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President Obama has called for unity while speaking in Dallas at a memorial for five police officers killed by a sniper Thursday evening. The shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, opened fire at the end of an anti-police brutality march, killing five officers and wounding at least seven more. Johnson was an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan in 2014. While on tour in Afghanistan, a female soldier accused him of sexual harassment, took out a restraining order against him, and he was sent back to the U.S. by the Army. Speaking Tuesday, President Obama acknowledged racial discrimination exists within police departments.
President Barack Obama: “Perhaps we’ve heard prejudice in our own heads and felt it in our own hearts. We know that. And while some suffer far more under racism’s burden, some feel to a far greater extent discrimination’s sting. Although most of us do our best to guard against it and teach our children better, none of us is entirely innocent, no institution is entirely immune. And that includes our police departments. We know this.”
President Obama will meet today in Washington, D.C., with law enforcement officials and civil rights leaders, as daily demonstrations against police brutality continue nationwide.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Commission has ruled officers did not violate the department’s policy on the use of deadly force when they shot an African-American woman last year. Police have claimed Redel Jones was armed with a knife and had charged a police officer. But at least one witness has said Jones had her back turned to police when she was shot. After the commission’s announcement, protesters called for the resignation of Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck during a demonstration inside City Hall. The protest in Los Angeles comes amid nationwide protests over the fatal police shootings of African-American men Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, last week.
In news from the campaign trail, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, while speaking Tuesday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “She will be the Democratic nominee for president, and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.”
Sanders’ supporters have fought in recent weeks to have initiatives the senator championed in his campaign added to the Democratic platform. But both candidates said that with the election less than four months away, the most important thing was to unify the party around defeating presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has issued a scathing assessment of a potential Donald Trump presidency, calling Trump a “faker” and saying, “I can’t imagine what the country would be—with Donald Trump as our president. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.” It is unusual for a sitting Supreme Court justice to speak out on presidential candidates, but Ginsburg has recently made on-the-record remarks to several news organizations. Ginsburg’s most recent criticisms came Monday in an off-camera interview with CNN. Trump responded by calling on Ginsburg to resign, tweeting, “Her mind is shot.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg isn’t the only judge Donald Trump has recently tangled with. The Republican presidential candidate is a prolific litigator. According to a USA Today investigation, Donald Trump and his companies have been involved in more than 4,000 lawsuits since 1970. Since Trump began his presidential campaign a year ago, he has become involved in 70 new lawsuits. One of the current cases alleges that Trump University has defrauded its students.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party’s platform may include the full text of the Hyde Amendment, a rule that is used to prevent federal funds from being used for abortions. If the current draft passes, it could further restrict access to abortions across the U.S. The party will ratify the platform at their convention in Cleveland next week. Proposals for the platform also include support for Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and a rejection of same-sex marriage, which was legalized by the Supreme Court last year.
Meanwhile, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough and award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns have teamed up to launch the group Historians on Donald Trump. Their Facebook page includes a series of prominent historians speaking about the dangers of a Trump presidency.
David McCullough: “So much that Donald Trump spouts is so vulgar and so far from the truth and mean-spirited. It is on that question of character especially that he does not measure up. He is unwise. He is plainly unprepared, unqualified and, it often seems, unhinged. How can we possibly put our future in the hands of such a man?”
That’s historian David McCullough, speaking about Donald Trump. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for the biographies “Truman” and “John Adams” has historically refused to comment on contemporary election cycles, saying his specialty is “dead politicians.” Other historians involved in the group include Ron Chernow, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning biography “Hamilton” served as inspiration for the hit musical, and Vicki Lynn Ruiz, former president of the American Historical Association.
In Britain, Theresa May is becoming the prime minister today as David Cameron tenders his resignation at Buckingham Palace. This comes less than a month after Britain shocked the world by voting to leave the European Union—a move strongly opposed by Cameron. He announced within hours of the referendum that he would resign by October, although it had been expected he would stay in power at least through the summer. Theresa May becomes the second woman to serve as prime minister in British history. She has served as the home secretary since 2010. As a Parliament member, she supported the war in Iraq, and she voted to deploy British troops to Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria. This past May, she voted in favor of repealing Britain’s Human Rights Act. She has, however, worked to fight police corruption and has challenged the British police’s policy of “stop and search,” which is similar to “stop and frisk” in the United States. Meanwhile, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has been assured of a place on the ballot in upcoming party leadership elections after surviving a coup waged by more conservative members of the Labour Party.
The Chinese government has rejected an international court ruling on its dispute with the Philippines over territory in the South China Sea. The ruling Monday said the Philippines has a legitimate territorial claim to the waters around a chain of islands claimed by both countries. The South China Sea is one of the busiest trade routes in the world and also contains significant oil and gas reserves. The Filipino government had asked the International Court of Arbitration to take up the issue after complaining the Chinese government was preventing Filipino fishermen from working in the waters. The decision is nonbinding, and the Chinese government has accused the United States government of causing trouble in the region. The U.S. government’s official position is that the area should be considered international waters.
Amnesty International has accused the Egyptian government of making enforced disappearances an instrument of state policy. The report focuses on 17 cases in which prisoners were held incommunicado for as long as seven months. The Egyptian government has jailed more than 30,000 people for political activism since 2013, when the government of democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown in a military coup. The report says forced disappearances have increased in the last year. The U.S. briefly put military aid to Egypt on hold after the 2013 coup, but has since resumed its support for the government of former General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
And in New Haven, Connecticut, an African-American dishwasher has lost his job at Yale University after he intentionally smashed a stained-glass panel that depicted enslaved Africans carrying bales of cotton. Corey Menafee worked at Yale’s residential dorm Calhoun College. He says he used a broomstick to knock the panel to the floor a month ago because the image was “racist [and] very degrading.” He said, “It’s 2016; I shouldn’t have to come to work and see things like that. I just said, 'That thing's coming down today. I’m tired of it.’” Calhoun College is named after former Vice President John C. Calhoun, one of the most prominent pro-slavery figures in history. Students have demanded the building’s name be changed, but Yale has refused to rename the building.
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