memorial

Burial ceremony of the victims of the mosque attacks in Christchurch
Relatives and other people arrive to attend the burial ceremony of the victims of the mosque attacks, at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch, New Zealand March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

March 21, 2019

By Tom Westbrook and Charlotte Greenfield

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – The bullet-riddled Al Noor mosque in Christchurch was being repaired, painted and cleaned ahead of Friday prayers, as grieving families buried more victims of New Zealand’s worst mass shooting.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that Friday’s call to prayers for Muslims will be broadcast nationally and there will be a two minute silence.

Armed police have been guarding mosques around New Zealand after 50 people were killed last Friday by a lone gunman who attacked worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch.

“We will have a heightened presence tomorrow in order to provide reassurance to people attending the Friday call for prayers,” police said in a statement on Thursday.

“Police have been working relentlessly, doing everything in our power to gather all appropriate evidence from what are active crime scenes so we can allow people to return to the mosques as quickly as possible.”

Both mosques attacked, the Al Noor and nearby Linwood mosque, plan to be reopened. Thousands of worshippers are expected at the Al Noor mosque, where the majority of victims died.

Most victims were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist who was living in Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island, has been charged with murder following the attack.

He was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5, when police said he was likely to face more charges.

The first victims were buried on Wednesday and burials continued on Thursday, with the funeral of a school boy.

Families of the victims have been frustrated by the delay as under Islam bodies are usually buried within 24 hours.

A mass burial is expected to be held on Friday. Body washing will go on through the day and night to have the dead ready for burial, said one person involved in the process.

Police have identified and release to the families the bodies of some 30 victims.

Twenty nine people wounded in the attacks remained in hospital, eight still in intensive care.

Many have had to undergo multiple surgeries due to complicated gunshot wounds. The gunman used semi-automatic AR-15 rifles, with large magazines, and shotguns.

Ardern as vowed to change gun laws in the wake of the attack, possibly banning semi-automatic weapons. An announcement will be made before the next cabinet meeting on Monday.

The gunman broadcast his attack live on Facebook and it was quickly distributed to other platforms, prompting Ardern and others to rebuke technology companies and call for greater efforts to stop violence and extremist views being aired on social media.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook and Charlotte Greenfield in CHRISTCHURCH, Praveen Menon in WELLINGTON.; Editing by Michael Perry)

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New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visits Christchurch
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attends a news conference after meeting with first responders who were at the scene of the Christchurch mosque shooting, in Christchurch, New Zealand March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

March 20, 2019

(Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Turkey to “confront” comments made by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the killing of 50 people at mosques in Christchurch.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after a lone gunman opened fire at the two mosques during Friday prayers.

Erdogan – who is seeking to drum up support for his Islamist-rooted AK Party in March 31 local elections – said on Tuesday Turkey would make the suspected attacker pay if New Zealand did not.

The comments came at a campaign rally that included video footage of the shootings that the alleged gunman had broadcast on Facebook.

Ardern said Peters would seek urgent clarification.

“Our deputy prime minister will be confronting those comments in Turkey,” Ardern told reporters in Christchurch. “He is going there to set the record straight, face-to-face.”

Erdogan has referred to the mosque shootings several times during public gatherings in recent days.

Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said comments made by Erdogan on Monday during the commemoration of the 1915 Gallipoli campaign were taken out of context, adding he was responding to the attacker’s “manifesto”, which was posted online by the attacker and later taken down.

“Turks have always been the most welcoming & gracious hosts to their Anzac visitors,” Altun said on Twitter, using the abbreviation for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

“As he was giving the speech at the Canakkale (Gallipoli) commemoration, he framed his remarks in a historical context of attacks against Turkey, past and present.”

During his speech on Monday, Erdogan described the mass shooting as part of a wider attack on Turkey and threatened to send back “in caskets” anyone who tried to take the battle to Istanbul.

Peters had earlier condemned the airing of footage of the shooting, which he said could endanger New Zealanders abroad.

Despite Peters’ intervention, an extract from Tarrant’s alleged manifesto was flashed up on a screen at Erdogan’s rally again on Tuesday, along with footage of the gunman entering one of the mosques and shooting as he approached the door.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he summoned Turkey’s ambassador for a meeting, during which he demanded Erdogan’s comments be removed from Turkey’s state broadcaster.

“I will wait to see what the response is from the Turkish government before taking further action, but I can tell you that all options are on the table,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

Australia’s ambassador to Turkey would meet with members of Erdogan’s government on Wednesday, Morrison said.

Morrison said Canberra is also reconsidering its travel advice for Australians planning trips to Turkey.

Relations between Turkey, New Zealand and Australia have generally been good. Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders travel each year to Turkey for war memorial services.

Just over a century ago, thousands of soldiers from the ANZAC struggled ashore on a narrow beach at Gallipoli during an ill-fated campaign that would claim more than 130,000 lives.

Visitors come to the area to honor their nations’ fallen on ANZAC Day every April 25.

(Reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Ali Kucukgocmen in Istanbul; Editing by Michael Perry and Frances Kerry)

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Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

New Zealand police who apprehended the Al Noor Mosque shooter Friday said they believe he planned to attack a third location before his arrest.

The 28-year-old Australian gunman attacked two mosques in Christchurch, killed 50 people and wounded nearly 30 others while broadcasting on Facebook live before police brought an end to his rampage within 21 minutes of the first emergency calls concerning the shooting. Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Wednesday that authorities believe they arrested the shooter while he was making his way to a third location that he planned to attack. (RELATED: Women’s March Fundraises Off Of New Zealand Mosque Attack)

A mourner on wheelchair leaves Memorial Park cemetery after attending a funeral for victims killed in the March 15 twin mosque massacre, in Christchurch on March 20, 2019. (ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)

A mourner on wheelchair leaves Memorial Park cemetery after attending a funeral for victims killed in the March 15 twin mosque massacre, in Christchurch on March 20, 2019. (ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)

“We strongly believe we stopped him on the way to a further attack, so lives were saved,” Bush said, according to The Washington Post.

Bush did not name the third location, but it may have been a mosque in Alberton mentioned in the gunman’s manifesto, in which the gunman expressed white supremacist ideology and explained that he viewed Muslims as foreign invaders, much the same way ISIS militants have said they view westerners.

Police finished their investigation of the crime scene at Al Noor Mosque on Tuesday, allowing for repairs to begin in preparation for the upcoming Friday service. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the country will observe two minutes of silence on Friday in mourning over the shooting and that officials are planning a national memorial service in Christchurch for the victims.

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David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

David Sirota — who joined the presidential campaign of Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders this week as a top communications aide and speechwriter — once wrote an opinion piece that was headlined “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon Bomber is a white American.”

Sirota wrote the article for the liberal outlet Salon in April 2013 in the wake of a terrorist attack at the annual Boston marathon race, and flatly stated that “white male privilege” was a heavy factor in whomever got blamed for the killing.

A jury sentenced Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death in May 2015. Three people died in the attack and hundreds more were injured. Tsarnaev, a Muslim, said the attack was politically motivated.

Sirota’s desire for it to be otherwise is just the latest skeleton to emerge from the writer’s literary closet this week, as he joins Sanders’ in “properly explaining” Democratic Socialism to Americans. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders’ New Speechwriter Lauded The ‘Economic Miracle’ Of Venezuelan Socialism)

FILE PHOTO: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the "Medicare for All Act of 2017" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2017” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., Sept. 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

The author and speechwriter contended:

The dynamics of privilege will undoubtedly influence the nation’s collective reaction to the attacks … This has been most obvious in the context of recent mass shootings. In those awful episodes, a religious or ethnic minority group lacking such privilege would likely be collectively slandered and/or targeted with surveillance or profiling (or worse) if some of its individuals comprised most of the mass shooters. However, white male privilege means white men are not collectively denigrated/targeted for those shootings — even though most come at the hands of white dudes.

Sirota quickly transitioned from an abstract conception of “white privilege” to the “undeniable and pervasive double standards” in American society that “will almost certainly dictate what kind of governmental, political and societal response we see in the coming weeks.” (RELATED: Mark Steyn: Beto O’Rourke ‘A Parody Of Rich White Privilege)

Christopher Nzenwa wipes his eyes after praying over a memorial to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. (Photo by REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Christopher Nzenwa wipes his eyes after praying over a memorial to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. (Photo by REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

His ultimate point is that America is supposedly so white and so racist that “if the bomber ends up being a white anti-government extremist, white privilege will likely mean the attack is portrayed as just an isolated incident.”

But if the bomber was not white, Sirota predicted a significant backlash.

“It will probably be much different if the bomber ends up being a Muslim and/or a foreigner from the developing world. As we know from our own history, when those kind of individuals break laws in such a high-profile way.”

Source: The Daily Caller


“Under”, a semi-submerged restaurant beneath the waters of the North Atlantic which will be open to public on March 21, 2019 is pictured in Lindesnes, south west of Oslo, Norway March 19, 2019. Picture taken March 19, 2019. NTB Scanpix/Tor Erik Schroder via REUTERS

March 20, 2019

By Lefteris Karagiannopoulos

BAALY, Norway (Reuters) – Europe’s first underwater restaurant opens in Norway on Wednesday with more than 7,000 customers booked in to eat among the fish.

Situated on the southern tip of Norway, the restaurant looks like a large concrete tube partly submerged in the North Sea. It is called Under, which also means “wonder” in Norwegian.

It was designed by Norwegian architecture firm Snoehetta, which also created the Opera house in Oslo and the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York.

“The fascination is just this movement from above water to underwater through the building … The big window exposes the underwater not like an aquarium, it’s the real thing,” Snoehetta’s founder Kjetil Traedal Thorsen told Reuters.

Entering Under initially feels like going into a sauna, as wooden planks cover its upper section, but an eight-meter flight of stairs leads down to a large dining area that sits about 40 guests, walled by a gigantic transparent window to the ocean.

Traedal Thorsen said the construction can cope with very harsh weather and is shaped in such a way that it can withstand what he called “the wave of the century”.

The restaurant is laid out so there are minimal reflections in the glass wall, which fills the room with natural light during the day, filtered by the greenish color of the water.

A full 18-course meal, based on local ingredients and seafood, can cost up to 3,700 crowns ($430) per person including drinks.

“The goal is to get 50 percent of the guests who eat there to spend the night in the hotel as well… We expect around 12,000 people eating dinner every year,” said Gaute Ubostad, one of two brothers who own the restaurant and a nearby hotel.

Under opens on Wednesday for friends and family of the owners and the first paying guests will be able to visit from early April.

There are only a handful of underwater restaurants around the world, mainly found in tropical waters like the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

(Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Flowers and cards are seen at the memorial site for the victims of Friday's shooting, outside Al Noor mosque in Christchurch
Flowers and cards are seen at the memorial site for the victims of Friday’s shooting, outside Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

March 19, 2019

By Praveen Menon and Charlotte Greenfield

WELLINGTON/CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – New Zealand’s police chief said on Wednesday that the police were working with global intelligence agencies to build a profile of the shooter who killed 50 people at mosques in Christchurch last week.

“I can assure you this is an absolute international investigation,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush said at a media briefing in the capital Wellington. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the suspect in the shooting had traveled around the world and was not a long-term resident.

Bush said the probe involved New Zealand police, the local intelligence community and partners around the world, including officials from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who were in the country and police and intelligence officials from Australia.

“We are also working very closely with other Five Eyes partners in terms of cooperation around the profile, travels etc, to build a comprehensive picture of this person that we will put before the court,” Bush said.

New Zealand is part of the Five Eyes intelligence network that includes the United States, Australia, Canada and Britain.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist who was living in Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island, has been charged with murder. He was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5, when police said he was likely to face more charges.

Giving details on the timeline of Friday’s attack, the police chief said first responders arrived within five minutes and 39 seconds of being informed of the incident and the shooter was caught within the building.

“We strongly believed the person was on his way for a further attack,” he said.

After days of mourning, preparations for the first burials were gathering pace in Christchurch on Wednesday, amid frustrations among family members who have complained about delays in handing over the bodies.

Burials are expected to start in Christchurch on Wednesday.

Commissioner Bush said as of Tuesday night 21 of the victims had been formally identified. They were ready to be reunited with family, he said, adding some already have been handed to the families.

The majority of the identifications would be completed by Wednesday night, he added. About 120 people were involved in the process, including dozens of pathologists and forensic experts.

Speaking of the delays, he said the police had to prove the cause of death to the satisfaction of the coroner and the judge handling the case.

“You cannot convict for murder without that cause of death. So this is a very comprehensive process that must be completed to the highest standard,” he said.

TRAGEDY FOR A SCHOOL

Ardern visited the Cashmere High School in Christchurch, whose students and parent community were among those most impacted by the attacks.

Two boys from the school – teenagers Sayyad Milne and Hamza Mustafa – were killed in the attacks. One former student, Tariq Omar, was also killed, while Khaled Mustafa, the father of Hamza, also died.

Another student as well as two other fathers are still being treated for gun shot wounds at the hospital.

About 200 children gathered at the school auditorium and listened to Ardern who spoke to them about racism and changes in gun laws. She said: “Never mention the perpetrator’s name … never remember him for what he did.”

The students performed an emotionally-charged haka, a ceremonial war dance, for Ardern.

As she was leaving, a little girl ran up to Ardern and hugged her. The prime minister hugged her back.

“The impact of this terror attack has been particularly cruel and tough for our school community,” the school Principal Mark Wilson said in a statement late on Tuesday.

(Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook, Tom Lasseter and Edgar Sue in CHRISTCHURCH, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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Oyub Titiev, the head of human rights group Memorial in Chechnya, attends his verdict hearing at a court in the town of Shali, in Chechnya
Oyub Titiev, the head of human rights group Memorial in Chechnya, attends his verdict hearing at a court in the town of Shali, in Chechnya, Russia, March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Said Tsarnayev

March 19, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt condemned the sentence handed out to a prominent human rights activist by a court in Chechnya, calling it “an awful example of Russia suppressing vital work of human rights defenders”.

