There have recently been rumors that a congressional committee is looking into a cellphone reportedly used by then-Vice President Joe Biden that was paid for by his son Hunter Biden, potentially in order to facilitate dubious foreign business deals for the family.

Peter Schweizer, a prominent conservative government watchdog, claimed in a recent interview that the records for that phone had been subpoenaed by the Republican-led House Oversight Committee, according to the Conservative Brief.

However, subsequent reporting indicated that, at least at that time, the committee had not issued a subpoena for that alleged cellphone used by the father and paid for by the son.

Schweizer claims subpoena issued for secret cellphone

It was on May 16 that Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute and famed investigator of political corruption, joined WABC's "Cats & Cosby" radio program with co-hosts John Catsimatidis and Rita Cosby to discuss the alleged cellphone that was discovered on Hunter Biden's laptop and used by Joe Biden between 2009-2017.

"We obtained that phone number and we’ve shared it with individuals and the Oversight Committee in Congress is going to subpoena those phone records," Schweizer said. "And what’s important here is that’s not a government phone, this is not Joe Biden’s private phone that he’s paying for himself. It’s actually ... Hunter Biden’s business that paid for it."

He continued, "I think it’s going to yield a lot of interesting information as to who Joe Biden was talking to on this phone that was being paid for by his son," such as some of Hunter's business partners and associates.

Committee denied issuing subpoena

Asked who would subpoena the phone records and if they had been subpoenaed already, Schweizer went on to reiterate that it was the House Oversight Committee and "my understanding is they have subpoenaed those records."

However, just three days after Schweizer made that assertion about the cellphone records being subpoenaed, a staffer for the committee contradicted that claim.

Just the News reported that, at least as of May 19, a Republican staffer said the claim was "untrue" and the committee had not issued a subpoena for the private cellphone that was allegedly paid for by Hunter Biden but used by Joe Biden during his tenure as vice president.

Alleged retaliation against IRS whistleblowers

As for Schweizer's appearance on "Cats & Cosby," the conversation shifted away from the rumored cellphone to instead discuss the reports that the IRS team investigating Hunter Biden had been suddenly removed from the case after several years in retaliation to a pair of whistleblowers from that team who had spoken out about how the case was being mishandled by their superiors.

"It’s very troubling -- the pattern that we’re seeing here. You have these whistleblower complaints filed by people in the IRS that were looking at Hunter Biden’s failure to pay taxes," Schweizer said. "They issued whistleblower complaint to Congress -- the report is that those individuals had been removed from the case, which is contrary to the Whistleblower Law -- you’re not allowed to remove somebody from their position just because they filed a whistleblower complaint."

"What happened in 2018 was the IRS looked into the fact that Hunter Biden had taken in all this foreign income, we exposed it in Secret Empires in 2018. That sort of launched the grand jury and you had this IRS investigation," he continued. "And they basically concluded that Hunter Biden had taken in millions of dollars from foreign sources, had not paid taxes on it. You have this friend, this lawyer in Los Angeles that paid two million to the IRS to pay some of the back taxes, but the IRS was looking into charges of tax evasion."

"They went to congressional committees and complained that they believe there had been political interference from DOJ. I haven’t seen the details, but this was the claim," Schweizer added. "And now, lo and behold, the IRS says we’re going to remove the team from investigating Hunter Biden, who had been on it now for what, five years, and we’re going to start -- apparently gonna have to start the whole thing over, so what does that mean to the investigation? What does that mean? I think it’s massive, but first of all … I think it’s illegal by the whistleblower statute. You cannot remove somebody from their position, simply because they made a whistleblower complaint."

A popular Brazilian actor, Jefferson Machado, who was reported missing in January, has now been confirmed dead by family and officials.

Machado's body was discovered buried in a trunk in the backyard of a home in the Campo Grande neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, the Western Journal reported.

That home was reportedly rented by a purported friend of Machado, and that unnamed individual is now under investigation by Brazilian authorities as the possible suspect in the actor's murder.

Found buried in a trunk under concrete

Portuguese-language media outlet R7 reported last week that Machado, 44, had been found stuffed inside of a trunk and buried under concrete in the backyard of the Rio home rented by one of the actor's friends.

The body was positively identified via fingerprints and reportedly showed signs of strangulation, including a "line" around his neck.

Family attorney Jairo Magalhaes Pereira told R7, "He had his arms tied behind his head and buried in a trunk that is very similar to the ones in his own house."

