Saturday, August 29, 2015

In Memoriam: Darius L. Vinson, Community Activist and Role Model

 Aspiring Pro-Boxer/Lawyer Dies in Swimming Accident

Darius Lord Vinson, the only son of Denise L. Greig and Damon L. Vinson, was born on October 1, 1988 in Forest Hills, New York. He passed away on August 19, 2015, at the age of 26.

From a young age, Darius showed potential for a life full of achievement and success. He attended P.S 105, where many of his teachers took notice of and praised his intellect. He then attended P.S/M.S. 43, where he served as editor of the school newspaper. He was the focus of a full editorial in The Wave newspaper, based in Rockaway, New York, in recognition of his community service.

A Great Kid Named Darius

He also received the Governor George Pataki Committee on Scholastic Achievement Award and the New York City Council Speaker’s Gifford Miller Achievement Award.

He was the recipient of two New York State Assembly Citizenship awards granted by New York State Assemblywoman Michele Titus and former Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer. Other honors included the Rockaway Rotary Club Award and The School and Community Working Together Award. He was also the recipient of the Rosemary Marchong Memorial Scholarship and winner of the Fun District 27’s Science and Social Studies Exit Project Fair Award.

During his tenure at George Westinghouse Information Technology High School, he received his Regents Diploma with Advanced Placement Honors and obtained his certification in AutoCAD Architectural Design. He was a member of the George Westinghouse Varsity Indoor/Outdoor Track Team and was involved with several civic programs: the Anti-Bullying Committee, iMentor, Quality Steering Committee, and the George Westinghouse Philanthropic Association. He was the only student to be nominated to the Westinghouse Leadership Team four years in a row.

In his senior year of high school, he developed a profound love for boxing and dedicated his life to the sport. One of his greatest achievements was becoming the first amateur fighter from Irish Ropes Golden Gloves, which lead to a victory in 2006.

Darius attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice and obtained two Bachelors’ degrees. He received his first Bachelors of Science in Police Studies in 2012 and obtained a second Bachelors of Arts in 2015 for Law and Society with certification in Dispute Resolution.

While attending John Jay, he was a USA Certified Athlete in the John Jay Boxing Program and USA Boxing Commission. He was the recipient of the Kenneth C. Hall Jr. Memorial Foundation Scholarship Fund. He completed his peer-reviewed thesis on Institutional Discrimination in Education. He assisted with the Annual Kay Pranis Restorative Justice Special Presentation. He was accepted into the Pre-Law Institute and was a Pre-Law Boot Camp Graduate. While there, he was awarded “Best Speaker” in the debates.

Darius devoted a great deal of his time as a volunteer by serving as a tutor for the John Jay writing workshops. He also volunteered at God’s Battalion Loving Care Center, where he helped with City Harvest. He was the co-founder of the Rockaway Ropes Boxing Facility, where he wrote grants to provide a safe home for at-risk youth in Rockaway. He also volunteered at the Parsons Beacon Junior High After-School Program. Most recently, he was a Peacemaker with the Red Hook Community Justice Center, where he served as a role model and mentor to at-risk youth.

Darius had specific goals that he wanted to achieve and he was determined and persistent in accomplishing them: becoming a criminal defense lawyer and a professional boxer. He faced many challenges in his life, which delayed efforts to achieve his objectives. The obstacles were due, for the most part, to failures within the educational and legal system, but he never lost sight of his dreams. He was a determined man who strived to reach all of his goals regardless of his circumstances. In doing so, he touched the hearts of many people that gave him the confidence to follow his amazing journey in life. Despite his constant hard work to achieve his goals, he also took part in many leisure activities such as skateboarding, surfing, writing and swimming.

Darius always loved spending time with his friends and family, whom he held very close to his heart. His charming, outgoing and friendly personality always made people smile. He had a special gift for motivating others to do the right thing and served as a role model to all. His kind heart made sure everyone around him was always happy. He consistently went out of his way to make others feel included. Most importantly he gave advice to all and always saw the best in people and pushed them to reach their full potential. Darius always wanted to keep his family together as one unit and reached above and beyond to build strong connections with them. He had a big heart and never let anyone go unrecognized. He will truly be missed in every aspect of his loved ones lives.

