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HeadlinesMay 27, 2014

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Gunman Who Vowed “War on Women” Kills 6 in California

May 27, 2014

A California man has killed seven people including himself after posting a video to YouTube saying he was seeking retribution against all women for rejecting his sexual advances. Elliot Rodger stabbed three people to death at his apartment Friday before driving to a sorority house at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he killed two women outside. He drove through town continuing to fire on pedestrians, before dying of what authorities called a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Hours before the attack, Rodger posted a chilling video saying he planned to attack “you girls” for what he called the “crime” of not being attracted to him.

Elliot Rodger: “On the day of retribution, I am going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB, and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up blonde slut I see inside there.”

Rodger’s misogynist comments sparked a viral response on Twitter, with more than a million tweets using the hashtag #YesAllWomen, seeking to put the attack within a wider context of everyday harassment and violence. Among those killed in the massacre was 20-year-old Christopher Michaels-Martinez, whose father has reignited the call for gun control.

Richard Martinez: “Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA [National Rifle Association]. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’s right to live? When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say, 'Stop this madness! We don't have to live like this”? Too many have died. We should say to ourselves, 'Not one more!'”

Nigerian Official Says Location of Missing Girls Known

May 27, 2014

A top military official in Nigeria has said officials have located the nearly 300 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, but will not risk going in with force to attempt a rescue. Air Marshal Alex Badeh reportedly made the remarks in the capital Abuja as demonstrators there rallied to demand the girls’ return. They have been missing for six weeks. U.S. military specialists have been participating in the search. Over the weekend, Nigeria was rocked by further violence, including an attack by gunmen in the northeast that killed 20 people at a market.

Report: U.S. Creating Commando Units in 4 African Countries

May 27, 2014

The news comes amid reports about how U.S. Special Operations troops are creating elite commando units in four African countries as part of a secretive counterterrorism program. The New York Times reports the Obama administration launched the program last year to train “homegrown African counterterrorism teams” in Libya, Niger, Mauritania and Mali. An official told the Times the Pentagon is spending nearly $70 million to train and equip units in Niger and Mauritania. The effort in Mali has stalled following a military coup, while initial training in Libya was called off when militants overpowered Libyan guards at a training base and stole hundreds of U.S.-supplied items, including automatic weapons. On Wednesday, Obama is expected to give a speech at West Point outlining a new foreign policy direction that focuses more on training local forces.

Obama Discusses Future U.S. Presence in Surprise Afghanistan Trip

May 27, 2014

President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan over Memorial Day weekend. Speaking to troops at Bagram Air Base, Obama discussed plans to keep some U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 pullout date.

President Obama: “And once Afghanistan has sworn in its new president, I’m hopeful we’ll sign a bilateral security agreement that lets us move forward. And with that bilateral security agreement, assuming it is signed, we can plan for a limited military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014, because after all the sacrifices we’ve made, we want to preserve the gains that you have helped to win.”

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has so far refused to sign a deal to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but both candidates on the ballot in next month’s runoff have expressed support for the deal.

White House Mistakenly Outs Top CIA Official in Afghanistan

May 27, 2014

The Obama administration has blown the cover of its own top CIA official in Afghanistan. The official’s name was included on a list emailed to reporters that was later included in a press pool report circulated to more than 6,000 people. The White House scrambled to issue a list without the official’s name, and news outlets have agreed to withhold it over security fears. The apparent gaffe comes as the administration faces pressure over its failure to release other secret information, including a Senate report on the CIA’s torture program. McClatchy has obtained a letter from two top Senate committee chairs who wrote to Obama in January seeking help in declassifying information about the torture program. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin blamed the CIA’s secrecy for stalling the prosecution of 9/11 suspects and interfering with efforts to “publicly shine a light on the misguided CIA program.” The CIA has indicated it could take months to review the report.

U.N. Warns of New Carbon Dioxide Milestone; House Votes to Bar Pentagon Funds for Climate Change

May 27, 2014

A U.N. agency says the world has reached a new milestone on carbon dioxide (CO2), which is driving climate change. The World Meteorological Organization warned that in April, for the first time in history, monthly concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere topped 400 parts per million throughout the Northern Hemisphere. WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud called for urgent action to cut emissions, saying, “Time is running out.” Next week, President Obama is expected to announce a new regulation to cut carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, the leading source of carbon pollution in the United States. The warning from the WMO came just days after House lawmakers passed an amendment to a major military spending bill, which bars the Pentagon from using funds to address climate change and its potential impact on national security.