Oyub Titiev, who runs the office of the Memorial Human Rights Center in the southern Russian region, was sentenced to four years in a penal settlement on Monday after he was found guilty of possessing illegal drugs. His supporters say he was framed, with the drugs planted in his car.

Hunt wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: “Fabricated charges & absurd sentence imposed on Oyub Titiev are intended to silence his work in holding Russian govt to account for human rights abuses in Chechnya – they must #FreeTitiev.”

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)

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People visit a memorial site for victims of Friday's shooting, in front of the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch
People visit a memorial site for victims of Friday’s shooting, in front of the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

March 18, 2019

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – After days of intense grieving for New Zealand’s worst-ever mass shooting, attention began to turn to how the country’s gun laws need to change and what warning signs might have been missed ahead of a gunman’s attack on two mosques that killed 50 people.

Bodies of the victims of Friday’s attacks in Christchurch were being washed and prepared for burial in a Muslim ritual process, with teams of volunteers flown in from overseas to assist with the heavy workload.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her Cabinet had made in-principle decisions on changes to gun laws which she would announce next Monday, saying now was the time to act on tightening access to firearms.

Simon Bridges, leader of the opposition National Party, said he wanted to get details of the changes to see if there could be bipartisan support in Parliament. The National Party draws support from rural areas, where gun ownership is higher than in urban areas.

“We know that change is required. I’m willing to look at anything that is going to enhance our safety – that’s our position,” Bridges told TVNZ.

In addition to the 50 killed, dozens were wounded at the two mosques in the South Island city during Friday prayers.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist who was living in Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island, was charged with murder on Saturday. Tarrant was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5, where police said he was likely to face more charges.

Andrew Little, the minister who oversees New Zealand’s intelligence agencies, said monitoring of online activity had been stepped up in the wake of the Christchurch attacks.

“There are people who have been online making statements who have been interviewed by the police; that will continue. There is a level of intervention, there is a heightened level of monitoring,” Little said on TVNZ on Monday night.

Ardern said there would be an inquiry into what government agencies “knew, or could or should have known” about the alleged gunman and whether the attack could be prevented.

“We have to know whether there have been failings, whether there have been gaps,” Little said on TVNZ. “We have to leave no stone unturned to not only deal with the perpetrator and ensure the criminal justice system gets to deal with him, but to understand how this could have happened in this country.”

More than 250 New Zealand police staff are working on the inquiry in the attacks, with staff from the U.S. FBI and Australia’s Federal Police working with local investigators.

In the wake of the deadly attack, other incidents were drawing scrutiny. A gun club in the northern town of Kaitaia burned down early on Tuesday morning, and police were treating the blaze as suspicious. A bomb hoax that closed Dunedin Airport on Sunday night and caused some flights to be diverted was under investigation, police said.

A black laptop bag was thought to have been bought onto the airfield by someone climbing over fences around the Dunedin airport. Police found a note written by the person who left the “hoax device,” which was dealt with by defense force experts.

“The insensitive nature of this act in light of recent events cannot be overstated,” police said in a statement.

(Writing by John Mair; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Oyub Titiev, the head of human rights group Memorial in Chechnya, attends his verdict hearing at a court in the town of Shali, in Chechnya
Oyub Titiev, the head of human rights group Memorial in Chechnya, attends his verdict hearing at a court in the town of Shali, in Chechnya, Russia, March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Said Tsarnayev

March 18, 2019

SHALI, Russia (Reuters) – A court in Chechnya on Monday sentenced Oyub Titiev, a prominent human rights activist, to four years in a penal colony after finding him guilty of possessing illegal drugs, a charge his supporters say was trumped up.

Titiev, who runs the office of the Memorial Human Rights Centre in the southern Russian region, was detained in January last year by police who said they had found 206.9 grams (7.3 oz) of cannabis in his car after stopping him to check his documents.

(Reporting by Maria Vasilyeva; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn)

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People visit a memorial site for victims of Friday's shooting, in front of the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch
People visit a memorial site for victims of Friday’s shooting, in front of the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

March 18, 2019

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – Kamran Nasir was in a finance lecture in Australia when a gunman slaughtered 50 people during Friday prayers at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Within hours he had joined a band of about 60 volunteers on their way to wash the dead victims, in the somber aftermath of New Zealand’s worst modern mass shooting spree.

“We got this text – they need volunteers,” Nasir, 35, told Reuters.

“It literally unfolded in an hour and half and we were running to the airport to catch a flight,” he said, sitting with four friends who had also dropped everything to offer help.

Experienced in Islamic funeral rites, the men from Brisbane who are connected to Brothers in Need, a charity group, are part of a contingent drawn from Australia and cities across New Zealand to help a community overwhelmed by the number of bodies which must be dealt with according to ritual.

They also epitomize a spirit of generosity that has pulsed across a grieving city this week.

“The first thing that went through my head was: They need us,” Nasir said.

He arrived in the early hours of Saturday, the same day Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder over the killings. Tarrant was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5 where police said he was likely to face more charges.

Christchurch is subdued. Bunches of flowers have been piled up outside the botanical gardens and underneath oak trees opposite one of the mosques, which are guarded by armed police.

The majority of victims were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The youngest was a three year old boy, born in New Zealand to Somali refugee parents.

The victims, after their bodies were removed from the crime scenes, had to be examined by investigators before they can be prepared for burial.

“It is a spiritual process, preparing the body to go into the next life,” said Taufan Mawardi, who is 38 and one of Nasir’s fellow volunteers.

“I’ve never personally done anything that’s got to do with violent crime, particularly bodies that have been riddled with bullet holes or knife wounds or whatever that may be. So it is a bit confronting as well, anticipating what it’s going to be like in there,” he said.

Eight teams of six people are carrying out the work of cleansing the bodies before burial.

“You start from the head, working down from the right to the left side, to the feet. The mouth and the nose have to be washed,” Nasir said.

Officials say they have released one body and that they hope to complete their examinations of the other 49 killed as soon as possible.

“As much as it is emotional, we’ve got a very good support network,” said Nasir.

“For me it is an honor. It is an honor to be washing these bodies.”

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Candles are flowers placed at a memorial site for victims of the mosque shootings are pictured at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch
Candles are flowers placed at a memorial site for victims of the mosque shootings are pictured at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 17, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

March 17, 2019

By Charlotte Greenfield and Tom Westbrook

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – New Zealand police promised a high-profile presence as schools and businesses in Christchurch reopened on Monday after a gunman killed 50 people at two mosques in the city last week, and the prime minister said she would start work on tightening gun laws.

Families of victims were still waiting for bodies of those killed to be released after post mortems, with some of the dead to be taken overseas for burial.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police would be out in force to assure people as they returned to their weekday lives in Christchurch, with 200 extra police staff on duty.

Helicopters flew back and forth over the city on a grey, overcast Monday morning.

“You will see a highly visible police presence on the streets, around your businesses, around your schools, and even in the air, right across the country,” Bush said on Sunday.

“So you will feel safe to go about what you want to do.”

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday. Tarrant was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5 where police said he was likely to face more charges.

Friday’s attack in Christchurch, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labeled terrorism, was the worst ever mass shooting in New Zealand.

Ardern’s cabinet will meet on Monday for the first time since the attacks, with a tightening of gun laws on the agenda.

“What we have a responsibility to pursue in the aftermath of this terrorist attack will include work around gun laws…there are other areas we will discuss as well,” she told One News.

Parts of the city, including schools, were put into lockdown on Friday after the shootings as authorities assessed whether there were further threats. Ardern said trauma support would be available at centers across the community and in schools.

Police said the airport in the southern city of Dunedin, had been reopened early on Monday after a suspicious item found on the airfield turned out to be a hoax object.

The airport had been closed on late on Sunday, with some flights diverted to other airports, after the object was found.

“The NZDF (New Zealand Defence Force) Explosive Ordinance team neutralized the hoax object, and the scene where it was found has been secured,” the police said in a statement.

“Enquiries are ongoing to establish who left the object.”

(Writing by John Mair; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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People pay their respects at a memorial site for victims of the mosque shootings at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch
A woman pays her respects at a memorial site for victims of the mosque shootings at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 17, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

March 17, 2019

By Doina Chiacu and Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Sunday championed a Fox News personality who made anti-Muslim remarks as his White House rejected any attempt to link the U.S. leader to a shooter who killed 50 people in two New Zealand mosques.

The violence against Muslims in New Zealand on Friday put a spotlight on Trump’s rhetoric about Islam and revived criticism of his handling of white supremacist violence.

“Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro,” Trump wrote in Twitter posts in which he blamed Democrats for trying to “silence a majority of our Country” and advocated supporters to “stop working soooo hard on being politically correct.”

At the same time, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney appeared on Sunday television news shows to tamp down criticism that Trump has not been strong enough in condemning hate speech and has fomented anti-Muslim sentiment.

“The president is not a white supremacist. I’m not sure how many times we have to say that,” Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday”.

On Friday, Trump condemned the “horrible massacre” at the mosques and the White House called the shooting a “vicious act of hate.” Asked by a reporter if he saw white nationalism as a rising threat around the world, Trump said: “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people.”

The accused gunman praised Trump in a manifesto as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”

Mulvaney said the mosque massacres were the work of a disturbed individual and it would not be fair to align the shooter with Trump or any other politician. “I disagree that there’s a causal link between Donald Trump being president and something like this happening in New Zealand,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Trump drew strong criticism in the days after a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 when he equated white supremacists with counter-protesters and said “both sides” were to blame.

Pirro, a supporter of the president, was rebuked by Fox News last Sunday over comments she made questioning whether a Muslim congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, was more loyal to Islamic sharia law than the U.S. Constitution.

Pirro’s show, “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” was removed from its usual time slot on Saturday night. Fox News has not confirmed Pirro was suspended and said it would not comment further on the matter on Sunday.

“Nice message for the president to send three days after a deadly terrorist attack on Muslims – standing up for a host who was suspended for anti-Muslim bigotry,” Matthew Miller, a Justice Department spokesman under Democratic President Barack Obama, said on Twitter.

Democratic lawmakers on Sunday called on Trump to defend Muslims publicly after the massacres and recognize the threat posed by white supremacists.

“His rhetoric doesn’t help,” Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic presidential candidate, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “At the very least, he is dividing people. They are using him as an excuse.”

On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump followed such statements as “I think Islam hates us,” with an effort a week into his presidency to ban citizens of several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. After court challenges, the administration revised the policy.

U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Muslim, noted that government data shows a spike in hate crimes in the last decade, citing mass shootings at a synagogue and a black church.

“He cannot just say it’s a small group of people,” she said on CNN. “We need to be speaking up against this and it has to start with him. He needs to do better by us and the country. He needs to speak up and condemn this very loud and very clearly.”

Hate crimes in the United States jumped 17 percent in 2017, according to FBI data.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker)

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Candles are flowers placed at a memorial site for victims of the mosque shootings are pictured at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch
Candles are flowers placed at a memorial site for victims of the mosque shootings are pictured at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 17, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

March 17, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Social media platforms must be able to react more quickly and stop the broadcast of live events, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party said on Sunday, after a gunman in New Zealand broadcast a shooting rampage last week.

A gunman broadcast live footage on Facebook of an attack that killed 50 Muslims in two mosques. The footage quickly spread across the internet and was still available on platforms including Twitter several hours later.

“The social media platforms which were actually playing a video made by this person who is accused of murder… all over the world, that surely has got to stop,” Jeremy Corbyn told Sky News on Sunday.

“Those that control and own social media platforms should deal with it straight away and stop these things being broadcast. But that brings into the whole issue of the question of regulation of social media.”

(Reporting by Kate Holton and Elizabeth Piper)

Source: OANN

Candles arranged in a heart-shape at a prayer session, as relatives mourn their kin, during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, at the Kenyan Embassy in Addis Ababa
Candles arranged in a heart-shape at a prayer session, as relatives mourn their kin, during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, at the Kenyan Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

March 17, 2019

By Maggie Fick

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – An aircraft hangar in the Ethiopian capital was filled with the white roses as aviation staff gathered on Sunday to remember the two pilots and six crew, who perished along with 149 passengers in the Ethiopia Airlines crash a week ago.

Weeping women held slender single stems in their shaking hands and banks of the flowers, traditionally used to mark the passing of lives, were placed in front of a row of empty coffins at the ceremony.

A band – some of the musicians in tears – played traditional Amharic music. The music stopped temporarily as band members ran to comfort bereaved relatives who lunged forward, wailing to grieve over the coffins.

“Our deep sorrow cannot bring them back,” an Orthodox priest in a traditional black turban and black robes told the crowd.

“This is the grief of the world,” he said, as Ethiopian Airlines staff sobbed in each other’s arms.

At least the crash had taken place in Ethiopia – the holy land – he said, prompting “amens” from the crowd.

In faraway Paris, investigators are examining black box recorders to determine why the aircraft plunged into field shortly after take off from Addis Ababa, searching for similarities to an October Lion Air crash that killed 189 people.

Both crashes involved the same model of plane – a Boeing 737 MAX 8 – causing aviation authorities to ground the model around the world after last week’s accident.

But in the Ethiopian capital, families and airline staff were focused on honoring their dead.

In the aircraft hangar, a banner offered “deepest condolences and comfort” to the families of the deceased crew.

A female flight attendant spoke warmly of the deceased captain, Yared Getachew.

“He was a really nice person, a good person, all the words you can find to talk about a good person apply. He was a very kind human being,” she said, before dissolving in tears.

