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HeadlinesAugust 05, 2019

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White Supremacist Kills 20 People After Hate-Fueled Gun Rampage in El Paso

Aug 05, 2019

At least 29 people were killed as two mass murders shook the country over the weekend. In El Paso, Texas, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart near a mall Saturday. The mass murderer is believed to be Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old white man who is now in police custody. The gunman posted a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto online in which he said he was “defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion” — echoing the language used by Trump to describe migrants.

The El Paso attack came just days after another white male shooter attacked the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, killing three people, including a 6-year-old boy. Just before that shooting the gunman promoted an anti-immigrant manifesto online. It also came days after a Walmart worker in Mississippi shot and killed two fellow employees and wounded two others. Nationwide calls are growing for Walmart to stop selling guns and ammunition. The El Paso massacre is being treated as an act of domestic terrorism. This is U.S. Attorney John Bash.

John Bash: “The key factor here is it appears to be an intent to coerce or intimidate a civilian population. That’s met here. The attack, from what we know in the public record, certainly appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population. So we’re treating it as a domestic terrorism case.”

El Paso’s district attorney said he is charging the shooter with capital murder, which carries a possible death penalty. He could also face federal hate crime charges, which also can result in a capital punishment sentence.
Fredrick Brennan, the founder of the website 8chan, has called for his site to be shut down following the events in El Paso. The shooter posted about the attack shortly before it happened on an 8chan message board. At least three recent mass shootings have been announced on the site, including the massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 50 Muslims in March. 8chan’s network provider Cloudflare dropped the site following the shooting.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called the attack a “terrorist act against innocent Mexicans.” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who said seven Mexican nationals were among the 20 killed, said Mexico is considering measures to protect Mexicans who are in the U.S. He also said Mexico may charge the shooter in Mexican courts.

Democratic lawmakers are calling for the Senate to return from recess to vote on two gun safety bills already passed in the House.

Gunman with Misogynistic Past Kills 9 People in Dayton, OH Shooting Spree

Aug 05, 2019

Hours after El Paso’s horrific attack, in the early hours of Sunday morning, a gunman opened fire with a high-caliber rifle outside a bar in a popular downtown entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people and wounding dozens of others — all in under a minute. Police killed the suspect at the scene. He was identified as 24-year-old white male Connor Betts. He has a history of threatening women, and former classmates say he had a “kill list” and a “rape list” in high school. The victims were mostly in their twenties and thirties, and most of them were black. One of the victims, Megan Betts, was the gunman’s sister.

At a vigil Sunday, crowds interrupted a speech by Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine with shouts of “Make a change” and “Do something!”

Gov. Mike DeWine: “And, of course, as governor, I’m here representing all the people of the state of Ohio.”

Crowd: “Do something!”

Gov. Mike DeWine: “We are here tonight” —

Crowd: “Do something! Do something!”

Gov. Mike DeWine: — “because we all want [inaudible].”

Crowd: “Do something!”

Gov. Mike DeWine: “We know that we cannot” —

Crowd: “Do something! Do something!”

Gov. Mike DeWine: — “ease the pain of those families who have lost someone.”

Crowd: “Do something! Do something! You have the power to make a change!”

Also on Sunday, the captain of the Philadelphia Union soccer team, Alejandro Bedoya, grabbed a field microphone after he scored a goal, and demanded Congress take action following the two shootings.

Alejandro Bedoya: “Hey, Congress, do something now! End gun violence! Let’s go!”

That was Alejandro Bedoya. He said, “Congress, do something now. End gun violence.” He lives just 15 minutes from the Parkland massacre in Florida.

General Strike Grips Hong Kong as Protesters Refuse to Back Down

Aug 05, 2019

In Hong Kong, a general strike has paralyzed the city’s transportation and shut down many businesses and large parts of the service industry as pro-democracy protesters escalate their demands. Hundreds of flights have also been canceled. Demonstrators took to the streets over the weekend, blocking major roads, with riot police firing tear gas at crowds and arresting at least 80 people.

The popular uprising started nine weeks ago to demand the withdrawal of an extradition bill that would have sent people from Hong Kong to mainland China to face charges, but demands quickly grew for the resignation of Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam, an investigation into violence against demonstrators, and pro-independence reforms. Carrie Lam warned Hong Kong is being pushed to “the verge of a very dangerous situation.”

