of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny have been detained amid a crackdown by Russian security forces.”,”descriptionText”:”u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/profiles/frederik-pleitgen” target=”_blank”>CNN’s Fred Pleitgenu003c/a> reports that thousands of opposition protesters calling for the release of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny have been detained amid a crackdown by Russian security forces.”},{“title”:”Protesters storm Marseille training ground”,”duration”:”01:10″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/?refresh=1″,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/sports/2021/01/31/marseille-protest-training-ground-fire-riddell-vpx-worldsport.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”sports/2021/01/31/marseille-protest-training-ground-fire-riddell-vpx-worldsport.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210131122412-marseille-training-ground-protest-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/sports/2021/01/31/marseille-protest-training-ground-fire-riddell-vpx-worldsport.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”Supporters of the Marseille football club in France marched onto the team’s training ground in protest. A fire broke out and forced the club to postpone a match. CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/don-riddell” target=”_blank”>Don Riddellu003c/a> has more. “,”descriptionText”:”Supporters of the Marseille football club in France marched onto the team’s training ground in protest. A fire broke out and forced the club to postpone a match. CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/don-riddell” target=”_blank”>Don Riddellu003c/a> has more. “},{“title”:”Former Arizona Republican: We’ve got a bankrupt party”,”duration”:”02:58″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/01/25/arizona-republican-party-lah-pkg-vpx-lead.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/01/25/arizona-republican-party-lah-pkg-vpx-lead.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210130150427-phoenix-arizona-skyline-file-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/01/25/arizona-republican-party-lah-pkg-vpx-lead.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”CNN’s Kyung Lah takes a look at how President Donald Trump changed the Republican Party in Arizona.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s Kyung Lah takes a look at how President Donald Trump changed the Republican Party in Arizona.”},{“title”:”Legal analyst: This may be why Trump’s lawyers left”,”duration”:”02:16″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/01/31/trump-lawyers-leave-ahead-of-impeachment-trial-honig-ndwknd-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/01/31/trump-lawyers-leave-ahead-of-impeachment-trial-honig-ndwknd-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201102113042-101b-donald-trump-serious-centered-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/01/31/trump-lawyers-leave-ahead-of-impeachment-trial-honig-ndwknd-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”Former President Donald Trump’s five impeachment defense attorneys have left a little more than a week before his trial is set to begin amid a disagreement over his legal strategy. CNN’s Elie Honig breaks down what this means for Trump’s case.”,”descriptionText”:”Former President Donald Trump’s five impeachment defense attorneys have left a little more than a week before his trial is set to begin amid a disagreement over his legal strategy. CNN’s Elie Honig breaks down what this means for Trump’s case.”},{“title”:”Mayor who called QAnon a ‘truth movement’ under scrutiny by residents”,”duration”:”04:12″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/us/2021/01/30/mayor-sequim-washington-qanon-ac360-lah-pkg-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”us/2021/01/30/mayor-sequim-washington-qanon-ac360-lah-pkg-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210129204011-mayor-william-armacost-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/us/2021/01/30/mayor-sequim-washington-qanon-ac360-lah-pkg-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/kyung-lah-profile” target=”_blank”>Kyung Lahu003c/a> visits the town of Sequim, Washington, where Mayor William Armacost is under scrutiny by residents for his stance on QAnon.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/kyung-lah-profile” target=”_blank”>Kyung Lahu003c/a> visits the town of Sequim, Washington, where Mayor William Armacost is under scrutiny by residents for his stance on QAnon.”},{“title”:”Bodycam footage shows rioters attacking police during insurrection”,”duration”:”01:29″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/01/29/body-cam-footage-shows-attack-on-police-capitol-riots-prokupecz-lead-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/01/29/body-cam-footage-shows-attack-on-police-capitol-riots-prokupecz-lead-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210129170336-body-cam-footage-attack-on-police-lead-vpx-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/01/29/body-cam-footage-shows-attack-on-police-capitol-riots-prokupecz-lead-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”Disturbing police body camera video, played by prosecutors in a federal court hearing, shows a brutal attack on police during the Capitol riot. CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz reports.”,”descriptionText”:”Disturbing police body camera video, played by prosecutors in a federal court hearing, shows a brutal attack on police during the Capitol riot. CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz reports.”},{“title”:”‘I’m out’: Longtime GOP donor explains why he’s leaving the party”,”duration”:”01:40″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/01/30/jacob-monty-longtime-republican-leaving-party-sot-ebof-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/01/30/jacob-monty-longtime-republican-leaving-party-sot-ebof-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210129203147-jacob-monty-ebof-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/01/30/jacob-monty-longtime-republican-leaving-party-sot-ebof-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”Lifelong Republican and donor Jacob Monty tells CNN’s Erin Burnett why he is leaving the party and joining the Democratic party. “,”descriptionText”:”Lifelong Republican and donor Jacob Monty tells CNN’s Erin Burnett why he is leaving the party and joining the Democratic party. “},{“title”:”FBI: Pipe bombs found near Capitol on January 6 were placed the night before”,”duration”:”01:36″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/01/29/schneider-dc-capitol-pipe-bombs-suspect-surveillance-nr-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/01/29/schneider-dc-capitol-pipe-bombs-suspect-surveillance-nr-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210127194954-suspected-pipe-bombs-washington-fbi-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/01/29/schneider-dc-capitol-pipe-bombs-suspect-surveillance-nr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”CNN’s Jessica Schneider reports on the u003ca href=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2021/01/29/pipe-bomb-suspect-video/” target=”_blank”>surveillance video obtained by the Washington Postu003c/a> that the FBI is examining to try and find out who planted pipe bombs near the Capitol the night before the January 6 insurrection.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s Jessica Schneider reports on the u003ca href=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2021/01/29/pipe-bomb-suspect-video/” target=”_blank”>surveillance video obtained by the Washington Postu003c/a> that the FBI is examining to try and find out who planted pipe bombs near the Capitol the night before the January 6 insurrection.”