Preceding Darius in death are his grandfathers Cleveland Vinson and Benjamin Greig.Darius; leaves to morn and cherish his memory his mother Denise Greig and his father Damon L.Vinson, girlfriend Raveenga Perera, Grandmothers -Jacqueline Vinson and Lorna Greig, Great-grandmothers- Mamie Curry, Clarissa Waiters, Uncles – Anthony Vinson, Che Vinson and Gregory Greig, Aunts- Sharon, Angela and Dawn, Great-Aunts – Charlene Green, RosettaMorris, Betty Ann Fludd, Yvonne Jackson and Venita Simmons, God Brother- Aaron Rivera and a host of cousins, nephews and nieces, other loving family members and friends.

  Darius Vinson and longtime girlfriend Raveenga Perera

Committal took place at The Greenwood Crematory, on August 27, which is located at 500 25th Street in Brooklyn, New York. 

I love you, Darius, and I’ll miss you. Rest in peace, young warrior. 
                                                                                                    "The G-Man"


National Security Advisor Rice Meets with Senior Chinese Officials in Beijing

National Security Advisor Susan Rice met with senior Chinese officials in Beijing, China on August 28-29 to prepare for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the United States next month and to discuss bilateral, regional, and global issues of mutual concern. Ambassador Rice held candid, fruitful and wide-ranging consultations with State Councilor Yang Jiechi in Beijing. Ambassador Rice and State Councilor Yang agreed on the importance of expanding cooperation on a range of issues, including Iran, North Korea, climate change, and global public health. In addition to discussing preparations for President Xi's visit, Ambassador Rice emphasized the need to confront differences constructively, including on issues of concern such as cyber, Chinese currency, maritime issues, and human rights.

Ambassador Rice also had productive in-depth exchanges with National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chair Liu He on economic issues, Central Military Commission Vice Chair Fan Changlong on military-military relations, Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng on trade and development issues, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on bilateral, regional, and global issues. In her meeting with President Xi, Ambassador Rice reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to develop and deepen practical cooperation in areas of overlapping interest and to address disagreements forthrightly and effectively.
Source: Ned Price, National Security Council spokesperson

Weekly Address: Meeting the Global Threat of Climate Change

In this week's address, the President spoke about his upcoming trip to Alaska, during which he will view the effects of climate change firsthand. Alaskans are already living with the impact of climate change, with glaciers melting faster, and temperatures projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century.

Green Party Presidential Contender Dr. Jill Stein: 'Independents Don’t Take Orders From Big Industry'

Friday, August 28, 2015

White House Press Briefing

ISIS Publishes ‘Death Lists’ for Families to Read

By Khales Joumah

DOHUK, Iraq — His heart began beating rapidly and he was short of breath. He’d just seen something on Facebook, a page specializing in news and information from Mosul, his hometown until the so-called Islamic State conquered it in June last year.

The young man, whom we’ll call Hassan to protect the anonymity of his family, spent two days in one of Mosul's prisons soon after the city fell to ISIS, as the extremist group commonly is known.  Hassan’s father was jailed as well, and after they were released Hassan fled the city. But his father stayed. For the past 13 months, Hassan has been desperately hoping for news of his parent.

Now, on Facebook, he learned that ISIS has published a list of over 2,000 names identifying people it has executed.

Click here for article. 

Source: The Daily Beast

'Veep Talk': Biden and Poroshenko Discuss Situations in Ukraine

Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko about the situation in the Donbas, Ukrainian political and economic reforms, and implementation of the Minsk agreements.  The Vice President congratulated President Poroshenko on reaching agreement with Ukraine’s commercial creditors on debt restructuring, and welcomed news of an agreement among several pro-reform political forces to run a common slate of candidates in Ukraine’s local elections this October.  The Vice President also emphasized the United States’ strong support for constitutional amendments proposed by President Poroshenko and Ukraine’s Constitutional Commission that will allow for meaningful decentralization of power in keeping with the relevant provisions of the Minsk agreements while preserving Ukraine’s unitary state structure.  The two leaders discussed the situation in the eastern part of the country and condemned the escalation of attacks by combined Russian-separatist forces, to include attacks on OSCE monitors.  The Vice President also strongly criticized statements by separatist leaders indicating their intention to take additional territory and hold local elections outside of the Ukrainian legal framework in direct contravention of the Minsk agreements of September 2014 and February 2015.