"Coldly and brutally murdered"

The murder of Machado was also announced and confirmed in an Instagram post to the actor's account, which has been managed since he went missing by a family friend named Cintia Hilsendeger.

"It is with great regret that we inform you that Jeff was found dead on 05/22/2023," the post stated. "Jefferson was coldly and brutally murdered by envious, evil and, of course, unscrupulous people."

The post went on to thank the police and everybody who had helped search for Machado and vowed to provide more information when it became available.

Mother and family were suspicious of foul play

The report from R7 noted that suspicions were raised among Machado's family and friends when he first went missing after it was learned that the eight dogs owned by Machado, who was "passionate" about rescuing and caring for animals, had been left alone in a state of "abandonment," which was not typical behavior for the actor.

The New York Post reported that Machado's mother, Maria das Dores, was also highly suspicious of text messages she received from her son's number after he went missing that, in her view, didn't sound like him and contained too many spelling errors.

She also believed that someone was impersonating her son with his phone due to the fact that wouldn't make or receive any calls -- an excuse that the cellphone had been dropped in a toilet was used -- and that the phone's location tracking was disabled and Machado's cloud password had been changed.

Attorney committed to "seek tirelessly for truth and justice"

Attorney Magalhaes also issued a translated statement on Facebook that read, in part: "As Jeff's family attorney, I am on a mission to keep a close eye on investigations. Preliminary information indicates that the actor's body was found in a trunk, buried in a hole of considerable depth. This situation deeply saddens us and indignant in the face of the suffering faced by Jeff."

"My commitment as a lawyer is to seek tirelessly for truth and justice. It is my responsibility to ensure that everyone involved in this brutal crime is held accountable and punished, and that Jeff’s family finds the support they need to get through this very painful time," he added.

The Hill reports that the debt ceiling deal reached between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) includes a provision that will cut short the Biden administration's pause on federal student loan payments. 

McCarthy released the full text of the deal - which has been titled, the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 - on Sunday.


Biden, in the leadup to the 2022 midterm elections, put forth a plan to cancel up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower, or up to $20,000 if the borrower is a Pell Grant recipient.

Biden sought to implement this plan through executive action alone, which opened the plan up to a legal challenge. This legal challenge, thus far, has halted Biden's plan. And, now, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering its legality.

In the meantime, Biden has placed a pause on student loan repayments. Now, it appears that this pause will end early.

The deal

McCarthy, during a Fox News Channel appearance on Sunday, said that "the pause is gone within 60 days of this being signed."

If true, this means that Biden's student loan pause will end roughly a month earlier than it was scheduled to do so. And, according to McCarthy, the deal is such that the pause will end regardless of what the Supreme Court decides.

McCarthy referred to this as "another victory," saying that it will bring in $5 billion each month.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, in a statement of his own, attempted to soften the reality of this situation, writing:

Despite Republicans’ efforts to end targeted student debt relief and move up our planned end to the payment pause, we will ensure a smooth return to repayment process. The deal also protects our ability to pause student loan payments should that be necessary in future emergencies.

Other details

The deal reached between Biden and McCarthy suspends the debt ceiling for a two-year period, averting default and the negative economic consequences that default would entail - should the deal be approved by both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

In exchange for the two-year debt ceiling suspension, several agreements were reached regarding spending.

According to the Washington Examinerfor example, non-defense and non-veteran discretionary spending growth will be effectively kept down until 2024 before increasing by roughly 1% in 2025."

The deal also adds stricter work requirements to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), cuts back on the Biden administration's expansion of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and rescinds unspent COVID-19 funds, among other things.

The House is expected to vote on the deal on Wednesday.

On Friday, President Joe Biden welcomed to the White House the men's and women's NCAA basketball championship teams of the University of Connecticut Huskies and the Louisiana State University Tigers, respectively.

The White House live feed of the event honoring the LSU women's team was briefly interrupted following a scary moment in which one of the players fainted and collapsed on stage while Biden was speaking, the Daily Caller reported.

It was revealed just a short time later that the player, identified as Sa'Myah Smith, was fine, and Biden, who initially appeared visibly concerned, remarked that it was not uncommon for some people to faint while standing for long periods of time during White House events.

Player falls out during Biden's speech

The event began with remarks from first lady Jill Biden -- who sparked controversy after initially appearing to invite both LSU and the runner-up the University of Iowa Hawkeyes to the White House -- followed by a brief speech from Vice President Kamala Harris before President Biden finally began to speak with the LSU team members, coaches, and other personnel standing closely together on the stage.