},{“title”:”Journey to get Covid-19 vaccine a long one in rural America”,”duration”:”03:19″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/health/2021/01/29/rural-covid-19-vaccine-distribution-jimenez-dnt-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”health/2021/01/29/rural-covid-19-vaccine-distribution-jimenez-dnt-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210129150107-omar-jimenez-bimenji-vaccine-distribution-02-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/health/2021/01/29/rural-covid-19-vaccine-distribution-jimenez-dnt-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”CNN’s Omar Jimenez follows a convoy of Covid-19 vaccines on their long journey to get from the distribution point to towns in rural America.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s Omar Jimenez follows a convoy of Covid-19 vaccines on their long journey to get from the distribution point to towns in rural America.”},{“title”:”Some arrested in US Capitol riot use ‘blame Trump’ defense”,”duration”:”02:32″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/us/2021/01/29/blame-trump-defense-us-capitol-riot-paul-callan-sot-nr-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”us/2021/01/29/blame-trump-defense-us-capitol-riot-paul-callan-sot-nr-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210128205257-trump-oval-office-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/us/2021/01/29/blame-trump-defense-us-capitol-riot-paul-callan-sot-nr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”CNN legal analyst Paul Callan says that he expects more people arrested for participating in the deadly riot at the US Capitol to employ a “blame Trump” defense to limit bail or jail time, but he believes that it likely won’t work.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN legal analyst Paul Callan says that he expects more people arrested for participating in the deadly riot at the US Capitol to employ a “blame Trump” defense to limit bail or jail time, but he believes that it likely won’t work.”},{“title”:”Trump and allies target Liz Cheney after impeachment vote”,”duration”:”03:14″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/01/29/liz-cheney-backlash-trump-gaetz-wyoming-kafanov-pkg-ctn-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/01/29/liz-cheney-backlash-trump-gaetz-wyoming-kafanov-pkg-ctn-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210115113904-file-liz-cheney-2020-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/01/29/liz-cheney-backlash-trump-gaetz-wyoming-kafanov-pkg-ctn-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida railed against GOP Rep. Liz Cheney at the Wyoming state capitol, stirring hundreds of Trump supporters and counter protesters after she voted to impeach the former President.”,”descriptionText”:”Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida railed against GOP Rep. Liz Cheney at the Wyoming state capitol, stirring hundreds of Trump supporters and counter protesters after she voted to impeach the former President.”}],currentVideoCollectionId = ”,isLivePlayer = false,mediaMetadataCallbacks,mobilePinnedView = null,moveToNextTimeout,mutePlayerEnabled = false,nextVideoId = ”,nextVideoUrl = ”,turnOnFlashMessaging = false,videoPinner,videoEndSlateImpl;if (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === false) {autoStartVideo = false;if (autoStartVideo === true) {if (turnOnFlashMessaging === true) {autoStartVideo = false;containerEl = jQuery(document.getElementById(configObj.markupId));CNN.VideoPlayer.showFlashSlate(containerEl);} else {CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = true;}}}configObj.autostart = CNN.Features.enableAutoplayBlock ? false : autoStartVideo;CNN.VideoPlayer.setPlayerProperties(configObj.markupId, autoStartVideo, isLivePlayer, isVideoReplayClicked, mutePlayerEnabled);CNN.VideoPlayer.setFirstVideoInCollection(currentVideoCollection, configObj.markupId);var videoHandler = {},isFeaturedVideoCollectionHandlerAvailable = (CNN !== undefined &&CNN.VIDEOCLIENT !== undefined &&CNN.VIDEOCLIENT.FeaturedVideoCollectionHandler !== undefined);if (!isFeaturedVideoCollectionHandlerAvailable) {CNN.INJECTOR.executeFeature(‘videx’).done(function () {jQuery.ajax({dataType: ‘script’,cache: true,url: ‘//www.i.cdn.cnn.com/.a/2.253.0/js/featured-video-collection-player.min.js’}).done(function () {initializeVideoAndCollection();}).fail(function () {throw ‘Unable to fetch /js/featured-video-collection-player.min.js’;});}).fail(function () {throw ‘Unable to fetch the videx bundle’;});}function initializeVideoAndCollection() {videoHandler = new CNN.VIDEOCLIENT.FeaturedVideoCollectionHandler(configObj.markupId,”cn-featured-16sn4at”,’js-video_description-featured-16sn4at’,[{“title”:”Nor’easter could bring blizzard conditions to the Northeast”,”duration”:”01:57″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/weather/2021/01/31/weather-noreaster-new-york-city-northeast-winter-storm-blizzard.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”weather/2021/01/31/weather-noreaster-new-york-city-northeast-winter-storm-blizzard.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210131001021-winter-storm-impacts-01312021-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/weather/2021/01/31/weather-noreaster-new-york-city-northeast-winter-storm-blizzard.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”The developing nor’easter is expected to bring ‘major to extreme’ impacts to the Northeast including New York City through Tuesday. 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Meteorologist u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/allison-chinchar-profile” target=”_blank”>Allison Chincharu003c/a> has the latest. “},{“title”:”GOP senator: Trump’s inexcusable behavior may not be subject to conviction”,”duration”:”03:16″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/01/31/portman-trump-impeachment-trial-constitutionality-sot-bash-sotu-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/01/31/portman-trump-impeachment-trial-constitutionality-sot-bash-sotu-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210131095352-sen-rob-portman-sotu-vpx-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/01/31/portman-trump-impeachment-trial-constitutionality-sot-bash-sotu-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/top-news-videos/”,”description”:”Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio tells CNN’s u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/profiles/dana-bash-profile” target=”_blank”>Dana Bashu003c/a> that he believes Trump’s actions ahead of the Capitol attack were “inexcusable,” but that the constitutionality of the impeachment trial is subject to debate.”,”descriptionText”:”Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio tells CNN’s u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/profiles/dana-bash-profile” target=”_blank”>Dana Bashu003c/a> that he believes Trump’s actions ahead of the Capitol attack were “inexcusable,” but that the constitutionality of the impeachment trial is subject to debate.”},{“title”:”This Biden clip is being used against him. 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Matt Gaetz of Florida railed against GOP Rep. Liz Cheney at the Wyoming state capitol, stirring hundreds of Trump supporters and counter protesters after she voted to impeach the former President.”,”descriptionText”:”Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida railed against GOP Rep. Liz Cheney at the Wyoming state capitol, stirring hundreds of Trump supporters and counter protesters after she voted to impeach the former President.”}],’js-video_headline-featured-16sn4at’,”,”js-video_source-featured-16sn4at”,true,true,’top-news-videos’);if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length