Source: The White House Press Office

Former Klansman on Emmett Till's Murder: 'Carolyn Bryant Flirted with Black Boys'


Close Friend of the Bryant Family Makes Shocking Allegation About the Circumstances That Led to Emmett Till's Murder


In a previous episode, actor and director Michael Green discussed his acclaimed play Whistle in Mississippi: The Lynching of Emmett Till, the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder, and the men who were acquitted in case: Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam. Mr. Green also proclaimed that he believed something "positive" took place in the store between Emmett Till and Carolyn Bryant, the woman that Till whistled at ...and a woman that has remained silent and in seclusion for the last several decades. According to my special guest, Mr. Green is absolutely correct in his assessment.

Scott Shepherd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and served as Imperial Wizard, Grand Wizard, and national leader of the Omerta Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. His other affiliations included the National Association for the Advancement of White People and The European-American Unity Rights Organization. Shepherd created The National White Rights Association and The White Rights Organization.

The Mississippi native, who frequently appears in my ongoing series "Racism and Rage in America", has known and interacted with members of the Bryant family since he was a child.

Over the last 30 years, Shepherd, his father, extended family members, and members of the Indianola community have privately discussed the Till murder and the role Carolyn Bryant may have played. Now, nearly 60 years after the murder, trial and acquittal, Scott Shepherd is going to reveal what he describes as a crucial element that should've been considered when the federal government attempted to file charges against Carolyn Bryant. According to the former Klansman and members of his family, it was something that was common knowledge throughout the Indianola community.

The interview was conducted via Skype on June 18, 2014.

Additional information pertaining to this episode is available through the following links:

Scott Shepherd's blogs:

Justice Delayed, But Not Denied ('60 Minutes' Segment)

Civil Rights Hero Caught in Corruption Probe

The President on the 10-year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

President Obama delivers remarks in New Orleans on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The President is Briefed on Resilience and Preparedness Efforts in New Orleans

Former President George W. Bush Remarks on 10th Anniversary of Katrina

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina former President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush return to Warren Easton Charter School in New Orleans, the same school he visited on the first Katrina anniversary.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Washington Journal: Rebuilding New Orleans Post-Katrina

Karen Durham-Aguilera of the Army Corps of Engineers' Task Force Hope joins from New Orleans to talk about the city post-Katrina and efforts to rebuild the area after the hurricane slammed into the Gulf coast.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Governor Scott Walker Remarks on Foreign Policy

Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) delivers remarks on his foreign policy priorities at an event in Charleston, South Carolina. Topics include the Iran nuclear agreement and the U.S.-led military effort against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Senator Marco Rubio on U.S. Policy Toward China

2016 Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) outlines his policy toward China if he is elected president during a campaign stop in Charleston, South Carolina. He also fields questions from the audience.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

'Veep Talk': Biden Speaks with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman


The Vice President spoke with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman yesterday.  The Vice President thanked the Sultan for his continued leadership in trying to defuse regional tensions and end the bloodshed in Yemen. Both the Vice President and the Sultan reiterated their commitment to pursuing a negotiated political solution to the conflict.

Source: The White House Press Office

President of Germany to Visit White House


President Obama will host President Joachim Gauck of Germany for a meeting in the Oval Office on Wednesday, October 7.  President Gauck’s visit will mark the 25th anniversary of German reunification and underscore the abiding friendship and partnership between the United States and Germany. The President looks forward to discussing ways to build on this partnership in the pursuit of common values and shared strategic and economic goals.

Source: The White House Press Office

Second Estimate of GDP for the Second Quarter of 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the second estimate of GDP for the second quarter of 2015. 