At one point during the president's remarks, as he was referencing a similar event scheduled for later with the champion UConn Huskies men's team, the player suddenly fainted and collapsed and caused a moment of chaos and confusion as players and staff scrambled to move out of the way in order to clear space for medical personnel and Coach Kim Mulkey to tend to the fallen player.

Despite his own apparent concern, at least initially, Biden repeatedly attempted to reassure the audience that everything was ok and said, "Everything is all right. It’s a lot of standing. I apologize."

Following a pause of the event for several minutes, during which the White House feed was cut but cameras for other media outlets streaming the event continued to roll, the president picked back up right where he left off in his prepared remarks when the event resumed after he said, "Well, it’s -- like I said: This is not the first time it’s happened, not to her but to any -- a lot of folks standing up on this stage."

A little bit later, when Coach Mulkey stepped forward to say a few words, she first joked, "Sa’Myah planned that," but then said more seriously, "No, Sa’Myah is fine."

"For those of you who are concerned, Sa’Myah is fine. I’ll assure you of that," the coach added. "She’s kind of, right now, embarrassed. She doesn’t want to leave; she wants to stand with us, but she needs to be checked out."

Controversy over an initial apparent double invite to both winning and losing teams

There had actually been some rumors in the immediate aftermath of the NCAA women's basketball championship game that LSU would not accept an invitation to visit the White House after some of the team's players, such as star Angel Reese, had taken offense to a faux pas from the first lady when she seemingly extended an unprecedented invitation to both the winning and losing team in that game.

According to the New York Post, Jill Biden, who was in attendance at the game, said the next day, "I know we’ll have the champions come to the White House; we always do," but then added, "So, we hope LSU will come, but, you know, I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come too, because they played such a good game."

That didn't sit well at all with Reese -- who sparked a controversy of her own over her sportsmanship by excessively taunting Iowa's star player Caitlin Clark -- who called the unprecedented apparent double-invitation a "joke" and made other critical comments that eventually prompted a walk-back of the first lady's comments by her spokesperson.

Ironically enough, Reese, a co-captain of the team, was prominently featured and praised repeatedly during the White House event on Friday by President Biden in particular along with the first lady and Vice President Harris.

Celine Dion has formally announced the cancellation of her Courage World Tour due to her ongoing fight against an intractable neurological disorder.

The iconic 55-year-old singer updated followers on her health condition via Instagram, as Fox News reported.

"It is with tremendous disappointment that we have to announce today the cancelation of the Courage World Tour," Dion began her in-depth post.

"I’m so sorry to disappoint all of you once again. I’m working really hard to build back my strength, but touring can be very difficult even when you’re 100%," she added.

"It’s not fair to you to keep postponing the shows, and even though it breaks my heart, it’s best that we cancel everything now until I’m really ready to be back on stage again. I want you all to know, I’m not giving up … and I can’t wait to see you again!

"Tickets purchased for the forty-two cancelled dates will be refunded via the original point of sale. For further ticket inquiries or options, ticketholders should reach out to their original point of purchase," the post said.

Leading Up to The Announcement

In December, the "My Heart Will Go On" singer shocked admirers by revealing that she had been diagnosed with stiff person syndrome, which she noted "affects something like one in a million people."

According to the Cleveland Clinic, stiff person syndrome is a rare autoimmune movement disorder that affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). People with this condition initially experience a stiffening of their trunk muscles, followed by the gradual development of stiffness and rigidity in their legs and other body muscles.

Dion continued to instruct supporters on how to receive a ticket refund.

Earlier Updates

Last year, Dion revealed to her followers in an Instagram video that she had been experiencing mobility issues and that her vocal had been affected by the condition.

"While we're still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what has been causing all of the spasms I've been having," she said.

"Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I'm used to."

In January 2022, Dion canceled the remainder of her "Courage" tour dates in North America due to "severe and persistent muscle spasms" that rendered her unable to perform.

Dion's tour dates for February 24 to April 11, 2023, have been rescheduled for March 6 to April 22, 2024, and her summer performances from May 31 to July 17, 2023, have been canceled.

In a shocking development on Thursday, a Republican-controlled investigative committee in the Republican-controlled state legislature recommended impeachment charges against a prominent elected Republican state official.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was hit on Thursday with a recommendation of 20 articles of impeachment from the Texas House General Investigating Committee, Breitbart reported.

Those articles of impeachment could be brought to the floor of the Texas House for a full vote within a matter of days, and if passed by a simple majority of members, would trigger an impeachment trial in the Senate and Paxton's removal and disqualification from office if two-thirds of the state senators vote to convict.