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Russian protester shares why he's demonstrating amid security crackdown



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Assailants later filmed Pearl’s beheading and sent it to United States officials. 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CNN’s Paula Newton reports.”,”imageUrl”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210128150823-rodney-ekaterina-baker-split-for-video-large-169.jpg”,”title”:”Millionaire couple accused of posing as workers to get vaccine”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2021/01/28/canada-covid-19-vaccine-couple-arrested-newton-dnt-pkg-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoLeafUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/28/canada-covid-19-vaccine-couple-arrested-newton-dnt-pkg-vpx.cnn”,”videoId”:”world/2021/01/28/canada-covid-19-vaccine-couple-arrested-newton-dnt-pkg-vpx.cnn”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/28/canada-covid-19-vaccine-couple-arrested-newton-dnt-pkg-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/”,”surrogateKey”:”video_3CB09698-3352-E85F-0C66-4A7D9F8B8C95″},{“descriptionPlainText”:”In ultra-Orthodox areas across Israel, police have clashed with members of the community angry at the government’s attempts to impose nationwide lockdown rules on local schools and synagogues. Many Israelis are bitter over what they see as tolerance of lockdown violations by significant parts of the ultra-Orthodox community, a potent force in an election year. CNN’s Sam Kiley reports.”,”imageUrl”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210128154208-ultra-orthodox-community-israel-sam-kiley-pkg-2-large-169.jpg”,”title”:”Police clash with ultra-Orthodox Israelis resisting Covid-19 rules “,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2021/01/28/israel-coronavirus-ultra-orthodox-community-anger-kiley-ctw-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoLeafUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/28/israel-coronavirus-ultra-orthodox-community-anger-kiley-ctw-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn”,”videoId”:”world/2021/01/28/israel-coronavirus-ultra-orthodox-community-anger-kiley-ctw-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/28/israel-coronavirus-ultra-orthodox-community-anger-kiley-ctw-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/”,”surrogateKey”:”video_003816A7-C3AE-9F7E-C564-49F4355D751B”},{“descriptionPlainText”:”Poland imposed a controversial near-total ban on abortions. See protesters react to the new law.”,”imageUrl”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210127232229-03-poland-abortion-protest-210127-large-169.jpg”,”title”:”Some in Poland may leave the country because of this law”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2021/01/28/poland-abortion-ruling-protests-lon-orig-na.cnn/index.xml”,”videoLeafUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/28/poland-abortion-ruling-protests-lon-orig-na.cnn”,”videoId”:”world/2021/01/28/poland-abortion-ruling-protests-lon-orig-na.cnn”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/28/poland-abortion-ruling-protests-lon-orig-na.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/”,”surrogateKey”:”video_F482021C-F74C-16FF-9728-4A6BE33DB3D7″},{“descriptionPlainText”:”Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano on Java island erupted on January 28 spewing ash and smoke, and prompting authorities to warn of the risk of lava flows reaching roads, officials said.”,”imageUrl”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210128161107-indonesia-volcano-mount-merapi-ctw-large-169.jpg”,”title”:”Hundreds flee as Indonesian volcano spews ash and smoke”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2021/01/28/indonesia-mount-merapi-smoke-ash-ctw-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoLeafUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/28/indonesia-mount-merapi-smoke-ash-ctw-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn”,”videoId”:”world/2021/01/28/indonesia-mount-merapi-smoke-ash-ctw-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/28/indonesia-mount-merapi-smoke-ash-ctw-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/”,”surrogateKey”:”video_C177A3EF-CB72-7815-45C8-49B9820D64BB”},{“descriptionPlainText”:”CNN’s Matt Rivers reports on a coronavirus variant that originated in Brazil and has caused two-thirds of their recent infections. The variant has now been identified in the US for the first time.”,”imageUrl”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210127204057-brazil-coronavirus-large-169.jpg”,”title”:”Coronavirus variant first spotted in Brazil found in US”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/health/2021/01/28/brazil-coronavirus-variant-outbreak-rivers-dnt-ebof-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoLeafUrl”:”/videos/health/2021/01/28/brazil-coronavirus-variant-outbreak-rivers-dnt-ebof-vpx.cnn”,”videoId”:”health/2021/01/28/brazil-coronavirus-variant-outbreak-rivers-dnt-ebof-vpx.cnn”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/health/2021/01/28/brazil-coronavirus-variant-outbreak-rivers-dnt-ebof-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/”,”surrogateKey”:”video_BD3ACBCD-24A9-55D0-22C2-468DF06E40D4″},{“descriptionPlainText”:”UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under