India Revokes Kashmir’s Special Status as Tensions Mount in Disputed Region

Aug 05, 2019

India announced it is revoking Kashmir’s special status as tensions with Pakistan over the disputed region have been rising over recent days. The move, which is expected to be challenged in court, means Hindu Indians from outside Kashmir could start buying land and settling in the region, among other actions that will shift the demographic makeup of the Indian-administered, Muslim-majority state. Critics and many Kashmiris say this would threaten the state’s autonomy, further consolidating it into Indian rule. India’s governing BJ Party promised during election campaigning this year that it would rescind Kashmir’s special status. India’s home minister also said it would split the state into two federally ruled territories. India has sent 10,000 additional troops to the region over the past week and shut down schools, evacuated tourists and cut off internet access. Kashmir leaders have also been placed under house arrest.

In February, tensions between India and Pakistan ratcheted up over the region. India carried out airstrikes inside Pakistan following an attack against Indian soldiers in Kashmir by a militant separatist group based in Pakistan. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, who recently met with Trump at the White House, tweeted, “President Trump offered to mediate on Kashmir. This is the time to do so as situation deteriorates there. This has the potential to blow up into a regional crisis.”

Iran Seizes Tanker as Tensions Between Iran and U.S. Remain High

Aug 05, 2019

Iran said Sunday it seized another foreign oil tanker. The Revolutionary Guard said that the vessel was from Iraq and carrying smuggled diesel fuel through the Persian Gulf. Iraq has denied the accusation, saying it “does not export diesel to the international market.” This is the third vessel seized by Iran in recent weeks, including the British Stena Impero, which is still being held after it was captured in the Strait of Hormuz last month. That followed Britain’s seizure of an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar, which Britain accused of breaching international sanctions.

In more news from Iran, government officials confirmed reports that Iran turned down an invitation for Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to visit the White House for talks last month. The invitation preceded the imposition of U.S. sanctions on Zarif, whom the Trump administration branded “a propaganda minister.” Iran has accused the U.S. of shutting down any possibility for talks between the two countries by sanctioning its top diplomat.

Russian Police Arrest 800+ Protesters as Crackdown on Dissent Continues

Aug 05, 2019

In Russia, at least 800 people were arrested Saturday as protesters took to the streets of Moscow again to call out the barring of opposition candidates in upcoming city council elections. Videos of police beating protesters with batons spread on social media over the weekend. Police also reportedly made arrests before the protests even started.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was arrested last month ahead of mass protests, is being investigated for money laundering. Navalny’s anti-corruption group has worked to expose top Russian officials. He was hospitalized last weekend, when his doctor said Navalny appeared to have symptoms of poisoning — but Navalny has since been returned to jail.

Sudan’s Military Rulers and Opposition Leaders Sign Transition Agreement

Aug 05, 2019

Sudan’s Transitional Military Council and leaders from the protest movement signed a constitutional declaration Sunday that they say will usher in a transition to civilian rule. Months of unrest and deadly protests have followed the April overthrow of Sudan’s former authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir after a mass popular uprising. The two sides agreed to a power-sharing deal last month, but talks have been repeatedly derailed due to violent incidents, including, most recently, a deadly attack by security forces on teenage students protesting military rule.

3 Mexican Journalists Killed in Under a Week

Aug 05, 2019

In Mexico, journalists and press freedom advocates are calling for the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador to take meaningful action after three more journalists were killed — all within a week. Jorge Ruiz Vázquez was fatally shot in his home in the state of Veracruz Friday, just days before he was to testify about death threats he said originated from the mayor of his town. He accused the mayor of corruption last year. In the state of Guerrero, Edgar Alberto Nava, who published local stories on a Facebook page, was also shot dead on Friday. Nava reported on local government, as well as crime. And journalist Rogelio Barragán was found dead in the trunk of a car earlier last week in the state of Morelos. Both Barragán and Nava cited safety concerns due to their work. The three recent murders bring the total number of journalists killed in Mexico this year to 10. Reporters Without Borders calls Mexico “one of world’s deadliest countries for the media.”