20 Articles of Impeachment

The General Investigating Committee surprisingly revealed earlier this week that it had quietly been investigating several serious allegations against AG Paxton about a prominent real estate developer who is a close friend and donor, Nate Paul.

Paxton stands accused of bribery, misconduct, and misuse of official resources in multiple instances to take actions that benefited Paul.

The AG is alleged to have intervened on behalf of Paul in a lawsuit filed against him by a charitable foundation; of surreptitiously having a legal opinion written by staffers to benefit Paul; of refusing to release properly requested public records; of secretly providing non-public information to Paul; and of engaging an outside attorney to misuse grand jury subpoenas in a manner that benefited Paul's businesses.

Paxton is also alleged to have fired whistleblowers in his own office in retaliation for raising concerns; of conducting a "sham investigation" into those whistleblowers; and of using taxpayer funds in a settlement to keep the whistleblowers quiet. He is also accused of bribery on two counts, including that a mistress with whom Paxton had an extramarital affair was then employed by Paul and that Paxton received home renovations from Paul.

The attorney general is further alleged to have engaged in several acts of abuse of the judicial process, including with regard to a prior grand jury indictment against himself, and of making false statements in official records on multiple occasions, as well as allegations of conspiracy, misappropriation of public resources, dereliction of duty, being unfit for office, and abuse of the public's trust.

HR02377I -- Article of Impe... by Bob Price

Immediately suspended pending trial

Breitbart noted that if the Texas House votes to impeach AG Paxton, he will be immediately suspended from office pending a Senate trial, per Article 15, Section 5 of the Texas Constitution.

That same section also states that while an impeached state official is suspended pending trial, the state's governor, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, is authorized to make a "provisional appointment" as a temporary replacement for the suspended official until a final decision is rendered on whether to convict or acquit.

It is unclear when an impeachment trial in the Texas Senate would commence if the House votes to move forward with the impeachment of Paxton, but it would presumably happen within a short period.

Lt. Gov. Patrick would preside over the impeachment trial

In an interview with local ABC affiliate WFAA following the impeachment news, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who would preside over a Senate trial, said, "I don’t cast a vote. The 31 members cast a vote. I preside over it. But we will all be responsible as any juror would be if that turns out to be, and I think the members will do their duty."

"It comes to the Texas Senate, there will be a trial conducted," he added. "I’m not at liberty to say anything really beyond that because I will be presiding over that case and the senators -- all 31 senators -- will have a vote. We’ll set the rules for that trial as we go forward and we’ll see how that develops."

Former President Donald Trump appeared via video in a Manhattan courtroom this week for a hearing on the criminal indictment related to 2016 "hush money" payments to two women to silence them about alleged prior affairs.

Trump was reportedly visibly angry when presiding Judge Juan Merchan set a trial date in the case for March 25, 2024, which places it right in the middle of the presidential primary season, the Associated Press reported.

Unsurprisingly, the embattled front-running Republican candidate lashed out afterward on social media and declared the development to be "very unfair" and "ELECTION INTERFERENCE," among other complaints.

Advised to clear his schedule for "several weeks"

According to the AP, when Judge Merchan announced during the hearing that the "hush money" payments trial would commence in his courtroom on March 25 next year, a visibly frustrated former President Trump could be seen throwing up his hands before leaning over to briefly and quietly consult with an attorney sitting next to him.

He then sat silent for the remainder of the hearing with his arms crossed in front of him while he glared with obvious anger through the camera and video monitors in the courtroom.

The outlet noted that Judge Merchan informed Trump that the trial could take "several weeks" to conclude once it had begun and advised the presidential candidate to cancel all of his obligations and plans during that particular span of time.

A scheduled trial date will impact campaigning during primary season

The reason for former President Trump's fury at the scheduled start date of the trial and advisement to cancel all plans during that period is understandable given that it will occur during the heart of the presidential primary season.

According to a tentative schedule for 2024's presidential primary elections -- which is subject to change between now and then -- the March 25 trial date is actually situated amid a brief lull in the primary season after GOP elections are held in 29 states, with the most recent prior elections being five that take place on March 19.

Assuming that Merchan's description of the trial taking "several weeks" means that it will be less than a month, then it should be concluded before the next cluster of four GOP primary elections scheduled for April 23.

In between that gap from March 19 to April 23 is only the Wisconsin primary on April 2, which Trump will presumably miss, not to mention the possibility of a schedule change for one of the other primaries or the assignment during that period of primary elections for the handful of states that have not yet designated a specific date.

