Monday, February 20, 2017

LIVE: 'Not My President' Protest NYC & Anti Trump Rally Chicago

Russian Ambassador to United Nations Dies Suddenly

Vitaly Churkin, the tough-talking Russian ambassador to the United Nations, died suddenly Monday, officials said.

Churkin, who was 64, was at his desk when he died, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed. But the ministry gave no details about the circumstances of his passing. 

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The Terrifying ISIS Sleeper Cells of Mosul

By Florian Neuhof

As the ‘final offensive’ to retake the western half of the city begins, the underground networks of ISIS continue to attack in the ‘liberated’ eastern half.

MOSUL, Iraq—The “My Fair Lady” restaurant was making a brisk trade when the suicide bomber stepped into the open-fronted eatery flanking a busy roundabout in east Mosul and detonated the explosives strapped around his waist. The blast swept through the cavernous interior, killing staff and guests enjoying a lunch of kebab, salad, and soup in one of the city’s most famous restaurants.

The owners had defiantly reopened the My Fair Lady, or Sayidati al-Jamila in Arabic, soon after the so-called Islamic State was forced from the east bank of the Tigris, which bisects the city and now forms a natural barrier against the jihadists. With a reputation for good food, and occupying a prime spot in the bustling Zuhour neighborhood, it quickly became popular with locals and security personnel alike, in the process also attracting attention of the wrong kind.

"The restaurant was targeted because life was coming back to Mosul. This restaurant is the center of Zuhour, and Zuhour is the center of east Mosul," says Mohammed, the son of one of the owners.

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Source: The Daily Beast 

Oval Office Chat: PM Keith Rowley and President Juan Carlos

On February 19, President Trump spoke with Prime Minister Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago to facilitate cooperation on shared priorities.  The two leaders reaffirmed the strong security partnership and agreed to continue close coordination in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime.  President Trump invited Prime Minster Rowley to visit Washington, D.C., in the coming months. 

The President also spoke with President Juan Carlos Varela of Panama to discuss cooperation on shared priorities in the region.  The two leaders reaffirmed the strong partnership between the United States and Panama and committed to continue engagement on key security issues, including transnational organized crime and counternarcotics efforts.  President Trump and President Varela also discussed Venezuela, including the importance of encouraging respect for democratic norms and processes in that country.  President Trump invited President Varela to visit Washington, D.C., in the coming months.  

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Justice Samuel Alito Swears-In EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

Historians Discuss C-SPAN's Survey on Presidential Leadership

Historians Richard Norton Smith, Douglas Brinkley, and Edna Greene Medford discuss the results of C-SPAN’s 2017 Historians Survey on Presidential Leadership, which ranks former presidents based on ten leadership attributes.

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Source: C-SPAN

A Song for the Soul: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Clint Smith: How to Raise a Black Son in America

This video was published on YouTube on April 23, 2015. 

As kids, we all get advice from parents and teachers that seems strange, even confusing. This was crystallized one night for a young Clint Smith, who was playing with water guns in a dark parking lot with his white friends. In a heartfelt piece, the poet paints the scene of his father's furious and fearful response. 

Source: TED

Oscar-Nominated Film Brings the Prophecy of James Baldwin into Today’s World

This video was published on YouTube on February 3, 2017.

James Baldwin was one of the nation’s most prominent novelists, social critics and civil rights activists of the 20th century. Now his critiques of racism and segregation are the subject of a new Oscar-nominated documentary titled, “I Am Not Your Negro.” Jeffrey Brown sits down with director Raoul Peck to discuss his tribute to a man he sees as a civil rights prophet.

Source: PBS NewsHour

Trailblazers in Black History: Otis Redding

Born in Dawson, Ga., Otis Redding, Jr. and his family moved to Macon when he was two years old. At an early age he began his career as a singer and musician in the choir of the Vineville Baptist Church. Otis attended Ballard Hudson High School and participated in the school band. He began to compete in the Douglass Theatre talent shows for the five-dollar prize. After winning 15 times straight, he was no longer allowed to compete.

Otis joined Johnny Jenkins and the Pinetoppers in 1958, and would also sing at the “Teenage Party” talent shows sponsored by local celebrity disc jockey King Bee, Hamp Swain, on Saturday mornings initially at the Roxy Theater and later at the Douglass Theatre in Macon.

Otis drove Johnny Jenkins to Memphis, Tenn., for a recording session in August 1962 at Stax Records. At the end of the session, Stax co-owner Jim Stewart allowed Otis to cut a couple of songs with the remaining studio time. The result was “These Arms Of Mine”, released in 1962. This was the first of many hit singles (including classics “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, “respect” and “Try A Little Tenderness”) that Redding enjoyed during his tragically short career. After nine months, he was invited to perform at the Apollo Theatre for a live recording and would go on to showcase his dance movements with “Shake” and “Satisfaction.” 

Additional information is available here


Veteran Congressman Still Pushing for Reparations in a Divided America

Is America ready to tackle its history of slavery and possible reparations for Black people? The longest serving member of Congress believes it's time for constructive dialogue and action.

"I'm not giving up," said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) who hosted a Capitol Hill briefing recently that drew activists, legal experts, scholars, politicos and community leaders from across the country. "Slavery is a blemish on this nation's history, and until it is formally addressed, our country's story will remain marked by this blight."

Since 1989, Conyers'—a lawyer and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee—has repeatedly introduced—HR. 40—a bill that would establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery in the U.S. and its early colonies, and recommend appropriate remedies. 

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Source: NBC News 

Russia Compiles Psychological Dossier on Trump for Putin

MOSCOW — A dossier on Donald Trump's psychological makeup is being prepared for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Among its preliminary conclusions is that the new American leader is a risk-taker who can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser.

Trump "doesn't understand fully who is Mr. Putin — he is a tough guy," former Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Fedorov told NBC News.

The file is being compiled by retired diplomats and some of Putin's staff, he added.

The attempt to get inside the U.S. president's mind is aimed at helping Putin plan for his first meeting with America's new leader, the date for which is yet to be decided. 

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Senate Asks Federal Agencies to Preserve Records on Russia

The bipartisan leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee is requesting federal agencies preserve all records relevant to the committee's investigation into Russia's impact on the 2016 presidential election, a Senate aide confirmed to NBC News.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia sent the letters Friday as questions continue to surface about whether members of then-candidate Donald Trump's inner circle had contact with Moscow during the campaign. The letter itself and a list of recipients has not been released.

"That doesn't mean that there's anything there. It just means they need to do some things that satisfy their committee," White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on NBC News' "Meet The Press" on Sunday. 

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Kids in Cuffs: Is Security in Schools Going Too Far?

Flows of Major Weapons 'Highest Since Cold War'

By Chris Harris

The import and export of major weapons is at its highest global level since the end of the Cold War, a new report has claimed.

Transfers of major arms – which include missiles, warplanes, submarines and air defence systems – were at their highest volume last year since 1990, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The weapons watchdog said the growth had been driven by increased demand in the Middle East and Asia. 

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Source: euronews.

What Has He Been Smoking? Swedes Baffled by Trump's Suggestion of Major Incident

Just what did US President Donald Trump mean when he suggested some kind of immigration-related security incident in Sweden?

Addressing a rally in Florida on Saturday, Trump said, “look at what’s happening last night in Sweden”, as he listed parts of Europe recently hit by terror attacks.

Baffled Swedes immediately took to social media wondering what on earth Trump might be referring to. 

Twitter users went on imagining situations involving Swedish institutions like the furniture brand IKEA and the pop group Abba, and posting images of snowmen, reindeer and meatballs with the hashtag #LastNightInSweden. 

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Source: euronews.