Real GDP growth in the second quarter was revised markedly upward, as consumers spent more and businesses invested more than previously estimated. The economy grew at a much faster pace in the second quarter than in the first, with strong personal consumption leading the rebound. At this time in the global economy, it is essential that we continue to do everything we can to maintain America’s domestic economic momentum—including avoiding a return to fiscal brinksmanship or unnecessary austerity by passing an on-time budget that reverses the sequester, increasing investments in infrastructure as part of a long-term transportation reauthorization, and other steps to foster long-term growth.


1. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 3.7 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter according to the BEA’s latest estimate, well above the first quarter’s 0.6 percent pace and the BEA’s initial second-quarter estimate of 2.3 percent growth. In the second quarter, the increase in GDP growth was led by a faster pace of personal consumption growth than in the first quarter and a shift from negative to positive net export growth. Structures investment, which declined sharply in the first quarter and was previously thought to have declined in the second, is now estimated to have grown. Overall, real GDP has now risen 2.7 percent over the past four quarters. Real Gross Domestic Output (GDO)—an alternative gauge of economic output that is potentially more accurate (though not predictably stronger or weaker) over the long term, which BEA calls “the average of GDP and Gross Domestic Income (GDI)”—rose 2.1 percent in the second quarter and has risen 2.5 percent over the past four quarters, indicating a similar trend for growth as GDP albeit with a different quarterly pattern.

(Click on graphs to increase their size.)
2. The 1.4 percentage point upward revision to real second-quarter GDP was spread across many components of economic output. Business fixed investment accounted for a little more than a third of the overall revision, as investment in structures, equipment, and intellectual property were all higher than previously estimated. Indeed, business investment—weighed down by reduced oil-related investment in the wake of oil price declines and previously thought to have fallen—is now estimated to have grown in the second quarter. State and local government purchases also accounted for 0.3 percentage point of the overall revision, as did inventory investment. Personal consumption, net exports, and federal government spending also each saw small positive upward revisions. Notably, this was an especially broad-based revision without any downward revisions in major components of GDP.

3. Initial estimates of Gross Domestic Output (GDO) growth over the long term tend to predict subsequent revisions to GDP growth. GDO is the Council of Economic Advisers’ term for the average of GDP and Gross Domestic Income (GDI)—two measures that should conceptually be identical but differ due to measurement error. While not systematically stronger or weaker than GDP over time, GDO can provide a more accurate picture of economic output, in part because independent errors to GDP and GDI tend partially to cancel out when the two are added. Relatedly, early GDO estimates appear to provide information about the extent to which GDP will eventually be revised. When GDO is estimated to grow faster than GDP, GDP tends to be revised up, and vice versa. The chart below shows the association between revisions to GDP growth incorporating all annual revisions to date (the “years later” measure) and the gap between initially estimated GDP and GDO. Of course—as with virtually all economic data when there are noisy statistics—it is important to focus on longer-term trends. Our analysis here is based on four-quarter growth rates of GDP and GDO, and we caution against focusing too much on the quarterly gap.
4. A slowdown in business investment during the recovery has been led by oil-driven declines in structures and equipment spending, while intellectual property investment—including research and development—has accelerated throughout the recovery. Structures and equipment investment grew markedly more slowly over the first half of 2015 than they had earlier in the recovery, largely reflecting reduced oil investment in the low-price environment. These components have restrained overall business investment growth. But at the same time, investment in intellectual property, which chiefly comprises research and development and software, has grown progressively faster. In fact, research and development investment has grown 7.9 percent over the past four quarters, the fastest pace since 2007 and three times faster than overall economic growth. The acceleration in overall IP spending has been relatively steady throughout the recovery, while equipment and structures investment have been volatile. Many economists view research and development as an important source of productivity growth.
5. Real private domestic final purchases (PDFP)—the sum of consumption and fixed investment—rose 3.3 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter, and is growing at a faster year-over-year pace than overall GDP. Real PDFP—which excludes the often noisy components like net exports, inventories, and government spending—is generally a more reliable indicator of next-quarter GDP growth than current GDP. While GDO aims to measure output growth more accurately in a given quarter by reducing measurement error, PDFP aims to measure signals of future economic growth by eliminating some of the noisy components in GDP. Over the past four quarters, PDFP grew by 3.4 percent, a faster rate than overall GDP growth. In analogy to the relationship between GDP and PDFP, the sum of wages and corporate profits is an especially important component of Gross Domestic Income (GDI), the income-side output measure that is combined with GDP to produce GDO. In fact, while PDFP tends to predict next-quarter GDP especially well, wages and profits tend to predict GDP over the next four quarters especially well—despite being more volatile than PDFP. Real wages and profits have grown 2.6 percent over the past four quarters, roughly in line with current trends in GDP and GDO.
As the Administration stresses every quarter, GDP figures can be volatile and are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one single report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available. 
Source: The White House Press Office