A service for the families of passengers is scheduled later on Sunday. Relatives of the families – more than 30 nationalities were onboard – will gather beneath the pink stone spires of Addis Ababa’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The families have been given charred earth from the crash site to bury, because most of the bodies were destroyed by the impact and fire. Identifying the small remains that have been collected may take up to six months.

(GRAPHIC – Ethiopian Airlines crash: https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

(GRAPHIC – Grounded flights: https://tmsnrt.rs/2O6jQbI)

(Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrive for the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, on Commonwealth Day, in London, Britain March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

March 16, 2019

By Sarah Marsh

HAVANA (Reuters) – Prince Charles and his wife Camilla embark on a Caribbean tour on Sunday during which they will become the first British royals to visit Communist-run Cuba, even as the island faces rising hostility from Britain’s closest ally, the United States.

The royals will kick off their 12-day tour of ten islands with a visit to St Lucia, continuing onwards to Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada, according to their private office. Many of the islands are former British colonies and retain Charles’ mother Queen Elizabeth as head of state.

On March 24, the royal couple will land in Havana for a three-day visit at the request of the British government to underscore warming British-Cuban ties, where they will dine with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who replaced Raul Castro last year.

Charles, the heir to the British throne, already met the president last November on his 70th birthday, when Diaz-Canel was visiting London.

“This is an acknowledgement not only of Cuba’s people, but also of the government, and tells the United States we are not that isolated,” said Havana resident Cira Llerena, 70.

The visit forms part of a broader normalization of relations between the communist-run country and Western nations. Over the past five years, Cuba has taken steps towards an opening that has seen a growth in free enterprise, internet connectivity and foreign investment.

The initial enthusiasm over that opening, however, has subsided since U.S. President Donald Trump took power, vowing to roll back a detente initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama and returning to Cold War rhetoric.

The trip comes as the Trump administration is intensifying attempts to end what it views as Latin America’s “troika of tyranny” – the socialist governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba – and has sparked some controversy.

U.S. Senator Rick Scott in Florida, home to the largest community of Cuban exiles, had urged Charles publicly to cancel his trip and instead visit Florida to meet with dissidents.

In a video posted on Twitter, the British ambassador to Cuba, Antony Stokes, said the visit reflected Britain’s growing relationship with Cuba, including greater cooperation in fields like biotech and renewable energy.

Charles, a vocal environmentalist, will visit a solar farm in Cuba being built by a British company. He will also hear about the island’s plans to tackle climate change.

“That doesn’t mean we agree on everything – we don’t – but meaningful diplomacy can help us to talk more closely on issues both where we agree and where we differ,” Stokes said.

DIANA MEMORIAL IN HAVANA

While communism and royalty may seem unlikely companions, in a corner of Havana’s bustling historic center lies an unexpected homage to Britain’s monarchy: a small memorial garden for Princess Diana, Charles’ late first wife.

“She was very beloved in Cuba,” said Margarita Rego, 73, who works for the office of the city’s official historian and said Cubans had heard about her in magazines from abroad.

Cubans would sometimes lay flowers at the foot of a marble sculpture by artist Juan Narciso Quintanilla showing a sun representing her luminosity, she said.

Workers were busy pruning plants and fixing the fountain as Charles is expected to pay it a visit during a tour of Old Havana, she added.

But many in the former Spanish colony know little of the British royals, while others are indifferent.

“So many foreigners have come here and yet everything continues the same,” said Julio Poyato, 76, complaining about Cuba’s beleaguered, still highly centralized economy.

“There are no eggs, chicken, nothing at all,” said the former welder, who struggles to live off a pension of around $10 per month, referring to chronic shortages of basic goods in Cuba.

Charles is set to meet some of the entrepreneurs breathing new life into the economy, despite heavy restrictions, as well as a group of owners of British classic cars.

He and Camilla will conclude their Caribbean tour with a visit of the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

A boy places flowers at a memorial as a tribute to victims of the mosque attacks, near a police line outside Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch
A boy places flowers at a memorial as a tribute to victims of the mosque attacks, near a police line outside Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

March 16, 2019

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Bangladesh’s cricket team left New Zealand on Saturday, less than 24 hours after narrowly avoiding being involved in the worst mass shooting in the country, which now had to accept that sporting events were likely to have been changed for ever.

A lone gunman killed 49 people and wounded more than 20 during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch in the country’s worst mass shooting which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned as “a terrorist attack”.

The Bangladesh team were on a bus that was approaching the Al Noor mosque, where 41 people died, on the eve of the third test at nearby Hagley Oval when the shooting began.

The test match, which had been scheduled to start on Saturday, was canceled after the shooting and Bangladesh’s tour abandoned.

Violent crime is extremely rare in New Zealand and the Bangladesh Cricket Board said the attacks had now changed their perception about team security on tours.

“We’ll demand proper security wherever our team goes in future,” BCB President Nazmul Hassan told reporters in Dhaka on Friday. “If a country provides proper security as per our demand, then we will go otherwise not.

“I can say that everything will change after this incident.”

Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari also suggested the world governing body, the International Cricket Council, should possibly take a harder line against hosting matches in New Zealand.

“ICC shd take note & perhaps suspend int cricket in NZ after this act of terrorism?” Mazari said on Twitter.

Pakistan has been unable to host matches at home since 2009, when gunmen attacked the bus carrying the Sri Lanka team to a match in Lahore. Six of the visiting team were wounded and eight locals killed.

New Zealand have not toured Pakistan since 2002 following a suicide bombing outside their hotel in Karachi and instead played their games in the United Arab Emirates.

They also abandoned a tour of Sri Lanka in 1987 following a bombing near their hotel in Colombo.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said the country would now also need to accept they were no longer immune from acts of extreme violence and that would need to be factored in when they hosted sports events and teams.

“This is shocking. This will change the entire fabric of international sports hosting. I think everything changes now,” he said.

“We’ll certainly be having to look at our security in depth. I think the idea of New Zealand being a safe haven is gone now.

“We now have to be very, very vigilant – all the authorities and sporting organizations, absolutely.”

(Writing by Greg Stutchbury; Additional reporting by Ruma Paul in Dhaka and Saad Sayeed in Pakistan; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A man walks underneath a huge Franco-era coat of arms at the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) monument where over 30,000 fighters from both sides of Spain's civil war are buried, in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, outside Madrid
FILE PHOTO: A man walks underneath a huge Franco-era coat of arms at the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) mausoleum and basilica which serves as a tomb for former dictator Francisco Franco and where over 30,000 fighters from both sides of Spain’s civil war are buried, in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, outside Madrid, Spain, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo

March 15, 2019

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain will exhume the body of dictator Francisco Franco to remove it from a state mausoleum seen by many as a monument to fascism, the Socialist government announced on Friday, in one of its last moves before a snap election due on April 28.

The plan to move divides opinion in a country conflicted about the dictatorship that ended with his death in 1975. The exhumation has been delayed several times, but the government said on Friday it would go ahead on June 10.

Franco will be taken from the Valley of the Fallen mausoleum to be reburied next to his wife, Carmen Polo, in the family tomb at Mingorrubio El Pardo, a state cemetery where various political figures are buried, in a ceremony without media coverage, Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said.

His family opposes the exhumation and has taken the issue to courts, but the Supreme Court has been silent so far.

“The dictator’s family and those around them have made use of every available legal instrument … forcing delays in the process,” Calvo said after cabinet agreed to push ahead.

She added that if a new government emerging from next month’s election were to try to cancel the reburial, it would first have to change the so-called historical memory law, approved in 2007, that condemns the Franco regime and orders the removal of its symbols.

El Independiente newspaper quoted Luis Felipe Utrera-Molina, a lawyer for the Franco family, as dismissing the decision as “fireworks” and saying the government could not legally access Franco’s burial place to exhume the remains.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez promised to remove Franco’s remains before the end of his term, one of several high-profile measures intended to appeal to left-wing voters.

The Socialists have long sought to transform the Valley of the Fallen into a memorial to victims of the civil war in which 500,000 combatants and civilians were killed.

The party is ahead in opinion polls but well short of parliament majority. [nE8N1YJ02O]

Support for far-right party Vox, which wants Franco’s remains to stay where they are, has been growing since it won seats in an Andalusian election in 2018 – in the first electoral success for a far-right party since Spain’s return to democracy.

Franco’s family had said that if his remains are removed, he should be reinterred at the Almudena Roman Catholic Cathedral in central Madrid, where his daughter is buried.

(Reporting by Paul Day and Jose Elias Rodriguez; writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Robin Pomeroy)

Source: OANN

Military honour guards attend a flag-lowering ceremony at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei
Military honour guards attend a flag-lowering ceremony at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

March 15, 2019

By James Pomfret and Yimou Lee

HONG KONG/TAIPEI (Reuters) – As Beijing grows wary of pro-independence groups seeking to forge closer ties in Hong Kong and Taiwan, activists say they are coming under increased surveillance and harassment from pro-China media outlets and unofficial “operatives.”

Visits to Taiwan in January by several Hong Kong activists including Tony Chung generated heavy coverage by two pro-China newspapers, including detailed reports of their movements and meetings.

The coverage prompted Taiwan to investigate the activities of the Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao newspapers on “national security” grounds.

The government found that the papers committed “unlawful” acts, including invasive surveillance, and spread “fake news.” Officials said journalists from those papers would be banned from traveling to Taiwan for up to three years if the media outlets did not provide a “reasonable explanation” for their activities there.

A Reuters examination of both papers’ articles show that at least 25 people linked to anti-China and independence causes have been the subject of intense coverage, including covert photography and the reporting of personal details, in Taiwan during the past three years.

Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Such papers, which typically take a pro-Beijing stance, would be expected to pay close attention to activists pursuing causes that upset the Chinese government.

But activists say their coverage stretches into the realm of harassment, including surveillance on overseas trips, and publishing details of their private lives, including homes, work and daily movements.

“It’s obvious that there’s intervention from outside forces with an aim to intimidate people,” Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng told Reuters, referring to the coverage from the pro-China papers.

The coverage raised concerns about the activities of “Chinese and Hong Kong intelligence operatives” on the island, Chiu added, including people working for pro-China media outlets.

Activists have also been physically attacked during trips to Taiwan.

In July 2018, two Taiwanese were convicted of assaulting Hong Kong activists meeting with independence advocates in Taiwan. Three Hong Kong men were later named in Taiwanese media coverage as helping facilitate the attack.

“I was followed until I almost left the airport,” Andy Chan, one of the Hong Kong activists, said of his time in Taiwan. “There are operatives for China everywhere.”

BEIJING WORRIED

China considers Hong Kong and Taiwan to be inalienable parts of its territory, and has branded pro-independence activists on both sides of the Taiwan Strait as “separatists.”

In an annual report to the U.S. Congress, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission noted in November that since president Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, Beijing has feared “collusion between ‘separatist forces’ in Taiwan and Hong Kong.”

“Beijing is trying everything in its power to prevent this,” said a security source in the Taiwan government, who declined to be named given the sensitivity of the issue.

The source and a second Taiwanese security official involved in national security say China has been quietly ramping up the number of intelligence operatives in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Wu Jieh-min, a Taiwan scholar who has researched civil movements in Hong Kong and Taiwan, says he was barred from entering Hong Kong for an academic conference in late 2016.

Beijing is “very worried about the exchange of ideas. If the ideas of civil society are not hindered, their power will be greatly enhanced,” said Wu, a research fellow with the government-backed Academia Sinica.

Wu noted that mass, protracted protests in Taiwan and Hong Kong in 2014 that railed against Chinese interference were a catalyst for deepening activist ties on both sides.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office and main representative body in Hong Kong, the Liaison Office, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Wen Wei Po has also paid close attention to foreigners in contact with Hong Kong activists.

In December, Wen Wei Pao reporters and photographers covered the daily activities of Kevin Carrico, an Australia-based political scientist, during a visit to Hong Kong in which he met with independence advocates, and featured him on the front page.

“I was a little creeped out by the fact that the article discussed my presentation. There were only 15 people there,” he said of a private meeting in the basement of a Hong Kong building.

He said there had been “a real escalation of Beijing’s political operations in Hong Kong.”

HOTEL ATTACK

Activists in Hong Kong and Taiwan describe an increase in unknown individuals shadowing their meetings and events, sometimes taking photographs or recording their conversations.

In some cases activists have been attacked, and the assailants identified.

Two Taiwanese, Zhang Xiuye and Jhang Jhih-min, were found guilty last July of a 2016 assault on two Hong Kong independence activists, Andy Chan and Jason Chow, at a Taipei hotel.

Zhang and Jhang were convicted of defamation and fined T$6,000 ($195) and T$8,000 ($260) respectively; Jhang was also found guilty of “intimidating and endangering the safety” of Chan.

Zhang and Jhang were among at least eight people who beat Chan and Chow and called them China “traitors” at the Caesar Park Hotel, according to Taipei court documents.

Chan told Reuters he was at the hotel to meet with Ouyang Jin, a journalist with a little-known Hong Kong publication called Pacific Magazine.

Zhang is a senior member of the Chinese Concentric Patriotism Party, which advocates unification of China and Taiwan, according to the group’s website.

“It was purely an accident” that they ran into Chan at the hotel, Zhang told Reuters.

($1 = 7.8484 Hong Kong dollars)

($1 = 30.7550 Taiwan dollars)

(Additional reporting by Jessie Pang in Hong Kong and Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Source: OANN

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

Americans paid tribute to four-legged heroes on Wednesday in honor of K9 Veterans Day.

March 13, 2019, was the 77th anniversary of the founding of the K9 Corps, also known as the War Dog Program. Since that time, thousands of dogs have been through the rigorous training program and been battle-tested alongside their human counterparts in every major conflict since.

