In this week's address, President Obama acknowledged that the aftermath of tragedies like we've seen in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Minnesota, can leave us struggling to make sense of these events.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
This is the third in a series of convenings of law enforcement officers from around the country aimed at facilitating the implementation of the Final Report of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein talked about her party’s platform. She also discussed her criticism of Senator Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) endorsement of Democratic presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, including possible implications for the 2016 election. She spoke via video link from Watertown, MA.
Witnesses, including local law enforcement officers, testified at a hearing on the Urban Area Security Initiative Grant Program, which funds terrorism prevention efforts in U.S. cities.
By Kelly O'Donnell
It's official: Mike Pence is Donald Trump's running mate.
Trump announced Friday in a tweet that he has selected the Indiana governor to run on the GOP ticket with him in the fall.
Trump will hold a news conference to unveil the decision on Saturday morning. He had planned to hold the announcement event on Friday morning but delayed it after a mass attack in France left scores dead.
Source: NBC News
By The Associated Press
Congress exited a sweltering Washington on Thursday, its dysfunction on full display as it left behind must-do legislation to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus and a stalemate over lawmakers' basic job of fulfilling agency budgets.
The twin failures highlighted the one step forward, two steps back nature of the bitterly-divided Congress, even as Senate Majority Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan trumpeted victories on drug abuse legislation and other, more modest bills. But a continuing impasse over the Pentagon budget sent McConnell's effort to revive the process for advancing annual spending bills off the rails.
When lawmakers return from their vacation after Labor Day, a stopgap funding bill that's needed to prevent a government shutdown will be the main order of business before Congress recesses again for the fall campaign.
Source: NBC News
By Meg Tirrell
Health officials have identified what they suspect to be the first female-to-male sexual transmission of the Zika virus, in a young woman in New York and her partner.
The woman, in her 20s, had returned to the city from travel to an area with active Zika transmission and engaged in condomless sex with her partner, according to a report Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The next day, she felt symptoms including fever, rash and muscle pain. She subsequently tested positive for Zika.
A week later, her partner experienced similar symptoms, and two days later, the Zika virus was detected in his urine, the CDC said. He reported no other recent sexual partners or mosquito bites in the preceding week, and no travel outside the U.S. for the previous year.
By Associated Press
Consumers wanting to know if their foods contain genetically modified ingredients will be able to find out for the first time.
Congress sent legislation to President Barack Obama on Thursday that would require most food packages to carry a text label, a symbol or an electronic code readable by smartphone that indicates whether the food contains genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs. The Agriculture Department would have two years to write the rules.
The White House says Obama will sign the bill, which would supersede a Vermont law that kicked in earlier this month. The House passed the legislation 306-117 on Thursday.
Source: NBC News
- Reuters; REX; AP
By Ko Bragg
This article was originally published on July 14.
The nominations for the 68th Emmy Awards were announced today, showing a diverse field of actors of color and productions that feature diverse casts.
This class of nominees represent a stark contrast to the lack of diversity in the Oscar nomination. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite infamously emerged as a response to only white actors being nominated for the top four acting categories for the second year in a row. The movement forced the nation—and The Academy—to look at the lack of diversity in the film industry, and even led to some celebrities boycotting the Oscars.
At today's release, Anthony Anderson co-hosted the announcements and in a cute moment, actually announced himself as a nominee for outstanding lead actor for the comedy series, "black-ish."
Beyoncé's visual album "Lemonade" received four nominations for its HBO debut. The film "Confirmation," about Anita Hill received recognition in two categories: executive producer Kerry Washington for outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie, and the other for outstanding television movie.
Source: NBC News
Royce Mann's poem also helped him win a school poetry competition, not to mention hundreds of fans and quite a few critics online. WXIA's LaTasha Givens reports.
By Ken Dilanian
The long-secret "28-pages" from a Congressional report on 9/11 that are said to explore the alleged involvement of prominent Saudi citizens in helping plan and finance the terror attacks are slated to be released imminently, American officials tell NBC News.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence Committee, said the release could come as early as today.
A U.S. official told NBC News the pages would be declassified and sent to Congress Friday. Congressional officials were still deciding how the release would be handled, since the joint committee that produced the pages no longer exists.
The pages contain inflammatory passages but do not prove a Saudi government link to the al Qaeda terror operation, current and former government officials have told NBC News.
Source: NBC News
Reuters, 15/07 18:25 CET
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s state prosecutor said on Friday it would go to the top court to challenge a ruling reinstating corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma – drawing accusations from the opposition of a cover-up.
Zuma – whose ruling African National Congress contests local government elections next month – has faced mounting calls to quit from the opposition and even some of his own supporters after a series of scandals and court rulings against him.
Legal pressure mounted in May when the High Court ordered a review of a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decision to set aside hundreds of corruption charges against Zuma, calling it “irrational”.
The NPA, which has already tried and failed to appeal against the order at the High Court, said on Friday it would fight on as the case raised points of law and other principles, without going into detail.
“The NPA has decided to apply for leave to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court against the judgment,” it said in a statement.
The main opposition party said the state prosecutor’s decision was an attempt to shield the president and buy him time before the August elections.