But it likely isn't so much missing the primary elections themselves that has Trump enraged, but rather the associated campaign events that he will be forced to cancel or miss.

Indeed, that gap of time between clusters of primary elections from late March to late April will likely prove critical to all candidates who still remain in the race in terms of holding rallies and fundraisers, and other campaign-related events.

Trump asserts "very unfair" scheduling of the trial date

As the AP noted, Trump didn't vocally express his outrage at the scheduled trial date during the hearing, but he certainly did so on his Truth Social account afterward, as he wrote, "Just had New York County Supreme Court hearing where I believe my First Amendment Rights, 'Freedom of Speech,' have been violated, and they forced upon us a trial date of March 25th, right in the middle of Primary season."

"Very unfair, but this is exactly what the Radical Left Democrats wanted... nothing like this has ever happened in our Country before!!!" he added.

An IRS whistleblower reportedly involved in the federal investigation of Hunter Biden went public anonymously through attorneys last month with allegations of political interference and misconduct in the years-long probe of the president's son.

Now it has been revealed that a second IRS whistleblower has emerged who has also alleged misconduct and acts of retaliation against both whistleblowers, Breitbart reported.

That news follows the revelation that the entire IRS criminal investigative team, of which both whistleblowers were lead members, was summarily removed from the case after roughly five years of work, seemingly as an act of retaliation for blowing the whistle on the alleged improper handling of the case.

IRS and DOJ allegedly retaliating against IRS whistleblowers

According to the Washington Examiner, all of this new information was revealed by the attorneys for the first whistleblower, an IRS supervisory special agent, in a series of letters over the past week that the outlet has obtained.

One of those letters revealed the existence of the second whistleblower, who worked as an IRS case agent under the first whistleblower on the same investigation of Hunter Biden.

The first letter from the attorneys, Tristan Leavitt and Mark Lytle, was sent on May 17 to the Office of Special Counsel and provided details on the alleged acts of retaliation against the SSA, including being shut out of meetings after expressing concerns last October, being subject to an effort to have all of their emails turned over, being passed over for a promotion in favor of a less qualified employee, and ultimately being formally removed from the case with his entire investigatory team after having led the probe for more than three years.

Second whistleblower revealed

The second letter from the same attorneys for the SSA was sent on May 20 to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, which also raised the issue of alleged retaliation against both the SSA as well as the newly revealed case agent who is the second whistleblower and has been part of the Hunter Biden probe since it first began more than five years ago.

Per that letter, the case agent had recently sent an email to several top IRS officials expressing disappointment at the team being removed from the case and frustration at how prior attempts to raise concerns about the handling of the probe had been ignored by superiors.

In response to that email, the case agent received a reply from an Assistant Special Agent in Charge that reprimanded him for stepping outside the normal chain of command and implied potential criminal consequences for doing so.

At the same time, another Acting Special Agent in Charge sent an email blast to all employees of the IRS-Criminal Division -- of which the two whistleblowers are a part -- that similarly reminded everyone to strictly adhere to the normal chain of command no matter what.

Congress urged to take action, date for committee testimony revealed

The third letter from the attorneys was sent on May 22 to various House and Senate committee leaders from both parties that advised them of the alleged retaliation against both whistleblowers and urged Congress to swiftly take action to address the situation and keep the whistleblowers protected.

That letter also seemed to chide the Democrat-led Senate Finance Committee for refusing to cooperate with the Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee in arranging for a single joint session -- or at least two sessions on consecutive days -- in order to minimize the risks for the first whistleblower to provide sworn testimony to Congress.

As things stand now, the IRS SSA will testify behind closed doors to the House committee on May 26, at which Senate committee staffers are invited to attend, but will no longer agree to appear separately before the Senate committee on a different date.

Meanwhile, despite the repeated mentions of the second whistleblower in the letters from the attorneys for the first whistleblower, it is unclear if the lawyers represent both individuals or if the case agent has obtained separate legal representation of their own.

A recent development on Capitol Hill has fueled speculation that government authorities might be anticipating a major "disruptive event" in the near future and are taking certain precautionary measures without providing any specific details about a potential threat to the American people.

It was recently revealed that at least half of the members of the U.S. Senate have been outfitted with and trained in the use of mobile satellite phones, the Daily Wire reported.

While the provision of the satellite phones was ostensibly linked to new heightened security measures following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021, it has nonetheless sparked conjecture that some sort of significant attack or emergency -- one that could overwhelm or take down normal cellphone service -- may be imminent.