Over 1,500 dogs served in Korea, over 4,000 deployed to Vietnam, and thousands more have served honorably in Afghanistan and Iraq in recent years. (RELATED: Canine Partner Of Murdered Officer Will Retire, Live With His Widow And Son)

The National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, put a unique spin on the holiday by hoisting a specially-made American flag — colored the way dogs see it.

While dogs have only officially served on the battlefield since 1942, one of the most famous war dogs in history actually served three decades earlier in World War I.

Sergeant Stubby was the name given to the stray pit bull mix who became the first dog ever given military rank. The tenacious terrier, after being stowed away on a ship to France by a Private Robert Conroy, soon became a hero. He sniffed out incoming enemy fire and gas attacks on the battlefields of France. He even reportedly sniffed out a German soldier disguised in a U.S. military uniform.

The story was retold in Sgt. Stubby’s New York Times obituary:

In the Chemin des Dames, Stubby captured a German spy and saved a doughboy [slang for a United States infantryman] from a gas attack. Hearing a sound in the stillness of the night, the dog, who guarded sleeplessly, stole out of the trenches and recognized–a German. Attempts by the German to deceive the dog were futile. Seizing his prisoner by the breeches, Stubby held on until help arrived.

WATCH:

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Source: The Daily Caller

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at memorial event for Kasur Gyari
FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at a memorial event for Kasur Gyari, former special envoy of Dalay Lama to the U.S., on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

March 13, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday the House of Representatives will not consider a Republican bill to amend a federal national emergencies law after President Donald Trump used the declaration in a bid to get money for his long-promised border wall.

“Republican Senators are proposing new legislation to allow the President to violate the Constitution just this once in order to give themselves cover.

“The House will not take up this legislation to give President Trump a pass,” the Democratic leader said in a statement. “The House will not take up this legislation to give President Trump a pass.”

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Source: OANN

Japan Post Co. Ltd. chief stamp designer Akira Tamaki shows off the sheets of commemorative stamps for Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo
Japan Post Co. Ltd. chief stamp designer Akira Tamaki, shows off the sheets of commemorative stamps for Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, featuring the Olympic and Paralympic mascots Miraitowa and Someity as well as an image of the new Olympic Stadium, in Tokyo, Japan March 5, 2019. Picture taken March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

March 12, 2019

By Jack Tarrant

TOKYO (Reuters) – Stamps celebrating next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games went on sale on Tuesday, 500 days before the start of the summer showpiece.

The stamps, released by Japan Post Co., feature the Olympic and Paralympic mascots Miraitowa and Someity as well as an image of the new Olympic Stadium, which is still under construction.

One million sheets of 10 stamps are on sale, priced at 920 yen ($8.26), which includes a donation of 100 yen towards preparations for the Games.

Dozens queued outside the main post office near Tokyo station to get their hands on the special stamps.

“Each stamp has 10 yen donation to operations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020 so I would like to contribute to the Games even if a small amount,” said 77-year-old Masaki Nakamura at Tokyo station.

“I like the mascots,” said Yu Anami, who had come to the station early to get her hands on the stamps.

“I think that there are few stamps with illustrated designs so this would be a good memorial item.”   

The designer of the stamps, Akira Tamaki, said he had taken inspiration from the commemorative stamps made for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, when Japan last held the Summer Games.

“What we wish is to design and produce a stamp to be proud of as Japan-made because whole world is looking forward to it,” Tamaki told Reuters before the stamps went on sale.

“I was inspired not by the (1964) stamp design itself but rather by the fact that it was a national project and people were all excited for it.

“I saw the power of the era and I believe that is something I should strongly sense and inherit.”

In 1964, the Games provided the city with the opportunity to rebranding and shake off a war-ravaged reputation and show a modern face to the world.

This time, the legacy is likely to be more intangible but Japan Post hope the stamps can further ramp up enthusiasm for the Games.

“This will be the second Olympics hosted by this country,” said Shinoda Atsushi, the executive in charge of stamp production at Japan Post.

“I hope Japan will enjoy the enthusiasm through the second Olympic games.

“It would be great if our stamps become a part of creating such an enthusiastic atmosphere.”

The Olympics begin in Tokyo on July 24 next year.

($1 = 111.3900 yen)

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; additional reporting by Masashi Kato; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Source: OANN

Jessica Kramer | Contributor

Hoda Muthana, one of the many women who joined ISIS, wants to return to the United States after being married to three now-dead ISIS fighters, saying her radicalism was “an ideology that was really just a phase.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation’s “Here’s The Thing” explains why Muthana’s adult decision to go shouldn’t be taken so flippantly just because she’s a woman.

Muthana previously called for Americans to commit acts of violence and terrorism on days like Memorial Day and Veterans Day on Twitter. When questioned about that, she responded with “her lawyer told [her] not to speak about these things.”

Find out why her story is so problematic. (RELATED: The ISIS Bride Is Our New Secret Weapon! (Satire)

Watch some of TheDCNF’s other videos and subscribe to our YouTube channel to make sure you never miss out on a great video.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

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People pray to mourn victims at the time when the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off Japan's coast in 2011, in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture
People pray to mourn victims at 2:46 PM (05:46 GMT), the time when the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off Japan’s coast in 2011, in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, Japan March 11, 2019, to mark the eighth year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands and set off a nuclear crisis. Kyodo/via REUTERS

March 11, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Bells rang and sirens sounded on Monday as Japan observed a moment of silence to commemorate the eighth anniversary of a massive earthquake and tsunami that left more than 20,000 people dead or missing, and triggered triple nuclear meltdowns.

The quake of magnitude nine on March 11, 2011 struck north of the Japanese capital, unleashing a tsunami that engulfed large swathes of the Pacific coast and caused the world’s worst nuclear accident in 25 years.

“Even now, 14,000 people are enduring protracted, inconvenient lives in such places as temporary housing,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a memorial service in Tokyo.

“We will provide seamless support … and accelerate reconstruction.”

At the ceremony, Yuki Takahashi, who lost his mother in the tsunami, said, “Keeping in mind precious lives that were lost, I’ll keep on going to pass on lessons learned from the disaster.”

In a message to the dead, Takahashi, 41, added, “I’ll no longer shed tears. Please watch over us as we move toward reconstruction.”The dismantling of Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, the decontamination of affected areas, and compensation are estimated to cost 21.5 trillion yen ($193.3 billion).

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas, situated on the “Ring of Fire” arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that partly encircles the Pacific Ocean.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

Pope Francis denounced anti-Semitism inside and outside the Catholic Church Friday after House Democrats’ opposed decrying anti-Semitism without also denouncing criticism of Muslims.

Francis condemned the “wickedness and fury” and “depraved hatred” inherent in the worldwide resurgence of anti-Semitism during a meeting with the American Jewish Committee (AJC), according to The Associated Press. The pontiff also warned Christian faithful that holding to anti-Semitic views is “a rejection of one’s own origins, a complete contradiction,” given that Jesus and his disciples were Jewish and the theology of the church is rooted in historical Judaism. (RELATED: Trump: Democrats Are Now ‘Anti-Jewish,’ ‘Ant-Israel’ Party)

Francis’ unequivocal denunciation of anti-Semitism came days after House Democrats delayed voting on a resolution against anti-Semitism sparked by comments from Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to the House, in which she claimed that supporters of Israel were loyal to a foreign country and therefore could not be fully loyal to the U.S.

Democrats delayed the vote in reaction to progressive representatives like New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who objected to the resolution on the grounds that it unfairly targeted Omar. Progressives also insisted that the resolution against anti-Semitism denounce anti-Muslim bias — a demand that garnered criticism in light of the surge of anti-Semitic hate crimes in the U.S. compared to the relatively small amount of hate crimes committed against Muslims.

House Democrats expanded the resolution to include mention of Muslims, Catholics and the Japanese, in addition to Jews, changing it from a resolution against anti-Semitism to a resolution against hate in general, with no mention of Omar. The House voted to pass the resolution Thursday, but almost two dozen Republicans voted against it, saying that it was watered down, ineffective and should mention Omar.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 06: Minnesota Democratic Congressional Candidate Ilhan Omar arrives at an election night results party on November 6, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Minnesota Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar arrives at an election night results party on Nov. 6, 2018 in Minneapolis. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

“A watered-down condemnation of hate does little to alleviate the hurt caused by Rep. Omar’s continuous anti-Semitic rhetoric and beliefs,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said in a statement.

“This diluted condemnation only highlights the real problem in the Democrat caucus: Speaker Pelosi awarded a known anti-Semite with a coveted spot on the Foreign Affairs Committee. The House has now voted twice in the first two months of the House Democrat Majority to condemn hateful ideology in response to Rep. Omar’s remarks, yet Speaker Pelosi has not removed Rep. Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee,” he added.

The pope, however, specifically decried anti-Semitism days after responding to calls from Jewish groups to open the Vatican archives of Pius XII, who served as pope during World War II and stood accused of failing to openly oppose the Holocaust. Francis agreed to open the archives.

John Shapiro, president of the AJC, hailed Francis’ response.

“We look forward especially to the involvement of the leading Holocaust memorial institutes in Israel and the U.S. to objectively evaluate as best as possible the historical record of that most terrible of times, to acknowledge both the failures as well as valiant efforts during the period of the Shoah,” Shapiro said.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

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FILE PHOTO: Hungary PM Viktor Orban
FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest, Hungary, February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo/File Photo

March 8, 2019

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday his ruling nationalist Fidesz party may drop out of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) amid a row over his government’s anti-Brussels media campaign.

On Tuesday EPP group leader Manfred Weber demanded Fidesz take down billboards attacking European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker which were part of its campaign ahead of European Parliament elections in May.

Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas later said the posters would be replaced next week by others touting Orban’s plans to lift the birth rate and that Fidesz wanted to stay in the EPP.

Speaking to public radio, Orban said he would still prefer to reform the EPP, swinging it towards an anti-immigration platform, but also raised the prospect of Fidesz quitting the EPP, which will meet on March 20 to discuss the matter.

“The debate may end up with (Fidesz) finding its place not within but outside the People’s Party,” Orban said in an interview. “If we need to start something new … then obviously the first place to hold talks will be in Poland.”

Orban noted that Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is not a member of the EPP.

He said he talked with both Juncker and Weber on Thursday and on Sunday he planned to visit Poland, a major regional ally.

Warsaw and Budapest have previously vowed to block any sanctions against either eastern European Union member state over what critics see as a backsliding on democratic standards.

Orban said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki would visit Budapest on the March 15 national holiday next week, when Orban is due to hold a memorial speech he has often laced with criticism of Brussels.

The head of the PiS party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland’s de facto leader, is Orban’s ally and the two have met occasionally to discuss European affairs.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs and Sandor Peto; Editing by Robert Birsel and Catherine Evans)

Source: OANN

President Donald Trump attacked Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., on Twitter early Wednesday during his visit to Vietnam, referring to him as “Da Nang Dick”—a nickname mocking the senator’s false claim of having fought in the Vietnam War.

Trump had been touring Vietnam and meeting with the country’s leaders ahead of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi when the president excoriated the Democratic senator.

TRUMP, KIM JONG UN’S SUMMIT IN VIETNAM: WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE LEADERS’ SECOND SUMMIT

“I have now spent more time in Vietnam than Da Nang Dick Blumenthal, the third rate Senator from Connecticut (how is Connecticut doing?)” Trump wrote. “His war stories of his heroism in Vietnam were a total fraud – he was never even there. We talked about it today with Vietnamese leaders!”

Blumenthal, who was elected to the Senate in 2010, regularly referenced his supposed Vietnam service in the 2000s, when he was Connecticut attorney general.

“I served during the Vietnam era,” Blumenthal reportedly said at a Vietnam War memorial in 2008. “I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even the physical abuse.”

TRUMP SLAMS ‘DA NANG DICK’ BLUMENTHAL, QUESTIONS WHY HE’S ON SENATE JUDICIARY AFTER VIETNAM SCANDAL

Blumenthal reportedly obtained at least five military deferments between 1965 and 1970. He eventually served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, but did not deploy to Vietnam.

In 2010, Blumenthal admitted that he had regrettably "misspoken" about his service, and takes "full responsibility."

Blumenthal is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and supported legislation last year to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s job.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Trump told the New York Times in 2016 that he had his draft deferred after a doctor wrote “a very strong letter” about the bone spurs in his heals.

Meanwhile, Trump and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong presided over the signings of several commercial trade deals affecting the airline industries of their two countries.

Trump is expected to meet with Kim later Wednesday to discuss the Hermit Kingdom’s denuclearization. The two leaders previously met last June in Singapore.

Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain and Dom Calicchio contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

NHL: Calgary Flames at New York Islanders
Feb 26, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund (11) celebrates with Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano (5) in front of New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) after scoring a goal during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

February 27, 2019

Mikael Backlund and Rasmus Andersson scored early in the third period Tuesday night for the Calgary Flames, who remained red hot with a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders in Uniondale, N.Y.

Matthew Tkachuk opened the scoring for the Western Conference-leading Flames, who have won a season-high six straight, including the first two games of an Eastern Conference road trip. Calgary earlier had two winning streaks of five straight games.

Flames goalie Mike Smith made 26 saves.

Josh Bailey scored for the Islanders, who lost for the third time in the past four games — a skid that began with a 4-2 loss at Calgary last Wednesday — to fall into a tie for first place in the Metropolitan Division with the Washington Capitals.

Wild 3, Jets 2

Minnesota scored two goals in the last 87 seconds of the game to steal a road victory over Winnipeg.

After Jason Zucker’s power-play goal at 18:33 of the third period tied the score, Joel Eriksson Ek forced in a rebound just 26 seconds later for the winner. Eriksson Ek’s goal stood after both a video review and a coach’s challenge from the Winnipeg bench.