New Lawsuit Alleges Keyless Ignitions May Be to Blame for Carbon Monoxide Deaths

A new lawsuit claims 13 deaths were caused when drivers left their keyless car ignitions running.

New Research Finds Rise in Injuries Caused by Walking and Texting

Frank Petersen, Marines' First Black Aviator and General, Dies at 83

Retired Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, who made history twice as the first African-American aviator in the Marine Corps and then as the Corps' first African-American general, has died at 83, the Marines' announced.

Petersen, who flew more than 350 combat missions in Korea and Vietnam, died Tuesday at his home in Stevensville, Maryland, of complications from lung cancer.

When he retired as a lieutenant general in 1988, Petersen was the senior ranking aviator in both the Marines and the Navy — with which he served before joining the Marine Corps — and simultaneously held the honorary titles of Silver Hawk and Grey Eagle. 

Click here for article.

Remembering Emmett Till's Murder, 60 Years Later

Dick Gregory explains why the death of young Emmett Till struck such a chord with people at the time.

FDA to Cigarette Makers: Your Products Aren't 'Natural'

The Food and Drug Administration flexed its new muscles against the tobacco industry Thursday, scolding makers of three brands of cigarettes for labels saying they are "natural" or "additive-free".

It issued warning letters to Winston maker ITG Brands LLC; Natural American Spirit maker Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Inc.; and Nat Sherman maker Sherman's 1400 Broadway N.Y.C. Ltd.

"The FDA has determined that these products, described as 'natural' and 'additive-free' on their labeling, need an FDA modified risk tobacco product order before they can be legally introduced as such into interstate commerce," the agency said in a statement. 

Click here for article.

Source: NBC News

Scott Walker to Outline Foreign Policy Blueprint

After a week of calling on the White House to cancel next month's state visit for the Chinese president, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will lay out his own foreign policy blueprint, laying out a plan to take on terrorism and saying "America will not be intimidated."

During a speech to cadets at the Citadel in South Carolina, Walker will continue his attacks against what he has called the "Obama-Clinton" foreign policy, calling it filled with "delusion and wishful thinking," according to excerpts released by his campaign. 

Click here for article. 

Source: NBC News

Vatican Says Ex-Envoy, Charged With Sexual Abuse, Has Died

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican's former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, the highest-ranking Holy See official to ever be charged with sexually abusing young boys, was found dead Friday as he awaited trial, the Vatican said.

In a statement, the Vatican press office said preliminary checks on Jozef Wesolowski, 67, "indicated that the death was from natural causes." 

Click here for the article. 

Source: NBC News

Flanagan Family Issues Statement

A friend of the family of Vester Flanagan has issued a statement after the shooting that killed two journalists in Virginia.

Biden Breaks Silence on 2016 Presidential Run

The vice president recently described his struggle in the wake of his son Beau's death saying that if he were to announce a White House bid, he'd have to give it his heart and soul.

Tropical Storm Erika Kills At Least 12 in Caribbean, Florida Governor Declares Emergency

The governor of Florida declared a state of emergency Friday ahead of Tropical Storm Erika, which has killed at least 12 people as it rakes the Caribbean.

Gov. Rick Scott said the storm constitutes a "severe threat." Erika is expected to reach Florida late Sunday or early Monday, but it's not clear how strong the storm will be.

Roosevelt Skerrit, the prime minister of the Caribbean island of Dominica, tweeted that 12 people were confirmed dead in heavy flooding there, "but the number may be higher." He appealed for fresh water and supplies.

He said he was on his way to Petite Savanne, the area hit hardest. He said he did not know how many people were hurt.