fire over what critics call a pattern of late decision making and then reversing policy unexpectedly as the country has exceeded 100,000 Covid-19 deaths. CNN’s Nic Robertson reports.”,”imageUrl”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210128163758-screengrab-boris-johnson-covid-19-presser-large-169.jpg”,”title”:”Boris Johnson’s credibility under fire as UK hits 100,000 Covid-19 deaths”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2021/01/28/uk-boris-johnson-coronavirus-covid-19-u-turns-robertson-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoLeafUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/28/uk-boris-johnson-coronavirus-covid-19-u-turns-robertson-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn”,”videoId”:”world/2021/01/28/uk-boris-johnson-coronavirus-covid-19-u-turns-robertson-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/28/uk-boris-johnson-coronavirus-covid-19-u-turns-robertson-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/”,”surrogateKey”:”video_3BD8E603-242E-2DC4-197E-48156727BF24″},{“descriptionPlainText”:”CNN’s Matthew Chance speaks exclusively with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, who — after falling out with Russian President Vladimir Putin himself — spent more than 10 years in a Russian jail. He says the US should impose tough sanctions on Putin to save Alexey Navalny from a similar fate.”,”imageUrl”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210127183550-chance-pkg-large-169.jpg”,”title”:”Ex-Russian oil tycoon: This is the price for opposing Putin”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2021/01/27/russia-opposition-mikhail-khodorkovsky-chance-pkg-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoLeafUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/27/russia-opposition-mikhail-khodorkovsky-chance-pkg-vpx.cnn”,”videoId”:”world/2021/01/27/russia-opposition-mikhail-khodorkovsky-chance-pkg-vpx.cnn”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/27/russia-opposition-mikhail-khodorkovsky-chance-pkg-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/”,”surrogateKey”:”video_EC0B6A85-32CF-7418-E4ED-4620183C63B2″},{“descriptionPlainText”:”One of the biggest international challenges facing President Biden is a relationship with China, which had grown increasingly hostile under the Trump administration. Now, the Biden administration faces power struggles in Asia as China grows more dominant. CNN’s Ivan Watson reports.”,”imageUrl”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210128124524-biden-asia-challenge-military-power-struggle-china-watson-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx-00031503-large-169.png”,”title”:”With a more assertive China, Biden faces growing tensions in Asia “,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2021/01/28/biden-asia-challenge-military-power-struggle-china-watson-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoLeafUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/28/biden-asia-challenge-military-power-struggle-china-watson-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn”,”videoId”:”world/2021/01/28/biden-asia-challenge-military-power-struggle-china-watson-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/28/biden-asia-challenge-military-power-struggle-china-watson-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/”,”surrogateKey”:”video_2CF3F5DF-1225-264F-DD45-471CCE9E23A5″},{“descriptionPlainText”:”Born in Berlin in 1930, Irene Butter endured the horrors of the Holocaust as a Jewish child coming of age in Nazi-occupied Europe. As the world pauses to remember the genocide that killed millions of Jews, Butter tells CNN’s Clarissa Ward that we must stay vigilant to preserve democratic institutions amid emerging ‘echoes’ of the Holocaust.”,”imageUrl”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210127114658-holocaust-survivor-irene-butter-intv-ward-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx-00001621-large-169.png”,”title”:”Survivor sounds alarm over ‘echoes of the Holocaust’ “,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2021/01/27/holocaust-survivor-irene-butter-intv-ward-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoLeafUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/27/holocaust-survivor-irene-butter-intv-ward-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn”,”videoId”:”world/2021/01/27/holocaust-survivor-irene-butter-intv-ward-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/01/27/holocaust-survivor-irene-butter-intv-ward-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/”,”surrogateKey”:”video_583F386A-AA69-79C1-527D-41A07B1D0336″},{“descriptionPlainText”:”In the Trump era, we witnessed rounds of intensive clashes between US and China in the field of technology. The Biden administration may take a more nuanced approach than Trump to diplomacy, but the tech rivalry will likely continue. CNN’s Selina Wang reports.”,”imageUrl”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210126110953-biden-us-china-tech-war-wang-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx-00010025-large-169.png”,”title”:”US-China tech rivalry will likely continue under Biden presidency. 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Now Playing