Ryan Donato and Eric Staal each had two assists for the Wild, who extended their winning streak to four games. The Jets got goals from Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele.

Coyotes 4, Panthers 3 (SO)

Nick Cousins, Alex Galchenyuk and Vinnie Hinostroza scored in a shootout as host Arizona won its fourth straight game, defeating Florida.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the Panthers in the shootout, but Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper stopped Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov, and that was the difference in a wild game.

Arizona hit the post three times in the final two frantic minutes of regulation, failing to score each time. Both Kuemper and Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo made spectacular saves in overtime.

Capitals 7, Senators 2

T.J. Oshie scored twice in a four-goal second period as Washington defeated visiting Ottawa.

The Senators dominated the early minutes and scored the game’s first two goals, but it was all Capitals after that. Washington scored twice late in the first period to tie it and added four more in less than eight minutes in the second.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Brett Connolly, Lars Eller and Tom Wilson each finished with one goal and one assist for the Capitals, who also got a goal from John Carlson. Anthony Duclair and Oscar Lindberg were the scorers for Ottawa.

Flyers 5, Sabres 2

Oskar Lindblom, Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, Travis Sanheim and Claude Giroux each scored a goal to lead host Philadelphia past Buffalo.

Giroux also added an assist as the Flyers earned their fifth straight win over the Sabres in Philadelphia. Goaltender Brian Elliott made 34 saves as the Flyers won their second in a row.

Jack Eichel and Casey Mittelstadt each scored a goal for the Sabres.

Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 2

Jared McCann scored twice to lead visiting Pittsburgh past Columbus.

Sidney Crosby had a goal and assist, and Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin also scored for the Penguins, who ended a two-game losing streak. They have won seven in a row against the Blue Jackets. Goaltender Matt Murray stopped 21 of 23 Columbus shots.

Oliver Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson scored for the Blue Jackets, whose two-game winning streak ended. Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves for Columbus.

Hurricanes 6, Kings 1

Dougie Hamilton scored two goals as Carolina won its ninth game in 11 outings by routing Los Angeles at Raleigh, N.C.

Sebastian Aho, Micheal Ferland, Jaccob Slavin and Teuvo Teravainen also scored for the Hurricanes. Teravainen also provided three assists, while Jordan Staal assisted three times and Hamilton had one assist.

Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek stopped 22 shots, blanking the Kings until the final eight minutes. Dustin Brown scored for Los Angeles off an assist from Alex Iafallo.

Bruins 4, Sharks 1

Brad Marchand recorded his franchise-record-tying 25th short-handed goal and added two assists as host Boston extended its point streak to 14 games (10-0-4) with a victory over San Jose.

David Krejci collected a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who defeated San Jose for the sixth straight time. Boston’s Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk scored 37 seconds apart in the second period, and Jaroslav Halak finished with 19 saves to improve to 4-0-2 in his past six starts.

San Jose’s Erik Karlsson exited early in the second period after appearing to aggravate a groin injury that had sidelined him for the Sharks’ 5-3 win over Detroit on Sunday. Karlsson returned midway into the period, but Marchand breezed by him before backhanding the puck past Martin Jones (28 saves) at 12:28 to tie Rick Middleton for the most short-handed goals in franchise history.

Canadiens 8, Red Wings 1

Andrew Shaw notched his first career hat trick, Max Domi had two goals and three assists, and visiting Montreal pounded Detroit.

Jonathan Drouin collected four assists while Tomas Tatar, Brendan Gallagher and Joel Armia also scored for Montreal. Carey Price made 28 saves as the Canadiens defeated Detroit for the third time in three meetings this season.

Anthony Mantha scored for the Red Wings, who have lost six straight. Detroit starting goaltender Jimmy Howard was pulled early from his third start in a row after allowing six goals on 22 shots in the first two periods.

Golden Knights 4, Stars 1

Max Pacioretty scored twice, including the deciding goal with 5:08 to play, and Marc-Andre Fleury recorded 23 saves as Vegas defeated visiting Dallas to snap a three-game losing streak.

Pacioretty’s second goal came as he swept behind the net and lifted the puck off the stick of Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop, then tried to center the puck. Instead, his pass deflected off the Stars’ Tyler Seguin and trickled across the goal line before Bishop could swipe it away.

Vegas earned just its fourth win in the past 14 games (4-9-1), while Dallas fell to 3-6-1 in its past 10 outings. Bishop stopped 44 shots for the Stars, who got a goal from Roope Hintz. Brayden McNabb and Nate Schmidt had goals for the Golden Knights.

Blues 2, Predators 0

Tyler Bozak broke a scoreless tie with 7:25 left in regulation, and rookie Jordan Binnington needed to make just 19 saves for his fifth shutout as St. Louis beat visiting Nashville.

The Blues were finally rewarded for outshooting the Predators 44-19 in the game as Bozak fired a Vladimir Tarasenko pass just as an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Nashville’s Ryan Johansen ended. Alex Pietrangelo added an empty-netter for the Blues.

Binnington continued his stellar play, improving to 7-0-0 with a 1.55 goals-against average at home as a starter for St. Louis. Juuse Saros was just as tough, making 42 saves for Nashville, which was shut out for the second time in three games.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

  • The Supreme Court will decide whether a cross-shaped veterans memorial violates the Constitution.
  • A federal appeals court found the memorial offends the constitutional ban on religious favoritism.
  • These are the stories of three men named on the monument.

Just two days before Christmas, roughly 100 years ago, a family in Bladensburg, Maryland, received word from Washington informing them that their only son, John Henry Seaburn Jr., was killed in action on the fields in France.

Seaburn would later become one of 49 names of local boys etched into a pedestal holding up a gigantic 40-foot Celtic cross, which sits still today at the center of a roundabout in Bladensburg, Maryland.

That First World War veterans memorial — known as the Peace Cross — is the subject of landmark litigation concerning religion in public life. The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday as to whether or not it violates the Constitution’s ban on religious favoritism.

Three local residents brought a lawsuit against the state parks commission that administers the memorial in 2014. They won a favorable judgment in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

That litigation notwithstanding, Bladensburg’s hallowed roll is a rich history of the period.

Among those 49 we highlight here only three: an infamous expatriate, whose lost honor was restored on distant atolls; a black infantryman whose country did not permit him to muster under its flag; and a son of the American Revolution.

Henry Hulbert

The life and times of Henry Hulbert track the heady days of U.S. expansionism at the turn of the 19th century. A son of the English mercantile class, he was born in Kingston-Upon-Hull, Yorkshire, in 1867, reared at a grammar school for aspiring sons of the bourgeoisie, and married into a well-placed colonial family at 21.

His promising prospects dimmed thereafter — his appointment to the civil service in the British Far East terminated when he confessed to an affair with his sister-in-law. Disgraced and notorious, Hulbert pushed off for North America around 1897 to take up prospecting in the remote stretches of the Yukon.

The U.S. was on a war footing when Hulbert reached California in 1898. Seeing war with Spain was likely, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Stationed aboard the USS Philadelphia, he was dispatched to the south Pacific in 1899 where he saw action during the Samoan crisis, a dispute between the U.S., the U.K., and Germany as to control of the Samoan Islands.

A vastly outnumbered Marine expeditionary force in which Hulbert was embedded engaged German-backed Samoan fighters at the Second Battle of Vailele in April 1899. Though the Marines and their native allies were soundly defeated during that engagement, Hulbert’s commanding officers commended his gallant defense of the American retreat, writing that his performance against overwhelming odds was “worthy of all praise.” He received the congressional Medal of Honor in 1901.

Henry Hulbert, wearing the Medal of Honor, is seen in this undated photo. (Credit: U.S. Marine Corp)

Henry Hulbert, wearing the Medal of Honor, is seen in this undated photo. (Credit: U.S. Marine Corp)

Hulbert periodically saw combat during subsequent postings to Panama, Guam, and the Philippines. After several terms of service abroad, he was detailed to the staff of Marine Commandant George Barnett in Washington, D.C. During this period he lived in Riverdale, Maryland, with his second wife Victoria Akelitys, establishing his connection to Prince George’s County.

Admired at Marine Headquarters and deeply knowledgeable about many dimensions of military life, some sources indicate that a specially composed examining board designated Hulbert as the Corp’s first Marine Gunner in March 1917. (RELATED: Media Alarmed After Justice Thomas Calls For Review Of Landmark Free Press Ruling)

When the U.S. entered World War I, the 50-year-old Hulbert agitated for an appointment in France despite his advanced age. Taking command of a platoon in the 5th Marine Regiment, he participated in the brutal fighting at Belleau Wood and Soissons during the summer of 1918. Promotions and official citations for acts of bravery followed.

Such was Hulbert’s reputation for ferocity and excellence that Gen. John Pershing, commander of U.S. forces in Europe, personally recommended him for commission as a captain.

The English exile died in the service of his adopted country at Blanc Mont Ridge near Reims on Oct. 4, 1918. His remains were interred at Arlington National Cemetery in September 1921.

Four months before Hulbert’s death in France, a Clemson-class naval destroyer left the Norfolk Navy Yard bearing his name. The USS Hulbert was moored at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Naval History and Heritage Command believes the Hulbert was the first American ship to return fire on the Japanese attackers and is credited with the destruction of one torpedo bomber. The ship received two battle stars for service during the American island-hopping campaign in the south Pacific before its decommissioning in 1945.

John Henry Seaburn Jr.

It was no small gesture to list the black and white war dead together on a Maryland veterans memorial in 1925. Just one month after the Peace Cross’s dedication, 30,000 Klansmen — “22 abreast and 14 rows deep” by The Washington Post’s telling — staged one of the largest displays of hate in the nation’s history just seven miles south of the monument, demonstrating over several days on the National Mall.

Though segregated in the service, organizers named the Prince George’s county fallen together on the memorial.

One of the area’s black volunteers was John Henry Seaburn Jr., born in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 27, 1897. Data from the 1910 census shows that the family relocated to Brentwood, Maryland, in Prince George’s County. His father claimed employment as a fireman and both parents indicated they were illiterate. An ancestral connection to slavery is possible, as Seaburn Sr. was born in the border state of Maryland, while his wife Annie was from Virginia, a slave state.

A 1921 report in the Washington Evening Star shows that Seaburn served in the Washington, D.C., National Guard as a private stationed on the Mexican border. Publication of the so-called Zimmerman telegram in January 1917 inflamed American opinion against Mexico — the secret communique from Berlin to Mexico City promised economic aid and the recovery of lost territory in the American southwest if Mexico joined the central powers.

Subsequent to his border tour, Seaburn deployed to France in March 1918 in the 372nd Infantry Regiment, disembarking at St. Nazaire. His unit was a segregated African-American regiment placed under French command, attached to the so-called “Red Hand” division. The entire regiment received the Croix de Guerre, a French military decoration, for services rendered during the Meuse-Argonne advance, the last Allied offensive of the war.

John Henry Seaburn as seen in this undated photo. (Credit: Courtesy of First Liberty Institute)

John Henry Seaburn is seen in this undated photo. (Credit: Courtesy of First Liberty Institute)

Seaburn was killed in action Oct. 4, 1918 — the same day as Capt. Hulbert — near Monthois. A contemporaneous account of the 372nd’s movements from a black chaplain named Arrington Helm indicates that the German army met the regiment’s advance with determined opposition and heavy fire. His family was notified of his burial two days before Christmas.

The division commander, Gen. Mariano Goybet, issued a letter four days after Seaburn’s death commending the regiment’s performance in the combat of the previous week.

“Allow me, my dear friends of all ranks, Americans and French, to thank you from the bottom of my heart as a chief and a soldier for the expression of gratitude for the glory which you have lent our good 157th Division,” the letter reads. “I had full confidence in you but you have surpassed my hopes.”

Initially buried in a battlefield plot, Seaburn’s remains were transferred to the U.S. after the war. He was laid to rest with military honors in a segregated section of Arlington National Cemetery in July 1921. An American Legion post in Bladensburg was named in his memory.

The Seaburn family commemorated his sacrifice with a poem in the Washington Evening Star on the sixth anniversary of his death.

“Your memory is as sweet today as in the hour you passed away,” the poem reads. (RELATED: Judges Can’t Rule From The Dead, Supreme Court Rules)

Thomas Fenwick

Pfc. Thomas Fenwick was the scion of an old Maryland family. Among his ancestors were Col. Ignatius Fenwick, a Revolutionary War patriot, and Bishop Edward Fenwick, O.P., colloquially styled “the apostle of Ohio,” who founded the first Dominican chapter house in North America.

Fenwick, a much-watched pitcher for the local baseball team, enlisted as an infantryman in the Maryland National Guard, which devolved to the 115th Infantry, in the spring of 1917. Like his family, his infantry unit had old Maryland patrimony.

Some regiment historians argue that the 115th was first composed in 1775 when Capt. Michael Cresap raised a company of riflemen on the Maryland frontier after the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord. The 115th’s motto — “rally ’round the flag” — derives from the Civil War Battle of Front Royal, where Maryland infantry heroically stood their ground despite certain annihilation.

At 22, Fenwick deployed for France aboard the USS Covington as a machine gunner. His tour of duty was short-lived. Fenwick’s niece, Mary Ann Fenwick LaQuay, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Fenwick died one week after exposure to a deadly chemical agent on Oct. 7, 1918. As with the Seaburn family, the Fenwicks were informed of Thomas’s death at Christmas.

“He was in a trench when the Germans used gas,” LaQuay told TheDCNF. “But he didn’t die right then and there. Because of the gassing, he got pneumonia, and he died of pneumonia.” 

LaQuay’s home sits on the same street as the house Fenwick left when he enlisted. She says the Peace Cross is a proxy gravestone for her family.

