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A group of senators has unveiled a bipartisan measure to prevent people on the FBI’s terrorism watchlist from purchasing guns. The move came one day after the Senate failed to pass four separate gun control measures in the wake of the massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. None of the measures would have banned assault-style rifles like the ones used in Orlando; at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado; or in San Bernardino, California. The new measure led by Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins would let the attorney general block gun purchases by people on the no-fly list or a “selectee” list of people subjected to extra airport screening. The ACLU has warned against crafting gun reform that relies on “our nation’s error-prone and unfair watchlisting system.”
Twenty people were arrested Tuesday after staging a die-in and blocking the driveway to the National Rifle Association’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. About 100 people held an overnight vigil to mourn the Orlando victims and call for a ban on military-style assault weapons. Medea Benjamin, head of the group CodePink, denounced Congress’ failure to pass gun control.
Medea Benjamin: “Our democracy is broken, just like our gun laws are broken, just like our hearts are broken, just like our lives are broken. If we had a real democracy, we would have had those laws passed yesterday.”
Three people have been arrested with a cache of weapons after police pulled them over for a cracked windshield near the Holland Tunnel, which connects New Jersey and New York City. Police recovered five pistols, an AR-15 assault rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun. Authorities said the suspects were “gun enthusiasts” with no known link to terrorism. New York state has a ban on assault weapons, which withstood a challenge at the Supreme Court on Monday.
A man who claims he was the lover of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen has told Univision he believes Mateen committed the shooting for revenge, not terrorism. The man, who wore a disguise and called himself “Miguel,” said Mateen bore a grudge against Puerto Rican gay men, including one who revealed he was HIV-positive following a sexual encounter with Mateen.
Miguel: “I believe and I really think all his anger, he hate Puerto Rican—gay Puerto Ricans for all the bad things they do to him. And this will sound bad, and I know a lot of people are going to get a lot of pain for what I’m going to say, but I believe this crazy, horrible thing he did, that was a revenge.”
Attorney General Loretta Lynch says investigators may never identify a single motive in the Orlando massacre, which she called both an act of terror and hate. After meeting with relatives of the victims in Orlando, Lynch expressed solidarity with the LGBT community.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch: “And let me say to our LGBT friends and family, particularly to anyone who might view this tragedy as an indication that their identities, that their essential selves, might somehow be better left unexpressed or in the shadows: This Department of Justice—and your country—stands with you in the light.”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has attacked Republican rival Donald Trump’s economic policies and record of profiting off his companies’ bankruptcies. Speaking in Columbus, Ohio, Clinton said Trump would be “dangerous” to the U.S. economy.
Hillary Clinton: “Ronald Reagan said it. He said we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility, two things that set us apart from much of the world. Now maybe Donald feels differently, because he made a fortune filing bankruptcies and stiffing his creditors. I’ll get to his business practices in a minute. But the United States of America doesn’t do business Trump’s way.”
Donald Trump, meanwhile, has said he will offset a fundraising deficit with Clinton using his “unlimited” personal wealth. His remarks come amid reports Trump’s campaign had only $1.3 million in cash on hand at the end of May, compared to Clinton’s $42 million. Speaking to CBS News, Trump accused Clinton of raising “blood money.”
Donald Trump: “I don’t want to devote the rest of my life to raising money from people. And, you know, when she raises this money, every time she raises money, she’s making deals. They’re saying, 'Could I be the ambassador to this? Can I do that? Make sure my business is taken care of.' I mean, give me a break. All of the money she’s raising, that’s blood money. That’s blood money. Look, she’s getting tremendous amounts of money from Wall Street; she’s going to take care of Wall Street. She’s getting tremendous amounts of money from lots of people; she’s going to take care of all those people.”
New records show Donald Trump has directed nearly a fifth of his campaign cash to companies in his business empire. Trump has said he will deliver a major address against Clinton today from his Trump SoHo hotel in New York City.
In California, two wildfires have burned about 5,000 acres of terrain and are threatening to merge in the mountains outside Los Angeles. Firefighters said they are short-staffed because people have been sent to fight other fires burning in different parts of California. U.S. Forest Service Fire Chief Robert Garcia gave an update on the Fish and Reservoir fires, which have forced hundreds to evacuate.