‘);if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone) {$owlFirstItem.find(‘.media__icon’).hide();}}CNN.Videx.Metadata.init({dateCreated: videocardContents.dateCreated,descriptionText: videocardContents.descriptionText,duration: videocardContents.duration,sourceLink: videocardContents.sourceLink,sourceName: videocardContents.sourceName,title: videocardContents.headlineText},{videoCollectionDivId: ‘cn-292ia8j’,videoDescriptionDivId: ‘js-video_description-292ia8j’,videoDurationDivId: ‘js-video_duration-292ia8j’,videoTitleDivId: ‘js-leaf-video_headline-292ia8j’,videoSourceDivId: ‘js-video_sourceName-292ia8j’});if (CNN.Utils.exists(videocardContents.showName)) {if (CNN.Utils.exists(videocardContents.showUrl)) {showDetailsSpanContent = ‘‘ + videocardContents.showName + ‘ | ‘;} else {showDetailsSpanContent = videocardContents.showName + ‘ | ‘;}}fastdom.measure(function getShowInfo() {var $show = jQuery(‘.metadata__show’),$isShowDetailsSpanExists = $show.find(‘span’).hasClass(‘metadata–show__name’),$showName = jQuery(‘.metadata–show__name’);fastdom.mutate(function updateShowInfo() {if (!$isShowDetailsSpanExists) {$show.prepend(‘