“I feel like my uncle is buried there, even though he is in Arlington,” she told TheDCNF. “Every time I go by it, I remember him. That’s why that cross was put there — so that we don’t forget those 49 men.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

The Clay County Republican Party of Minnesota shared and then deleted a photo that compared Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to Adolf Hitler on Monday afternoon.

The post was captioned, “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat its mistakes.”

It listed six points comparing the two leaders, which were:

  • Believed state power would fix Germany/America
  • Proposed gun control
  • Promised a political revolution
  • Called himself a socialist
  • Blamed Jews/the rich for Germany/America’s problems
  • Wanted a heavily regulated economy
The Clay County Republican Party of Minnesota shared a post comparing Sen. Bernie Sanders to Hitler (2/25/2019)

The Clay County Republican Party of Minnesota shared a post comparing Sen. Bernie Sanders to Hitler (2/25/2019)

The Minnesota GOP tweeted, “The recent FB post by a volunteer with Clay County GOP is not appropriate & we do not condone these actions or their sentiment. We have called on the local GOP unit to remove the post. We must, Republicans & Democrats alike, do better to dispel hate & come together as Americans.”

This is not the first time a member of Congress or a political party compared a political opponent to Hitler. Last month, Democratic Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson made the comparison between Hitler and President Donald Trump. He then doubled down on it. (RELATED: Rep. Hank Johnson Says He Didn’t Compare Trump To Hitler But Does It Again)

Andy Hollinger, the Communications Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, previously directed The Daily Caller to an article they published on the increase in comparisons made between the Holocaust or Hitler and a political opponent.

“This oversimplified approach to complex history is dangerous,” it reads. “As the Holocaust recedes in time, some Americans (and Europeans) are becoming increasingly casual and disrespectful to the mass murder of millions.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

Hospital emergency sign in La Jolla, California
FILE PHOTO: An emergency sign points to the entrance to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California, U.S. March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

February 26, 2019

By Yasmeen Abutaleb

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled an ambitious proposal on Tuesday to move all Americans into the government’s Medicare health insurance program, tapping into public frustration over the rising cost of healthcare that has become a key issue for the party as it seeks to gain control of Congress and the White House in 2020.

The bill, unveiled by Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal from Washington state, would transition the U.S. healthcare system to a single-payer “Medicare for All” program funded by the government in two years. The legislation is the party’s most high-profile and ambitious single-payer proposal in the new Congress and has more than 100 co-sponsors, many from the party’s progressive flank.

It is unlikely to gain the support of any Republicans in the House or the Senate, who have derided single-payer healthcare as a socialist policy and oppose government interference in healthcare. It also remains unclear whether Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring the legislation up for a vote.

“Americans are literally dying because they can’t afford insulin or they can’t get the cancer treatment they need,” Jayapal said on a call with reporters on Tuesday. “There are some things that should not be provided through the for-profit market.”

Medicare currently serves about 60 million Americans who are age 65 or older, or disabled. Jayapal’s legislation would eliminate the age threshold. The new Medicare would not require any beneficiaries to pay premiums or deductibles and would not charge patients co-pays or out-of-pocket costs after receiving care.

It does not include new or increased taxes or other additional revenues to pay for the healthcare overhaul. Jayapal said possible ways to pay for the bill include a tax on millionaires and billionaires, employer premiums and closing tax loopholes for the wealthy.

The idea of Medicare for All was first proposed by Independent Bernie Sanders in 2017 as a single-payer system that would largely replace private insurance. It gained traction among Democrats running for congressional office in 2018, and is now a central campaign issue for party members vying for the 2020 presidential nomination.

A Reuters/IPSOS poll in August found that 70 percent of Americans support some sort of single-payer system.

The health industry has opposed single-payer proposals, saying they would ultimately lead to less access to care. Critics include the American Hospital Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the health insurance industry’s biggest trade group.

“This bill will hurt patients, consumers, and taxpayers: Americans will pay more, to wait longer, for worse care,” AHIP said in a statement. “Let’s focus on real solutions that deliver real results, not a one-size-fits-all government system.”

The House proposal unveiled on Tuesday would not eliminate private health insurance entirely, as it would allow patients to purchase supplemental coverage. Many Americans under the age of 65 rely on private insurance provided by their employer.

A single-payer system is variously understood as one in which the government pays for healthcare for more people, or one where the governments owns health services providers and manages all aspects of care, such as in the United Kingdom.

Several U.S. Democratic lawmakers have introduced different versions of expanded Medicare, such as allowing people aged 50 and older to buy into the program.

The new House proposal would cover most aspects of patients’ care, including primary care, hospital and outpatient services, prescription drugs, dental, vision, audiology, women’s reproductive health services, maternity and newborn care.

(Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb; Additional reporting by Amanda Becker and Susan Cornwell in Washington; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

BLADENSBURG, Md. — The war memorial has seen better days. Sitting in a traffic circle in the Washington suburbs, the Bladensburg Peace Cross as it is known has large cracks in its tan concrete and pink granite. Water damage has stained the 40-foot structure, covered partially by a tarp to prevent more decay.

But this worn-down, century-old monument is now at the center of a fiery Supreme Court fight – one where the newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh, once again could play a decisive role.

SUPREME COURT SAYS VOTE OF DEAD ‘PROGRESSIVE ICON’ JUDGE DOES NOT COUNT

The memorial’s supporters say the structure was erected solely to honor those who died in battle during World War I – and, despite its shape, is secular in nature. Opponents call it an impermissible overlap of church and state, since the Latin cross design sits on public land.

"There is an unfairness of suggesting that a cross could represent all veterans when clearly not all veterans are Christians," said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, which opposes the cross on public land.

Justices Wednesday will hold 70 minutes of oral arguments and hear from both sides over an issue that has divided the courts and the public for decades. It presents another opportunity for consistent, clear markers to be created on when such "passive" religious displays and speech, if ever, can occur the public arena.

Hundreds of similar cross-shaped war memorials across the country, as well as other religious displays, could be affected. Those include permanent Ten Commandments monuments and seasonal Nativity scenes in local parks.

The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the American Jewish Committee are among those backing the memorial’s removal. But 109 members of Congress and 28 states are among those filing briefs in support of the veterans.

SUPREME COURT TO DECIDE IF WORLD WAR I MEMORIAL ‘PEACE CROSS’ CAN STAND

“The Supreme Court should honor the way Gold-Star mothers chose to remember the service and sacrifice of their sons who died defending our freedom,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty Institute, which is leading the legal fight to preserve the cross. “If this gravestone is bulldozed to the ground, it’s only a matter of time before the wrecking ball turns on Arlington National Cemetery and the hundreds of memorials like this one across the country.”

The Trump administration also will be given argument time before the justices to make its case for the memorial.

Honoring the Fallen

Fundraising for the Peace Cross began soon after the "war to end all wars" concluded. Spearheaded by Gold Star mothers of Prince George’s County, Md., who lost their sons to battle, it honors 49 men, including four African-American soldiers and a Medal of Honor recipient. It was completed in 1925, built by members of local American Legion posts with private donations. It was later rededicated as a memorial to honor all American veterans.

Inscribed at the base of the monument are four words: Valor, Endurance, Courage, and Devotion. There are no written references to God, Christianity, or religion.

Complicating matters, however, a Maryland parks commission in 1961 gained control of the cross and land around the busy intersection. The government now pays for maintenance and upkeep, though veterans groups regularly hold memorial services there. The structure includes the embedded symbol of the American Legion.

Among the names listed is Pvt. Thomas Notley Fenwick, who died of pneumonia in 1918 after being gassed while on the French front. His niece Mary Ann Fenwick Laquay grew up hearing stories about her uncle and regularly visits the memorial.

"I know he’s not buried there but I feel like he is, it’s like going to the cemetery," the 80-year-old said. "It needs to stay right where it is. It’s not hurting anybody … Why are [those opposed] so determined to destroy something that means so much to so many people?"

Similar cross displays on federal land to honor war dead can be found at nearby Arlington National Cemetery. A simple cross dedicated to World War I veterans was located for decades in California’s Mojave National Preserve, but was transferred in 2012 to private hands in a land swap, with the Supreme Court’s blessing.

In Bladensburg, three area residents and the American Humanist Association filed suit in 2014, saying in court papers the memorial sends a "callous message to non-Christians."

"I think it was intended to be a Christian symbol from the beginning," Roy Speckhardt, the group’s executive director, told Fox News. "Unfortunately the cross can’t be a symbol for all. It doesn’t represent our veterans who’ve served honorably who are Muslim, Buddhist, and Jewish. And of course those of no faith at all."

AHA and other groups point out the original contributors to the memorial signed a pledge, stating, "With our motto, ‘One God, one Country and one Flag,’ we contribute to this memorial cross commemorating the memory of those who have not died in vain."

The association has suggested the memorial either be moved to private property or redesigned.

A divided federal appeals court in 2017 agreed, ruling the Bladensburg memorial cross was a "core symbol of Christianity” and concluded "the purported war memorial breaches the wall of separation between Church and State."

"The sectarian elements easily overwhelm the secular ones," Judge Stephanie Thacker wrote for the 2-1 majority.

In lower court arguments, one judge said the dispute could be resolved by replacing the memorial. Another suggested stripping the horizontal arms from the cross, something its supporters liken to desecration.

Faith Fractures

The Supreme Court has a mixed record on disputes concerning religious freedom and the separation of church and state, with the justices often using a case-by-case determination.

The high court has allowed some religious-themed displays on public property, while banning others. In 1971, the court established its three-prong "Lemon" test, named for one of the parties in the case, for the relationship between church and state.

Under those standards, the government can assist a religious interest only if the primary purpose of the assistance is secular, the assistance neither promotes nor inhibits religion, and there is no excessive entanglement between church and state.

But the approach has had its critics. The late Justice Antonin Scalia in 1993 tweaked his colleagues for their "wavering" application of precedent.

"Like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, Lemon stalks our Establishment Clause jurisprudence once again," he wrote. "It is there to scare us (and our audience) when we wish it to do so, but we can command it to return to the tomb at will."

Justice Clarence Thomas was more succinct in 2011, saying the court’s jurisprudence on the matter was "anyone’s guess."

Yet a court majority in recent years has sought a more nuanced position, recognizing perhaps how divisive the issue has become. In his narrowly drawn 2018 majority opinion, just weeks before announcing his retirement, Justice Anthony Kennedy was in the 7-2 majority favoring a Colorado baker who refused to create a customized cake for a gay couple’s union, claiming a sincere faith-based exemption to the state’s anti-discrimination law.

With Kennedy now replaced by Kavanaugh on the court, some observers believe the 5-4 conservative majority will be more sympathetic to religious liberty claims. And Kavanaugh could prove the decisive vote in the current fight, where history and context of the Bladensburg memorial are sure to be presented at argument.

‘We can’t back down’

The American Legion’s Colmar Manor Post 131 is less than a mile from the Bladensburg Peace Cross. Nearby are other smaller monuments to those lost from other American conflicts and the 9/11 terror attacks. The group sponsors the annual Memorial Day ceremony of remembrance on the site, and is one of the case litigants.

On a recent Friday, three local Vietnam-era veterans gathered to talk about their service, and support for the Peace Cross.

"The 49 men over there, we don’t know what religion they are," said Stan Shaw. "Because the military never asked them that, when they were over there fighting."

"When I came of age, 13 years old, my father took me by the Peace Cross, and said, ‘Son, this is what the people of this county think of military service,’" said Mike Moore. "Having that memorial torn down, defaced, or bulldozed, I can’t conceive of it. It would be an insult to all those who served."

"We can’t back down, we have got to win this," added Phillip Holdcraft. "We can’t desecrate all these memorials across the United States. They’re not for Christians, they’re for the veterans."

But some Jewish and Muslim veterans groups are among those opposing the memorial’s design, saying it is not inclusive or respectful of their faiths.

"Veterans of all stripes are united by their love of country, but they are not united by the cross," the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, Inc., told the high court in a brief. "It does a disservice to both Jewish veterans and Christian veterans to suggest otherwise."

A ruling is expected by late June.

Fox News’ Caleb Parke contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the decisive vote in a California pay dispute case before a lower court doesn’t count — because the vote came from a judge who died before the ruling was issued.

The case from the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals involved a dispute over pay filed by a Fresno County government employee.

STEPHEN REINHARDT, CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, ‘PROGRESSIVE ICON,’ DIES AT 87

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who was seen as a progressive icon on the bench, heard the dispute and participated in a preliminary vote. The appeals court then issued an opinion in his name nine days after he passed away in March 2018.

But the high court, vacating the decision of a federal appeals court, said Monday that “federal judges are appointed for life, not for eternity.”

“The upshot is that Judge Reinhardt’s vote made a difference,” said the Supreme Court in its unsigned ruling. “Was that lawful?”

The justices said it was not. “Because Judge Reinhardt was no longer a judge at the time when the en banc decision in the case was filed, the 9th Circuit erred in counting him as a member of the majority.”

The Supreme Court itself follows the same practice.

The votes of Justice Antonin Scalia issued after his sudden death three years ago did not count, even though he had participated in a number of argued cases earlier in the court’s term. No decision is official until it is formally released by the court, and every member of the court must be on the bench at the time.

Reinhardt was one of the longest-serving federal judges when he died at age 87, and one of the most liberal on the 9th Circuit. He was appointed to the federal bench in 1980 by President Carter.

The case was sent back to the 9th Circuit for reconsideration.

Reinhardt died of a heart attack last year during a visit to a dermatologist in Los Angeles, the court spokesperson said.

When he died, Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles, called Reinhardt "one of the greatest jurists of our time. A searingly brilliant Angeleno and true progressive icon."