Spain Police Raid Offices of Foundation Linked to Catalan Ruling Party

Reuters, 28/08 16:25 CET

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s Civil Guard raided the offices of a think tank linked to the governing party in independence-minded Catalonia on Friday, the region’s highest court said, as part of a judicial investigation into suspected corruption.

The search by the national military police force came one month before a regional vote in Catalonia, Spain’s richest area, that separatists bill as a proxy vote on independence. The election is likely to provoke renewed tension between the region and the national government.

Click here for article.

Source: Euronews

Switzerland Says Regrets Envoy’s Display of Netanyahu Cartoon

Reuters, 28/08 15:41 CET

By John Miller

ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland expressed regret on Friday after its ambassador to Iran displayed a cartoon depicting two doves defecating on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s head, at an event promoting Iranian business opportunities.

Ambassador Giulio Haas showed the image during a speech to hundreds of Swiss and Iranian business people at a Zurich hotel on Thursday.

The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) said the “questionable cartoon” was used without its knowledge. “The FDFA regrets the use of this cartoon and considers it tasteless,” it said in a statement.

Click here for article. 

Source: Euronews

Border Firing Kills Nine on India-Pakistan War Anniversary

Reuters, 28/08 15:39 CET

SRINAGAR, India/LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) – Cross-border firing between India and Pakistan killed at least nine people on Friday, the day India marked the 50th anniversary of a war between the two South Asian nations.

On the Pakistani side of the frontier, six civilians were killed and more than 40 were treated for wounds in hospital in the town of Sialkot, the media wing of the Pakistani military said.

India’s Border Security Force (BSF) said three civilians had died and 22 were wounded in firing across the frontier in the northern Jammu region.

Both said the other side had opened fire first.

Click here for article. 

Source: Euronews

New IEA Boss Faces World Energy Landscape in Flux

 Fatih Birol, new head of the International Energy Agency

Reuters, 28/08 15:14 CET

PARIS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The new head of the International Energy Agency faces dilemmas that challenge the purpose of the body set up to protect the interests of the West against the power of OPEC in the 1970s.

Fatih Birol of Turkey — the IEA’s respected chief economist — takes over on Tuesday, replacing Dutch politician Maria van der Hoeven, a former economy minister whose four-year term has expired.

“There is a lot of expectation on Birol — not just external performance, but crucially internal upgrade and institutional strategy,” said one official on condition of anonymity.

Although speaking for big oil-consuming countries, the IEA finds member the United States once again a leading producer and replacing OPEC as a dominant force on world markets.

Click here for the article.

Source: Euronews

Australian Border Force Scores ‘Own Goal’ Over Mass Visa Checks in Melbourne

Protesters celebrate the cancellation of mass visa checks in the Australian city of Melbourne.

The Australian Border Force abandoned the controversial operation to randomly stop and check people after hundred showed up at this snap demonstration.

“I find the idea of people going around on the street checking people’s papers frankly Orwellian,” said one unnamed protester.

“We fought a war against this sort of stuff in 1945,” said another.

The hashtag #BorderFarce went viral online after news broke that officers would speak with anyone they crossed paths with.

Protesters say the cancellation of what’s been described as an own goal by the Australian Border Force is a victory for people power. 

Click here for video. 

Source: Euronews

Hundreds Feared Dead as Migrant Boats Capsize Off Libyan Coast

Source: Euronews

ISIL Militants Capture Key Syrian Town

Source: Euronews (Published on August 27, 2015)

1,500 People Rescued Amid Latest Migrant Tragedy in Mediterranean Sea

Source: Euronews

Greece’s First Female PM Sworn In

Source: Euronews

Slum Eviction Sparks Clashes in Brazil

Source: Euronews

Dozens Dead in North Korea Floods

Source: Euronews

"Flashback Friday": The Fall of Saigon (1975)

Warning! This video contains images that some may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "I Have a Dream" (Full Speech)

Trailblazers in Black History

Today in History: August 28th

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

White House Press Briefing

'Let's Talk': Obama and Merkel Discuss Violence in Ukraine, Migration Crisis in Europe

President Obama spoke today by phone with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to discuss the recent upsurge in violence in eastern Ukraine resulting from increased attacks by combined Russian-separatist forces across the Line of Contact.  President Obama noted Ukraine’s progress in implementing its obligations under the Minsk agreements, and reiterated that Russia must do the same.  President Obama also expressed his appreciation of the Chancellor’s leadership in working to address the migration crisis in Europe, in particular her recent decision to ease the burden on border countries by providing haven to Syrian refugees.