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‘);$vidEndSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–active’);}};CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;var configObj = {thumb: ‘none’,video: ‘tv/2021/01/31/exp-gps-0131-kerry-climate-change-biden-administration.cnn’,width: ‘100%’,height: ‘100%’,section: ‘domestic’,profile: ‘expansion’,network: ‘cnn’,markupId: ‘large-media_0’,adsection: ‘const-article-pagetop’,frameWidth: ‘100%’,frameHeight: ‘100%’,posterImageOverride: 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How lawmakers made it nearly impossible to legalize abortion in Honduras


Honduras was already one of few countries worldwide with a complete ban on abortion, meaning the operation can’t be performed even in cases of rape or incest, when the fetus is gravely deformed, and if the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life. The use, sale, distribution and purchase of emergency contraception is also prohibited.

The new reform, known as “Shield Against Abortion in Honduras” and promoted by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s ruling National Party, also now creates a legal “shield” against future changes to the ban.

'You can't just remove the damage of the last four years'

The changes raise the Congressional voting threshold to modify abortion law from two-thirds majority to three-quarters. Since Honduras’s unicameral Congress has 128 deputies, the new rules would require at least 96 to vote for future changes to these articles — an unlikely scenario at the moment, since 86 voted for the amendments.

The reform also blocks any future attempts to repeal or modify the change. “Legal provisions created after the effective date of this Article that establish otherwise, will be null and void,” states the ruling from the Congressional commission appointed to the matter.