Pierluisi Sworn In as Puerto Rico’s New Governor as San Juan Mayor Yulín Cruz Mounts Challenge

Aug 05, 2019

In Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi was sworn in as the new governor, after his disgraced predecessor, Ricardo Rosselló, officially stepped down Friday following weeks of mass protests. However, the Senate has not yet voted to approve Pierluisi as the new governor, leading many Puerto Ricans to question his legitimacy.

José Ocasio: “What Pedro Pierluisi did was a coup d’état. He understands he’s not the governor himself. Notice that he said we would have to go to the Senate. Well, if he needs to go to the Senate, then whose job is it, the governorship? It’s the justice secretary’s, Wanda Vázquez’s job. Someone who has to swear in in the dark over there and later say, ’I’ve already been sworn in,’ obviously knows he’s not doing things properly.”

Pierluisi previously served as Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner — or non-voting representative — in Congress from 2009 to 2017. Pierluisi was one of the key advocates behind the creation of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act — known as PROMESA — which created an unelected, federally appointed control board with sweeping powers to run Puerto Rico’s economy. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz is filing a lawsuit today over Pierluisi’s appointment as governor.

U.S. Prosecutors Accuse Honduran President of Accepting Drug Money, Protecting Traffickers

Aug 05, 2019

U.S. federal prosecutors have accused Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández of conspiring with his brother and other top political figures to protect drug traffickers in exchange for campaign contributions. Tony Hernández, the president’s brother, was arrested last year in the United States for drug trafficking and weapon offenses. Former President Porfirio Lobo, who came to power following a U.S.-backed coup in 2009, is also accused of participating in the scheme. Prosecutors say President Hernández used $1.5 million in drug trafficking money to help him win the 2013 presidency. Juan Orlando Hernández has denied the accusations. Mass protests have been taking place for months against the Hernández government — which Hondurans say is ruled by corruption — as well as his plans to privatize healthcare, pensions and education.


El Salvadoran Migrant Father Dies in CBP Custody

Aug 05, 2019

A 32-year-old man from El Salvador died Thursday at a New Mexico immigration jail. Marvin Antonio González had traveled to the United States with his young daughter. His daughter is now being held by U.S. immigration authorities. The cause of death has yet to be determined. This is Antonio González’s father, speaking in El Salvador.

Víctor Manuel González: “He said he wanted to go, he could no longer stand the poverty, that he could get a job in the United States so that he could rise up from poverty. That was his intention. That was his idea for going.”

At least 15 asylum seekers have died while in U.S. custody since September of last year. Seven of them were children.

Trump Drops Plan to Nominate Rep. Ratcliffe for Nat’l Intel. Dir. After Questions over Qualifications

Aug 05, 2019

Trump said Friday he will not nominate Texas Congressmember John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence. Trump blamed the “LameStream media” for treating Ratcliffe unfairly as reports emerged over the past week of bipartisan concerns over his qualifications for the role, namely that he exaggerated his accomplishments as a former federal prosecutor in East Texas, claiming he had lots of experience jailing terrorists and helping form George W. Bush’s counterterrorism policy. According to former co-workers, there were no major national security prosecutions during his tenure.

Meanwhile, Trump is reportedly planning to block Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon from becoming acting director when Dan Coats steps down later this month, possibly by ousting her from her current position. Critics say the move would fall within the administration’s pattern of prioritizing political picks over career staffers.

NYPD Judge Says Officer Pantaleo Should Be Fired for Killing Eric Garner

Aug 05, 2019

In New York City, an administrative judge for the New York Police Department recommended Friday that Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who killed Eric Garner in 2014 by using an illegal chokehold, be fired. Pantaleo held Garner, an unarmed African-American man, in the chokehold until he dropped to the ground, despite gasping “I can’t breathe” 11 times. Pantaleo was suspended following the recommendation, but NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill will make the final decision on whether or not to fire him. Pantaleo has remained on the police force on desk duty since the killing. A New York grand jury decided in 2014 not to charge him, and last month the Justice Department said he would also not face federal charges. Eric Garner’s daughter, Emerald Garner Snipes, spoke out after the judge’s recommendation was made public.

Emerald Garner Snipes: “This has been a long battle, five years too long. And finally somebody has said that there’s some information that this cop has done something wrong. We’ve waited five years. CCRB [Civilian Complaint Review Board] has made the recommendation. Commissioner O’Neill, fire Pantaleo.”

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