SUPREME COURT TO DECIDE IF WORLD WAR I MEMORIAL ‘PEACE CROSS’ CAN STAND

He was considered a liberal stalwart on the bench. He wrote in one opinion that a Trump administration order to deport a man who entered the country illegally nearly three decades ago and became a respected businessman in Hawaii was “inhumane” and “contrary to the values of the country and its legal system.”

In 2012, he wrote an opinion that struck down California’s gay marriage ban. He also wrote a 1996 opinion that struck down a Washington state law that prohibited doctors from prescribing medication to help terminally ill patients die.

He was among the federal judges who decided that overcrowding in California’s prison system was unconstitutional.

Reinhardt joined another judge in ruling that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance were unconstitutional, a decision that was later overturned.

Fox News’ Amy Lieu and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Donald Trump says he'll host a July Fourth celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. And though the event he's calling "A Salute to America" is months away, he's boasting it'll be one of the city's biggest Independence Day gatherings — ever.

Trump tweeted Sunday: "HOLD THE DATE! We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4th. It will be called "A Salute To America" and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!"

The White House did not provide any additional details Sunday. The fireworks are expected to be the free annual holiday show from the National Park Service. But it was not clear who would provide entertainment or how Trump's gathering would fit in with the annual evening concert on the Capitol's West Lawn, the traditional holiday parades or the hundreds of thousands of people who travel to celebrate the nation's founding.

Trump's past crowd estimates have drawn criticism. Trump claimed that up to 1.5 million people attended his inauguration at the Capitol and National Mall, but Park Service photographs undermined that claim.

July Fourth is already a big production in the capitol. In addition to the throngs on the mall, there are multiple parades, including along Constitution Avenue. There's also an annual concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol, broadcast live by PBS and immediately followed by the annual fireworks show.

Some past celebrations have drawn huge numbers, with over 500,000 estimated in attendance in 1984 for a concert on the mall that included the Beach Boys. Crowd estimates for more recent events are not easily available, as the park service stopped providing crowd estimates in the mid-1990s after a dispute over crowd size at the so-called Million Man March.

Trump teased the July Fourth event several weeks ago, saying it would be a "gathering" rather than the military parade he entertained after attending a French military procession in central Paris in 2017. Trump had wanted to see tanks and other military hardware rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue on Veterans Day last year, but senior administration officials halted planning after seeing the estimated $92 million price tag. The date also conflicted with Trump's return to Paris last November to help observe the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The president said a bonus will be fireworks at no extra charge because fireworks paid for by the National Park Service already illuminate the sky above the Washington Monument each year on the Fourth of July.

Source: NewsMax

Local residents argue with a policeman while the casket of a man shot dead during anti-government protests lies on the ground in Port-au-Prince
Local residents argue with a policeman while the casket of a man shot dead during anti-government protests lies on the ground in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

February 23, 2019

By Anthony Esposito

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haitian police wary of renewed unrest after days of nationwide protests fired tear gas and rubber pellets on Friday to disperse about 200 protesters and mourners carrying the casket of a man killed last week in anti-government riots.

Police confronted the march near Haiti’s National Palace, scattering wailing relatives and chanting neighbors who left the casket on the ground next to a smoldering gas canister.

At least one man was hit in the arm and neck, where marble-sized welts swelled.

Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of Haiti’s main cities since Feb. 7, calling for President Jovenel Moise to step down to take responsibility for ballooning inflation, a weakening currency and allegations of misused funds from a Venezuelan oil subsidy scheme called PetroCaribe.

“Today we lock down the country again,” opposition leader Schiller Louidor told a church full of people who gathered for a memorial for two protesters killed last week, then marched the roughly 1 km (0.6 mile) to the palace to the beat of drums. One man shot a pistol into the air.

The casket of the second man was transported from the church directly to the cemetery.

The two dead were among several people killed in the clashes, protesters say. The government has not given an official death toll.

“We are asking for justice. We are going to continue to protest. Jovenel can kill as many people as he wants, he still has to go,” said Josef Dicles, a cousin of one of the dead men, Onique Gedeus.

Gedeus’ family said the 28-year-old was shot in the head by an unknown assailant on Feb. 13 as he waved the Haitian flag in the middle of the protests.

Partially collapsed buildings, damaged during Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, still line several blocks of downtown Port-au-Prince. People use some to dump their trash or relieve themselves, and one caught fire on Friday, sending a thick cloud of black, acrid smoke into the air.

Haiti, the first nation to be formed by former slaves in 1804, is the poorest country in the Americas, its economic progress stunted by a long history of political instability, disastrous foreign interventions and mismanagement.

It was not immediately clear how many people would heed the opposition’s call to take to the streets again later on Friday. Small crowds were gathered on street corners around the capital, Port-au-Prince, some burning tires.

The size of some of the protests appeared to shrink by early evening Friday, mostly comprised of smaller groups and unable to block off major thoroughfares as had happened in the last round of protests. But discontent with the government, nonetheless, remained strong.

Juan Maria Fontus, 36, complained about a lackluster economy and the challenges of accessing food and clean drinking water. “There is no work in Haiti and the government does nothing to help,” he said.

The injured man, Davidson Metellus, 35, said they would retrieve the casket left behind near the National Palace. “Even if there is only one of us left, we’re going to carry him to his grave,” said Metellus.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel, Sonya Hepinstall and Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Mike Manley arrives at the memorial service held in honor of former CEO Sergio Marchionne in Turin
FILE PHOTO: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Mike Manley arrives at the memorial service held in honor of former CEO Sergio Marchionne in Turin, Italy, September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo

February 22, 2019

DETROIT (Reuters) – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) has set an annual compensation target for Chief Executive Officer Mike Manley consisting of pay, cash and equity bonuses of $14 million, the automaker said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

Manley took over as the head of FCA last July after the abrupt departure of his predecessor Sergio Marchionne. The company paid its new CEO 600,442 euros ($680,240) for 2018 and he will receive a bonus for 2018 of $367,000 to be paid this year.

(Reporting By Nick Carey)

Source: OANN

The Monaco building and former home of the late drug lord Pablo Escobar is seen before being demolished, in Medellin
The Monaco building (R) and former home of the late drug lord Pablo Escobar is seen before being demolished, in Medellin, Colombia February 22, 2019. REUTERS/David Estrada Larraneta

February 22, 2019

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia destroyed an infamous apartment building which was once home to drug trafficker Pablo Escobar in a controlled implosion on Friday, after the site became a tourist destination.

The “Monaco” apartments, where Escobar lived in the 1980s, were a symbol of evil, Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez told journalists.

Gutierrez lamented that the 8-story building had become a destination for tourists on much-maligned “narco-tours”, which take visitors around sites related to the history of drug trafficking.

Critics say the tours glorify the drug violence of the 1980s, when thousands of Colombians were murdered.

Escobar was killed in December 1993 in a joint Colombia-U.S. operation.

The city plans to build a park and memorial museum to replace the abandoned building, which took 3 seconds to destroy.

“This means that history will not be written in service to the victimizers, but in recognition of the victims,” President Ivan Duque said at the event, before he flew to the Venezuelan border to attend a charity concert.

The “Monaco” survived a car bomb attack during the 1987 height of fighting between the Medellin and Cali drug cartels, and played host to Escobar’s storied vintage car collection.

It was expropriated by Colombia in 1990 and for a time served as extra office space for the attorney general’s office.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Helen Murphy and James Dalgleish)

Source: OANN

A Houston officer who the police chief says lied in an affidavit that led to a deadly drug raid has been discharged from the hospital.

Officer Gerald Goines’ attorney, Nicole DeBorde, says Goines was discharged Thursday from Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Police Chief Art Acevedo says Goines lied in the affidavit that justified the warrant for the Jan. 28 raid on a home in which a 59-year-old man and a 58-year-old woman died. Four officers, including Goines, were shot as they forcefully entered the home.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing more than 1,400 cases Goines has worked in his 34 years with the Houston Police Department, and the FBI has begun investigating whether the two slain residents’ civil rights were violated.

Source: Fox News National

One week into his cross-country trip to visit 50 state capitols in 50 days, Mickey Straub felt deflated.

The inspirational author and management consultant thought to himself, “This trip is silly, as he munched on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich out of the trunk of his 1997 Lincoln Town Car.

Straub was in Annapolis, Maryland, 800-plus miles from home in Illinois. It was September 2012 and Barack Obama was running for a second term as president of the United States.

The trip had weighed on Straub’s heart for 10 years, but Obama’s second run pushed him to put things into motion.

His goal was to promote conservative ideals by invoking America’s unifying principles, something he felt was missing in the country at the time.

His method was to recite Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address at every state capitol in the country — and to do it in 50 days or less.

But that day in Annapolis was a struggle.

Straub was feeling lonely. He missed his wife and teenaged daughter. He was taking quite a bit of time off of work. He questioned why he would set such a lofty goal in such a short deadline.

“It was a wild-haired, bold, and brilliant idea,” said buddy John D. Morris, the founding director of the Ronald W. Reagan Society of Eureka College, who suggested Straub read the Gettysburg Address at each stop.

“At the time, I thought it was crazy, but there’s something so positively fun about it,” he added.

“What Mickey did, in invoking the great, honorably the greatest speech in American history, is so profound because it highlights the founding principles of this country during a very divisive time and goes back to our ideals.”

And at each capitol, something kept him going, starting in Annapolis. By that point, Morris noted, Straub had been away from home for three weeks, and “was being pushed to the limit both physically and emotionally, and I admired his grit.”

Naval Academy plebe David Gordeuk was walking by in his all-white midshipman uniform.

Straub took Gordeuk for dinner at a steakhouse and bought him coffee to thank him for his patriotism.

Gordeuk in return gave him invaluable advice: Focus on one thing at a time.

“That’s what I did the rest of the trip. I call him my Capitol Angel.”

His wife, Charmaine, a nurse, kept things at home running smoothly, with a daughter who was knee-deep in college applications and high school tennis.

Straub hired a personal trainer to help prepare him for the haul — 14,900 miles and close to 275 hours on the road — and purchased the 1997 Lincoln Town Car to symbolize America’s 16th president.

He started his trip in Pennsylvania, near Gettysburg, and finished at Lincoln’s tomb near the Illinois capitol in Springfield. Straub flew to Alaska and Hawaii, stayed in 33 hotel rooms, and spent about two hours in each capitol. He estimates the trip cost him more than $20,000.

Straub still gets emotional recalling the venture, and says he’s still as passionate about it now as then.

His efforts became part of the Congressional Record in November 2017.

“I launched the trip on behalf of God and country, but it was actually God and country that pulled me through,” he said. “My personal mission now is to live, love, inspire, and serve.”

The trip only took 44 days. He mostly lived off Subway’s tuna sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, Starbucks, and plenty of healthy snacks. He lost 15 pounds on the trip, but gained an even deeper sense of faith and patriotism.

Straub, 61, grew up in Pennsylvania, where Lincoln’s famous 272-word address, delivered during the Civil War on the battlefield near Gettysburg, was etched into his fabric. He was always drawn to the Lincoln Memorial and mesmerized by Lincoln’s statue and his noteworthy words.

“Lincoln was all about freedom and liberty. He tried to unite us in ways that no speech has ever since. The word ‘I’ or ‘me’ is not in the Gettysburg Address — he refers to us collectively to try to unite us,” said Straub.

“And since many Republicans and Democrats claim Lincoln, I knew he would be a unifying factor.”

Straub worked for the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., out of college, investigating military and defense personnel applying for secret and top-secret clearances. It was in Los Angeles, where he moved in the 1980s while working with Ryan Insurance Co., that he went from a Kennedy Democrat to a Reagan Republican, later moving to Chicago.

“Reagan was a true gentleman. He wanted us to work together. He embodied the true American dream,” said Straub.

His final move to Chicago was where he and Charmaine met.

“He worked hard, long hours. He was very ambitious, and all of that still applies today,” she recalled.

Politics grew more important as time went on and Straub, now president of Sales Activity Management, a Burr Ridge, Illinois-based company that provides sales management and coaching services to clients, got more involved to promote Reagan’s values after Obama was elected in 2008.

He became mayor of Burr Ridge in 2014 and was re-elected in 2017 — and in early 2018 unsuccessfully made a run for the state House of Representatives.

He resigned as mayor last November, mostly because of the time constraints — Straub was working 20-30 hours for a low stipend of $6,000 — and to focus on a book about his trip around the country.

“Abraham Lincoln united us like no other president, and in his Gettysburg Address, he never spoke about himself. He saved the nation.

“The Gettysburg Address contained within it the formula for our country’s future: God, liberty, unity, and patriotism. May it unite us again!”

Source: NewsMax America

President Trump castigated The New York Times and Washington Post yesterday, dusting off his "enemy" rhetoric in the seemingly endless war with his two most aggressive newspaper adversaries.

The two situations could not be more different.

In his broadside against a lengthy Times report on the Russia investigation, the president chose a general denunciation, rather than specific denials, and said one thing that turns out not to be true.

In cheering on a Covington high school student’s $250 million lawsuit against the Post, Trump is seizing on the paper’s initial reporting on the clash at the Lincoln Memorial last month, which was badly flawed. But that doesn’t add up to a successful lawsuit.

The president pulls no punches against his hometown paper, despite recently granting its publisher and two reporters an 85-minute interview:

"The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!"

MUELLER PROBE ‘NEAR THE END GAME’ AMID SHAKEUP AT DOJ, SOURCES SAY

I’ve said from the beginning that Trump has every right to hit back against what he sees as unfair reporting — but that such rhetoric, implying treasonous behavior, goes too far.

In a second tweet clearly inspired by the Times story, the president says: "The Press has never been more dishonest than it is today. Stories are written that have absolutely no basis in fact. The writers don’t even call asking for verification."