“As a woman and a mother, I am in favor of life and against abortion, I want to speak on behalf of those who are in the mother’s womb and cannot be opposed,” said Gloria Bonilla, a Deputy for the Liberal Party who voted for the change.

Women’s rights advocates have fiercely condemned the change. Merly Eguigure, an activist with the Honduran rights organization Movimiento de Mujeres por La Paz “Visitación Padilla” told CNN it would only reinforce dangerous conditions for Honduran women.

“The shield law will continue to condemn poor women to practice abortion in unsafe conditions, which could lead to death on the one hand or to prison on the other,” Eguigure said.

According to September 2020 report by the World Health Organization, unsafe abortions account for between 4.7% and 13.2% of maternal deaths globally, each year. The report also notes that “restrictive laws are not effective in reducing the rate of abortion.”

An epidemic of sexual violence

While it is hard to know how many women and underaged girls have clandestine abortions in Honduras, the Honduran NGO Women’s Rights Center estimates that between 50,000 and 80,000 such abortions occur in the country each year.
Argentina's Senate approves historic bill to legalize abortion
The country has one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world — often a significant factor in unwanted pregnancies. Nearly one in three Honduran women over the age of 15 has experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner, data from the United Nations’ 2020 Human Development Reports shows.

In 2018, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) carried out a health campaign aimed at providing medical and mental health care to survivors of sexual violence in Mexico and Honduras. In the Honduran capital city of Tegucigalpa, 90% of all pregnancy cases attended by the MSF mission were due to sexual assault.

Nineteen percent of those cases were teenage mothers under 18 years old. “We know that a teenage pregnancy has a major risk of complications, putting both mother and baby at risk,” said Tania Marin, MSF Regional Medical Coordinator for Mexico and Honduras.
The adolescent birth rate in Honduras is higher than the region’s average and more than twice the global average, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The minimum age for legal sexual consent in Honduras is 14. But in 2017 alone, 820 girls aged between 10 to 14 gave birth in Honduras, according to data from the health secretary cited by HRW.

Political pressures in a major election year

Nevertheless, for over 30 years the Honduran government has clung to a system that penalizes women with up to six years of prison for obtaining an abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.

In February 1997, Honduras’s penal code was modified to establish a penalty from three to six years in prison for women who obtain an abortion and for the medical staff who are involved in the process. In April 2009, the country’s Congress passed a bill banning emergency contraception — a move upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012.

Pressure from Honduran religious groups is widely seen as the dominant political force in maintaining such strict laws on abortion.

“It’s impossible to understand how abortion is viewed in Honduras without considering the outsized role religion plays,” write researchers Amy Braunschweiger and Margaret Wurth in a June 2019 report for Human Rights Watch. “Conservative Christian churches, both Catholic and evangelical Protestant, are extremely influential and the vast majority of Hondurans belong to one or the other.”
And experts from a United Nations working group that visited Honduras in November 2018 reported that “both Catholic and evangelical churches have significant influence over political decision-making bodies and public opinion, including in the discussion of the decriminalization of abortion in three circumstances and lifting the prohibition on emergency contraception.”

Eguigure, the women’s rights activist, put it more bluntly. “The country is coopted by religious fanatics.”

2021 is a major election year in Honduras, with both the presidency and all 128 seats of Congress up for grabs. Though abortion is not a historically decisive voting issue for Hondurans, the topic may have been particularly sensitive amid the recent wave of pro-choice rulings in the region.

“Abortion is murder, it is taking the life of those who want to be born,” Pastor Oswaldo Canales, President of the Evangelical Confraternity of Honduras told members of Congress during a January 19 discussion session on abortion with other religious leaders, including a priest from the Catholic Church.
Honduras is one of six countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Suriname to prohibit abortion altogether, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute.

But Neesa Medina, a member of feminist collective Somos Muchas, told CNN she believes its extreme anti-abortion stance cannot endure forever. The shield law reveals a real fear of Latin America’s growing pro-choice movement, she believes.

“They don’t realize that it’s impossible to stop the future,” said Medina.

Reporting contributed by CNN en Español’s Elvin Sandoval and CNN’s Jack Guy.



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