Source: The White House Press Office

'Human Powder Keg': 'Suicide Note' Claims Discrimination Fueled Live TV Attack

A man claiming to be the gunman in the Virginia TV news shootings wrote in a chilling letter that he was pushed "over the top" by the Charleston church massacre and expressed admiration for the killers from Virginia Tech and Columbine.

In a 23-page fax to ABC News and a follow-up call, both after the attack, the man identified himself as Vester Flanagan and as Bryce Williams. He said he suffered racial discrimination and bullying at work and was attacked for being black and gay.

"The church shooting was the tipping point," he wrote, according to ABC News, "but my anger has been building steadily ... I've been a human powder keg for a while ... just waiting to go BOOM!!!!" 

Click here for the article and related videos.

Source: NBC News

WDBJ Shooting Suspect Dead of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

Peace Agreement in South Sudan

Statement by National Security Advisor Susan Rice
The United States welcomes President Kiir’s decision to accept the terms of peace and sign the regionally-sponsored peace agreement today in South Sudan.  However, we do not recognize any reservations or addendums to that agreement.  The United States believes this is the necessary first step toward ending the conflict and rebuilding the country.  Now the hard work begins.  Implementing this agreement will require commitment and resolve from all parties to the conflict as well as South Sudan’s regional and international partners.  The United States will support the people of South Sudan as they begin the implementation process, but it is imperative that the parties remain committed to peace.  We will work with our international partners to sideline those who stand in the way of peace, drawing upon the full range of our multilateral and bilateral tools.

The United States is grateful for the constructive role played by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the African Union to secure an agreement.  Together, we must help South Sudan implement the agreement, to stave off famine, to stand steadfast and united against those who block the path to peace, and to hold accountable those who have committed atrocities.  At this moment of opportunity, the United States stands in solidarity with the people of South Sudan, and with all those working to build the peaceful future that they so deserve. 

Source: The White House Press Office

Civil Rights Icon Amelia Boynton Robinson Dies


Statements from President Obama and Rev. Al Sharpton

President Obama: 
Amelia Boynton Robinson was a dedicated and courageous leader in the fight for civil rights. For most of her 104 years, Amelia committed herself to a simple, American principle: that everybody deserves the right to vote. Fifty years ago, she marched in Selma, and the quiet heroism of those marchers helped pave the way for the landmark Voting Rights Act. But for the rest of her life, she kept marching – to make sure the law was upheld, and barriers to the polls torn down. And America is so fortunate she did. To honor the legacy of an American hero like Amelia Boynton requires only that we follow her example – that all of us fight to protect everyone’s right to vote. Earlier this year, in Selma, Michelle and I had the honor to walk with Amelia and other foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement. She was as strong, as hopeful, and as indomitable of spirit – as quintessentially American – as I’m sure she was that day 50 years ago. And we offer our thoughts, our prayers, and our enduring gratitude to everyone who loved her.

Rev. Al Sharpton:
“I am saddened by the passing of Amelia Boynton Robinson, a heroic symbol of sustained agitation and commitment around voting rights and civil rights in this country. Had it not been for her sacrifice--being brutally beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and her continued fighting to maintain the Voting Rights Act--we would not be where we are today.

One of my greatest moments of pride was walking behind her wheelchair on the bridge in March next to President Barack Obama on the 50th Anniversary of the day that she and Congressman John Lewis were beaten. I am glad she lived to see a Black President but we must make sure we maintain the Voting Rights Act and voter protection for all Americans in her memory.”
Left to right, President Barack Obama, Reverend Al Sharpton and Amelia Boynton Robinson leading the walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in remembrance of the 50th Anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery, on March 7, 2015.
Sources: The White House Press Office and the National Action Network press office