But Maggie Haberman, one of the story’s four co-authors, said on CNN that they went over the planned story in detail with the White House and Justice Department:

"I sent several emails that went unanswered until yesterday. We went through a detailed list of what we were planning on reporting. They chose not to engage, and afterwards, the president acts surprised."

NAPOLITAN SAYS IF NYT REPORT IS ACCURATE, TRUMP MAY BE IMPLICATED IN ATTEMPTED OBSTRUCTION

In response to Trump’s charge, Publisher A.G. Sulzberger said that "in demonizing the free press as the enemy, simply for performing its role of asking difficult questions and bringing uncomfortable information to light, President Trump is retreating from a distinctly American principle … The phrase ‘enemy of the people’ is not just false, it’s dangerous."

In the story, the Times says that Trump asked Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker to intervene in the New York investigation focusing on such subjects as Michael Cohen and hush money. (This is separate from the probe by Bob Mueller, who was reported yesterday to have told Trump lawyers he has finished his report.)

SUBSCRIBE TO HOWIE’S MEDIA BUZZMETER PODCAST, A RIFF OF THE DAY’S HOTTEST STORIES

The Times also said that as part of his effort to oust then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump asked Corey Lewandowski to pressure Sessions to resign. Neither Whitaker nor Lewandowski seems to have done anything. And the piece describes Trump changing his instructions to Sean Spicer to describe how Mike Flynn was forced out of the White House.

While Trump is castigating the Times, I’ve seen no specific denials that challenge what the paper reported.

Meanwhile, Nick Sandmann, the Covington teenager who was unfairly maligned by the media mob, has filed a lawsuit against the Post, accusing the paper of bullying him for political reasons.

Quoting from the lawsuit, Trump tweeted: "’The Washington Post ignored basic journalistic standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.’ Covington student suing WAPO. Go get them Nick. Fake News!"

The suit, brought by lawyer Lin Wood, says: "In a span of three days in January of this year commencing on January 19, the Post engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism by competing with CNN and NBC, among others, to claim leadership of a mainstream and social media mob of bullies which attacked, vilified, and threatened Nicholas Sandmann, an innocent secondary school child."

While the initial reporting by the Post and others was seriously flawed, charges like "McCarthyism" are way off base.

In the first couple of days, the Post relied too heavily on an edited video that was misleading, and on an interview with Nathan Phillips, the Native American activist who confronted Sandmann, and who said things that were untrue and kept changing his story. Such media accounts did galvanize a social media explosion that unjustly crucified these Catholic kids, some of them wearing MAGA caps. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a courtroom victory.

It’s highly unfortunate that the paper wasn’t able to interview any of the students. But as for getting their side, the students’ own school and diocese said in a joint statement that "we condemn" their behavior, and warned that some might be expelled. The diocese later apologized.

Even though much of the Post’s reporting about Trump is negative, the first Covington story was written by three metro reporters covering a demonstration on deadline, not political reporters who cover the administration.

Two days later, the Post reported that the story was far more complicated than originally reported, including slurs from a black activist group, and quoted Sandmann’s first statement on the confrontation, made to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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So it will be an uphill battle for Sandmann’s parents, who filed the suit, to prove malice, as the legal papers claim. As for the eye-popping damages being sought, the suit says that $250 million is what Jeff Bezos spent to buy the Post — in other words, a symbolic figure.

Trump ended one of his tweets by saying the press is "totally out of control. Sadly, I kept many of them in business. In six years, they all go BUST!" The president has indeed boosted clicks and ratings for his media antagonists, but that last sentence is wishful thinking.

Source: Fox News Politics

A lawyer for the Covington Catholic High School student who came under attack after a video surfaced of him standing face-to-face with a Native American man says the $250 million lawsuit filed against The Washington Post, "isn't about the money, it's about the message."

"What we hope to accomplish with the lawsuit obviously is to obtain a large verdict," Todd McMurtry said during an appearance on Fox News. "And the reason we want to obtain a large verdict is so that things that things like the things that happened to Nick did not happen to others."

The newspaper, claims the lawsuit, used "its vast financial resources to enter the bully pulpit by publishing a series of false and defamatory print and online articles . . . to smear a young boy who was in its view an acceptable casualty in their war against the president."

Nick Sandmann, 16, was criticized in January for smirking while a Native American man, Nathaniel Phillips, chanted and beat a drum in front of him following a March for Life Rally in Washington, D.C. Many accused Sandmann of being disrespectful.

But the high school junior said he was just smiling.

Sandmann was accused of blocking Phillips from walking toward the Lincoln Memorial, but a longer video showed Phillips purposely walking toward Sandmann and a group of Covington Catholic students who were yelling. Sandmann was also accosted for wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat.

Source: NewsMax America

The high school student seeking $250 million from The Washington Post has a "reasonable case" for libel, attorney Alan Dershowitz said.

Dershowitz appeared on Hill.TV's "Rising" and commented on the lawsuit filed this week.

"I think they have a reasonable case, I mean the world was guilty of libel," Dershowitz said.

The legal action stems from the negative coverage the Covington Catholic High School student received after he appeared in a viral video last month in Washington, D.C. Many painted him out to be a racist who taunted a Native American at the Lincoln Memorial, but other videos dismantled that claim.

"These poor kids seemed to be doing exactly the right thing, and then suddenly because they are thought to be white, privileged kids, suddenly everyone's ganging up on them," Dershowitz said.

Dershowitz added the lawsuit is seeking so much money the dollar amount might not be a factor in the case.

"But I do think that they have a significant case, and it will be interesting to see how the Post defends against their reporting in the case," he said.

Nicholas Sandmann, 16, and his Covington classmates we waiting for their bus after the March For Life when a group of Black Israelites shouted vulgar insults at them. The students, many of whom were wearing "Make America Great Again" hats, responded by singing their school pride songs, at which point a Native American group marched up.

One of the Native Americans stood in front of Sandmann and beat his drum. Sandmann reacted by standing motionless.

Source: NewsMax America

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday an Alabama-born woman who joined ISIS but now wants to return home with the 18-month-son she had with her ISIS husband will not be admitted back into the United States, saying she is not a U.S. citizen anymore.

“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,” Pompeo said in a statement. “She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States. We continue to strongly advise all U.S. citizens not to travel to Syria.”

Muthana, 24, has pleaded with officials to let her back into the U.S. following her recent escape from ISIS and capture by Kurdish forces. She is being held in a refugee camp in northeast Syria and told The Guardian in an interview that her last four years with the terrorist group have been a traumatizing experience where “we starved and we literally ate grass."

“I would tell them please forgive me for being so ignorant, and I was really young and ignorant and I was 19 when I decided to leave,” she told the newspaper when asked if she had a message for American officials.

Muthana first made headlines in 2015 after it emerged that she left her family in Birmingham, Alabama to join the bloodthirsty terrorist group.

An attorney representing her parents at the time said Muthana was “brainwashed” over the Internet, according to the Associated Press, and that she went against her family’s wishes and the teachings of Islam by secretly boarding a plane to Turkey in late 2014 to link up with ISIS.

The attorney said it then, but it wasn’t until Sunday — in her interview with The Guardian – that Muthana admitted herself that she was “brainwashed” and made a “big mistake.”

“I thought I was doing things correctly for the sake of God,” she said, adding that she was “brainwashed once and my friends are still brainwashed.”

The newspaper says Muthana, during her time with ISIS, lived in their once-stronghold of Raqqa and was married to jihadists from Australia, Tunisia, and Syria – the first two of which have been killed in battle.

In 2015, Muthana reportedly operated a Twitter account and once tried to use it to incite Americans to commit acts of violence amongst themselves on national holidays.

“Americans wake up! Men and women altogether. You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping!” she once wrote, according to The Guardian. “Go on drivebys, and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriots, Memorial, etc day … Kill them.”

Muthana now has an 18-month-old son from one of her ISIS marriages. In her interview with The Guardian, Muthana also claims her parents were too strict on her in her upbringing, a factor that she says contributed to her decision to defect to ISIS.

“You want to go out with your friends and I didn’t get any of that,” she said. “I turned to my religion and went in too hard. I was self-taught and thought whatever I read, it was right."

Now Muthana is not allowed to leave the camp she is being held at and has to be escorted around by Kurdish fighters, more than 6,500 miles away from the Alabama city she once called home.

Fox News’ Greg Norman and Nick Kalman contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

People attend a national gathering to protest antisemitism and the rise of anti-Semitic attacks in the Place de la Republique in Paris
People attend a national gathering to protest antisemitism and the rise of anti-Semitic attacks in the Place de la Republique in Paris, France, February 19, 2019. Picture taken with a fish-eye lens. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

February 20, 2019

By Vincent Kessel and Noémie Olive

STRASBOURG/PARIS, France (Reuters) – Thousands of people rallied across France after a surge of anti-Semitic attacks in recent weeks that culminated on Tuesday with vandals daubing swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans on dozens of graves in a Jewish cemetery.

Political leaders from all parties, including former Presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, gathered in Paris filling the Place de la Republique, a symbol of the nation, to decry anti-Semitic acts with one common slogan: “Enough!”

People also lined the streets of cities from Lille in the north to Toulouse and Marseille in the south.

President Emmanuel Macron paid respects at one of the 96 desecrated graves in the village of Quatzenheim, near the eastern city of Strasbourg.

“Whoever did this is not worthy of the French republic and will be punished… We’ll take action, we’ll apply the law and we’ll punish them,” he said, walking through a gate scarred with a swastika as he entered the graveyard.

Macron later visited the national Holocaust memorial in Paris with the heads of the Senate and National Assembly.

France is home to the biggest Jewish community in Europe — around 550,000 — a population that has grown by about half since World War Two, but anti-Semitic attacks remain common. Government statistics released last week showed there were more than 500 anti-Semitic attacks in the country last year, a 74 percent increase from 2017.

“Some people are provoking the authority of the state. It needs to be dealt with now and extremely firmly,” Sarkozy told reporters. “It’s a real question of authority. Violence is spreading and it needs to stop now.”

Among incidents in recent days, “yellow vest” protesters were filmed hurling abuse on Saturday at Alain Finkielkraut, a well-known Jewish writer and son of a Holocaust survivor.

Artwork on two Paris post boxes showing the image of Simone Veil, a Holocaust survivor and former magistrate, was defaced with swastikas, while a bagel shop was sprayed with the word “Juden”, German for Jews, in yellow letters. A tree in a Paris suburb in memory of Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish man kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 2006, was cut in two.

The series of attacks has alarmed politicians and prompted calls for action against what some commentators describe as a new form of anti-Semitism among the far-left and Islamist preachers.

“I call on all French and European leaders to take a strong stand against anti-Semitism,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video message recorded in Hebrew. “It is an epidemic that endangers everyone, not just us.”

A rabbi and three children were killed at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012 by an Islamist gunman, and in 2015 four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris were among 17 people killed by Islamist militants.

(Additional reporting by Gilbert Reilhac in Strasbourg and Mayaan Lubell in Jerusalem; Writing by Luke Baker and John Irish; Editing by Gareth Jones and Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

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A high school student from Covington, Kentucky, sued the Washington Post for defamation on Tuesday, claiming the newspaper falsely accused him of racist acts and instigating a confrontation with a Native American activist in a January videotaped incident at the Lincoln Memorial.

Source: Reuters Video: Politics

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday said she’s "just fine" after she underwent lung surgery in December.

The 85-year-old associate justice confirmed to TMZ that she’s doing well as she walked through Reagan National Airport in Virginia, surrounded by security.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG MAKES PUBLIC APPEARANCE, FIRST SINCE SURGERY

Ginsburg made her return to the nation’s highest court on Friday, working from her chambers and participating in a private conference with other justices. She had been working from her Washington, D.C. home and participating in the Court’s caseload while recovering from surgery.

The court revealed in December that Ginsburg underwent a pulmonary lobectomy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York after two nodules were discovered in the lower lobe of her left lung.

The discovery was made as she underwent testing after she fell and fractured several ribs in November. Ginsburg initially missed a non-argument session when justices took the bench for routine business.

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She’s missed several oral arguments due to her health setback. Prior to her last few absences, Ginsburg had never missed an oral argument since being confirmed to the high court in 1993.

The Supreme Court returns from a four-week recess on Tuesday. It’s unclear whether Ginsburg will be on the bench.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

More than 1,500 attend vigil for Aurora shooting victims

More than 1,500 people braved snow and freezing drizzle to attend a prayer vigil for five co-workers who were fatally shot at a suburban Chicago manufacturing plant.

The Rev. Dan Haas told those who gathered for the vigil Sunday outside the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora that Friday’s "senseless killings" at the business left the victims’ families brokenhearted over lives that "were snuffed out way too short."

Haas called on God to bring comfort to the families and Aurora. He then read the names and ages of the five shooting victims , prompting sobs and cries.

Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said the city’s residents feel for the families "with all our hearts" but that condolences are not enough.

The city of Aurora tweeted that about 1,700 people attended Sunday’s vigil.

Source: Fox News National

Hunt under way for suspect in shooting of officer

Authorities say a Virginia police officer has been shot and seriously wounded after making a traffic stop.

State police say a Bluefield officer was shot after stopping a 2008 Toyota Yaris for an equipment violation on Route 460 shortly before midnight Saturday.

Authorities say a passenger in the vehicle began shooting at the officer.

The officer and another Bluefield officer, who had responded to assist with the traffic stop, returned fire. The Toyota’s driver surrendered but the passenger got into the driver’s seat and drove off.

The Toyota was found abandoned a few hours later in Bluefield, West Virginia. The search for the passenger continued Sunday.

The wounded officer was being treated for serious injuries that were not considered life threatening at Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Source: Fox News National

Trump Honors the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day: CNN and Liberal Media Complain about a Tweet Instead! Seems Trump Also Tweeted about it today but a lot of people had something to say about it Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at […]


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