Robert Garcia: “Both are continuing to burn in the Angeles National Forest, in San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, in very steep, rugged terrain, in old fuel beds, as we would describe it—areas of the forest that have not burned in a quite a number of years.”
Meanwhile in Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey has declared a state of emergency in Navajo County, where firefighters are battling a blaze that has grown to more than 40,000 acres. The fires have been fueled by record-shattering heat, the latest sign of human-caused climate change.
A former Honduran soldier says murdered environmentalist Berta Cáceres appeared on a hit list distributed to U.S.-trained special forces in Honduras months before she was assassinated. First Sergeant Rodrigo Cruz told The Guardian he is “100% certain that Berta Cáceres was killed by the army.” Cáceres was an indigenous Lenca leader who won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her fight against the Agua Zarca Dam. She was shot to death on March 3 at her home in La Esperanza, Honduras. Cruz said Cáceres’ name was on a list distributed to a military police unit in the Inter-Institutional Security Force, or Fusina, which received training from 300 U.S. marines and FBI agents last year. Five people have been arrested for Cáceres’ murder, including an active-duty Honduran army major.
Meanwhile, a new report finds last year was the deadliest on record for environmentalists. The group Global Witness says 185 environmental activists were killed last year worldwide, a 60 percent increase over the previous year. Fifty of them were killed in Brazil alone, where the Summer Olympics are set to take place in August.
The Israeli military says its soldiers shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy and wounded four other people by mistake. Mahmoud Rafat Baderan was killed while he and his family were driving home from a swimming pool. The military said soldiers mistakenly believed he had been throwing stones in an earlier incident.
Federal prosecutors say they will not charge three police officers in Pasco, Washington, for the fatal shooting of Mexican farmworker Antonio Zambrano-Montes in February 2015. Police fired 17 shots at Zambrano-Montes, accusing him of throwing stones at them. Cellphone video appears to show Zambrano-Montes running across an intersection, turning to face police and raising his hands before he’s shot. But U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby said there was insufficient evidence the officers violated Zambrano-Montes’ civil rights. His family has filed a lawsuit in federal court.
In Turkey, press freedom advocates rallied Tuesday to protest the arrest of two journalists and an academic on accusations of disseminating terrorist propaganda. Among those arrested was the head of the local Reporters Without Borders chapter. The three had taken part in a solidarity campaign for the pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem.
The husband of slain British Labour Party lawmaker Jo Cox says he believes she was killed for her political views. Cox was stabbed and shot to death Thursday, allegedly by Thomas Mair, who had ties to the neo-Nazi National Alliance and attended a meeting of British white supremacists organized by an FBI informant in 2000. Brendan Cox said his late wife worried about the direction of global politics.
Brendan Cox: “I think she worried that we were entering an age that we haven’t seen, maybe since the 1930s, of people feeling insecure for lots of different reasons, for economic reasons or security reasons, and then populist politicians, whether that’s Trump in the U.S. or whoever else, exploiting that and driving communities to hate each other, saying that the reason that you don’t have a job or the reason that you’re feeling insecure is because of this powerless person, not because of choices that we’re making or—and that that was driving people, it was creating an atmosphere of hatred.”
A new lawsuit accuses a judge and the city court in Bogalusa, Louisiana, of running a modern-day debtors’ prison. The Southern Poverty Law Center says Judge Robert J. Black routinely orders people to jail for failing to pay fines for minor offenses, like traffic violations, and charges them so-called “extension fees” to avoid jail time. In one case, a man found guilty of stealing $5 worth of food to feed his family was ordered to pay a $450 fine, then jailed for four hours when he couldn’t pay the $50 “extension fee.”
The Federal Aviation Administration has issued new rules to allow corporations to fly drones. The rules allow commercial drones to fly up to 400 feet in the air during daytime hours. The drones must be kept within sight, precluding, for now, the proposed use of delivery drones by companies like Google and Amazon. Despite concerns, the rules do not include regulations on privacy.
Meanwhile in Ireland, pro-choice activists flew a drone into Northern Ireland carrying a different cargo: pills to induce an abortion. The action was aimed at highlighting strict anti-choice laws in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
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