Senators being provided with satellite phones and training

CBS News reported that the Senate Sergeant at Arms has offered mobile satellite phones and training on how to use them to all 100 members of the Senate and their staffers.

To date, at least 50 senators are said to have accepted the devices, associated training, and a recommendation that they keep the special phones close to them at all times, particularly while traveling.

It was during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in April that Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson revealed the decision to deploy the satellite phones "to ensure a redundant and secure means of communication during a disruptive event," such as one that "takes out communications" in some or all of the United States.

Gibson further testified that her office established a "demonstration space" in the basement where members of the Senate and their staff can be shown how to use the phones as well as be informed about other less-public security arrangements that have been implemented at the Capitol and elsewhere.

DHS has touted the use of satellite phones in natural and "man-made" emergencies

CBS News noted that the Department of Homeland Security issued a special advisory in 2015 specifically about mobile satellite phones and how they were increasingly being utilized by first responders and government authorities in emergency situations.

That includes both natural disasters, such as earthquakes or severe weather, as well as man-made incidents, "including potential chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive events."

The advisory went on to explain how satellite phones work using either geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO) satellites, which sit stationary at exceptionally high altitudes and work rather slowly, or Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites that utilize a network of moving satellites at much lower altitudes and can work quickly but are less reliable.

What is the real reason for the distribution of satellite phones among senators?

PJ Media keyed in on the mention of a "disruptive event" by Sergeant at Arms Gibson during the Senate hearing and wondered if the effort to outfit and train senators with satellite phones was "purely precautionary" or indicative of something more "ominous" that is not being shared with the general public.

To be sure, this could very well be nothing more than an added precaution to ensure that senators remain in the loop in case of an emergency of any sort, which can result in localized cellphone networks being overloaded, not to mention the increasing frequency of "rolling blackouts" as the nation's electric grid deteriorates and is replaced by less reliable "green" energy production.

That said, given the increasingly aggressive and provocative nature of enemies and rivals like Russia and China, perhaps there is some undisclosed threat of an imminent attack on the nation -- such as an EMP or nuclear strike, to say nothing of internal sabotage on energy production and communications capabilities -- that has spurred the extra precautions.

Whatever may be the case, taxpayers are paying for all of it -- which means the possibility that this is nothing more than a contractor securing a sweet deal at the public trough to supply satellite phones to legislators and government officials also can't be entirely ruled out.

A stampede that took place at a soccer stadium in El Salvador has left at least 12 people dead and many more injured, ABC News reports

The incident occurred at the Monumental Stadium in Cuscatlan, southern San Salvador. The stadium is one of the largest in Central America with a capacity of over 44,000.

There, on Saturday night, the soccer clubs Alianza FC and Club Deportivo FAS faced off against one another in the second leg of their quarterfinal matchup in the Salvadoran soccer league.

But, after about 16 minutes of play, the game had to be suspended.

What happened?

What stopped play was not necessarily what happened at the 16-minute mark but what happened before.

It turns out that a large number of fans were blocked from entering the stadium despite the fact that they had tickets to attend the game. They asked to be allowed to enter the stadium, but the request was denied. Angry about this, the fans knocked down a small gate in order to gain access to the stadium.

José Ángel Penado, who was there, explained the situation, saying:

The game was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., but they closed the gate at 7 p.m. and left us outside (the stadium) with our tickets in our hands. People got angry. We asked them to let us in, but no. So they knocked the gate down.

It is not exactly clear why access was denied to these fans. It appears that they may have been trying to enter through the wrong gate. ABC News explains, "Sections of the stadium are often reserved for fans of one team to avoid clashes with rivals, so those fans would have to enter through the indicated gate."

Whatever the case may be, a stampede ensued. And, play was halted after fans managed to notify those on the field about what was going on.

"Deeply regrets"

A volunteer with the Rescue Commandos described the scene to reporters. The unidentified individual said:

It was an avalanche of fans who overran the gate. Some were still under the metal in the tunnel. Others managed to make it to the stands and then to the field and were smothered.

According to Civil Protection Director Luis Amaya, 500 people ended up having to receive medical attention. 100 of them were taken to hospitals. And, at least 12 have died thus far.

A criminal investigation of the incident is underway.

The Salvadoran Football Federation said that it "deeply regrets the events that occurred at the Cuscatlan Stadium."

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said, "I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following the tragic incidents that have taken place in El Salvador.

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