3 Missing in Colorado Mudslide; Crews Battle Fires in Arizona, Alaska

May 27, 2014

In western Colorado, rescuers have been searching for three men missing after a four-mile-long mudslide, which followed days of drenching rain. In Arizona and Alaska, crews have been battling massive wildfires, which have forced residents to evacuate their homes.

U.S. Suspends $3.5 Million in Military Aid to Thailand After Coup

May 27, 2014

In Thailand, the military junta that took power in a coup says it has received the endorsement of the king and will remain in power “indefinitely.” The military has dissolved the senate and arrested a former education minister who emerged from hiding to criticize the coup. The Obama administration announced it has canceled military exercises with Thailand and suspended $3.5 million in military aid, about a third of total U.S. assistance.

Egypt Declares Holiday to Urge Voting in Presidential Election

May 27, 2014

Egypt has declared a national holiday today in an apparent bid to boost voter turnout in the second and final day of the presidential election. Former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is widely expected to win after leading the ouster of democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi last year.

Far-Right Parties Gain Ground in European Parliament

May 27, 2014

In Europe, extreme right-wing parties have gained new ground in elections for the European Parliament. In France, the far-right, anti-immigrant National Front party won the European Union election, while Britain saw a victory by the the U.K. Independence Party, which wants to withdraw from the European Union. Across Europe, parties skeptical of the EU on both sides of the spectrum surged to more than double their representation. In Greece, opposition leader Alexis Tsipras announced a victory by the left-wing, anti-bailout Syriza party.

Alexis Tsipras: “This is a historical day for our people. They have made a clear and brave verdict, that despite the unprecedented propaganda of fear, they condemned the Samaras government and the policies of the bailout. And for the first time in history, it raised the left to first place and with a significant difference.”

Ukraine: Dozens Killed in Donetsk Fighting After Presidential Poll

May 27, 2014

In Ukraine, at least 30 pro-Russian rebels have reportedly died in fierce fighting at the airport in the eastern city of Donetsk. The Ukrainian government bombarded the airport with air strikes, then paratroopers, after rebels seized it on Monday. The fighting began just hours after the pro-European billionaire candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko won Ukraine’s first presidential election since the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych.

Turkish Court Orders Arrest of Israeli Commanders for Raid on Gaza Flotilla

May 27, 2014

In Turkey, a court has ordered the arrest of four former Israeli military commanders for the killings of Turkish activists on board a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in 2010. Israeli commandos stormed the aid ship Mavi Marmara in international waters, killing nine activists, including one with U.S. citizenship. On Friday, a Turkish man injured in the raid reportedly died after four years in a coma, bringing the total death toll to 10.

Pope Francis Refers to “State of Palestine,” Prays at “Apartheid Wall”

May 27, 2014

Pope Francis has paid a visit to Israel and the Occupied Territories, flying directly to Bethlehem where he referred to the “State of Palestine” and made an unscheduled stop at Israel’s separation wall, bowing his head next to graffiti reading “Apartheid Wall” and “Free Palestine.” On Monday, Pope Francis laid flowers on the tomb of the founder of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, in Jerusalem.

4 Dead in Shooting at Jewish Museum in Brussels

May 27, 2014

In Belgium, four people were shot and killed when a gunman opened fire at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. The shooter was captured by surveillance footage at the museum, but he has yet to be identified and remains at large.

Bahraini Activist Nabeel Rajab Released After 2 Years; Funeral Held for Teen

May 27, 2014

In Bahrain, a leading human rights activist has been released after nearly two years in prison for his role in pro-democracy protests. Speaking after his release, Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, vowed to continue the struggle for democracy under the U.S.-backed monarchy.

Nabeel Rajab: “With great regret, I was imprisoned for giving speeches, my participation in defending the human rights in Bahrain, but really these two years have changed me to be much stronger. The prison for me was like a school, and I will continue to fight for the people and human rights and with the political societies until we achieve our goals that we started on February 14.”

On Saturday in Bahrain, thousands marched for the funeral of a 14-year-old boy who activists say was killed by shotgun pellets fired by police last week. Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

Activists Worldwide Join “March Against Monsanto”

May 27, 2014

Activists took to the streets around the world on Saturday to protest against the spread of genetically modified foods, patented seeds and toxic pesticides by the agricultural giant Monsanto. Organizers said millions took part in the “March Against Monsanto” events in more than 400 cities across more than 50 countries.

Zapatista Leader Subcomandante Marcos Says He Is Stepping Down

May 27, 2014

In Mexico, the Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos has announced he is stepping down and will disappear, more than 20 years after launching an indigenous uprising on the day the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect. In a statement, Marcos said he is making way for the next generation, writing, “We have decided that today Marcos no longer exists.”

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