The Bank of England has left the cost of borrowing unchanged in Britain – for now.
The main interest rate stays at 0.5 percent where it has been for more than seven years.
Governor Mark Carney has signaled there will be more stimulus during the summer, but he has expressed concern about what a big interest rate cut would do to the profits of UK based banks.
He has also said he would not want to follow the example of the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan by cutting rates below zero.
Action is likely on August 4 when the Bank of England (BoE) is due to release its latest Inflation Report along with new growth forecasts.
EU regulators have hit Google with another anti trust charge.
The European Commission accuses the tech giant of blocking rivals in the online search advertising market.
In another case, it says Google favours its own shopping services over those offered by the firm’s competitors.
“Dominance is not a problem on the EU law, you can be big, but however it is illegal to abuse a powerful market position by restricting competition either in the market where the company is dominant or in any neighbouring market,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
The following statement was issued this evening by the President.
On behalf of the American people, I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, which killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed, and we wish a full recovery for the many wounded. I have directed my team to be in touch with French officials, and we have offered any assistance that they may need to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice. We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack.
On this Bastille Day, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience and democratic values that have made France an inspiration to the entire world, and we know that the character of the French Republic will endure long after this devastating and tragic loss of life.
Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary
Note: Additional information on the tragedy is available through this link:
Up to 76 Dead After Truck Plows into Crowds in Nice
Up to 76 Dead After Truck Plows into Crowds in Nice
The President spoke by phone today with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May to congratulate her on her new office. President Obama emphasized that the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom remains strong and will endure and that he looks forward to building a close working relationship with Prime Minister May. The President also offered his full support for the Prime Minister’s efforts to lead the United Kingdom through a smooth, orderly, and transparent negotiation over its exit from the European Union.
Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) briefed reporters and responded to questions on a range of legislative issues and Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) and her Democratic colleagues unveiled their national security agenda before leaving for the party’s convention and summer recess.
Louisiana Republican John Fleming introduces a privileged resolution calling for the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
July 14, 2016
July 14, 2016
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) pays tribute to law enforcement officers and urges Americans to thank police in their communities. Representative James Clyburn (D-SC) responds and talks about his experiences with police, including conversations he's had with his grandson about how to behave if stopped by an officer.
by Caitlin Hillyard
July 14, 2016
by Caitlin Hillyard
July 14, 2016
Micah Xavier Johnson: the much vilified shooter in Dallas, especially by the sanctimonious liberal punditocracy. Johnson pulled the trigger, but despicable, entrenched injustice --- as well as the ridiculous “gun laws” that the gun industry, through their shill, the NRA, has unloaded on us --- loaded the gun. Some Repub. Congressman actually said, “Where did he get his arsenal?” Duh! Repub. industry-funded “gun laws,” that’s where. As injustice and inequality become bolder, expect more Johnsons to come forth.
Naive Chicago teenager Emmett Till was savagely murdered in the South, but his killers walked, and even openly bragged about their crime.
A “justified lynching” was depicted in the 1916 pro-Ku Klux Klan movie, “The Birth of a Nation.” The victim to be hanged is a white actor in blackface. (Wikipedia) The KKK’s main goal at the beginning was to terrorize African Americans to prevent them from voting.
Click here for additional information on the project.
Source: Jada Pinkett-Smith via Twitter
Note: Matthew Hamilton reported from Albany. Hearst’s Dan Freedman reported from Washington.
A congressional committee has taken the apparently unprecedented step of sending subpoenas to attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts over a multi-state probe of Exxon Mobil.
Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee, announced that formal subpoenas would be going out at a Wednesday afternoon press conference at the U.S. Capitol. This after a roughly two-month effort to force New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and others to voluntarily give up a number of records related to the Exxon investigation, which looks at whether the company lied to investors and the public in the past about what they knew about climate change.
Smith said “the attorneys general have appointed themselves to decide what is valid and what is invalid in terms of climate change” and the investigation is a “blatant effort to deny free speech.”
“The actions by the attorneys general amount to a form of extortion,” he said.
Smith said he expects responses from attorneys general in two weeks.
In a statement, a Schneiderman spokesman maintained that the committee “has no authority to interfere with these state law enforcement investigations, and whether they issue a subpoena or not, this Attorney General will not be intimidated or deterred from ensuring that every New Yorker receives the full protection of state laws.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that Trooper Donald L. Atkinson and Trooper Lawrence F. Gurdo II are the recipients of the New York State Police Officer of the Year Award. The troopers were recognized for helping rescue a 14-year-old girl from the waters of the Whitney Point Reservoir in Broome County last summer. Both men braved cold water and an extremely strong undercurrent to pull the teen to safety from reservoir dam, near the mouth of a quarter-mile-long intake tunnel.
“Troopers Atkinson and Gurdo epitomized bravery and professionalism in their actions, which saved a young girl from imminent danger." Governor Cuomo said. “On behalf of all New Yorkers, I honor them for their heroism and for exemplifying the very best of New York’s law enforcement community.”
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul joined with Michael C. Green, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the State Division of Criminal Justice Services and State Police Superintendent George Beach to present the award to Troopers Atkinson and Gurdo on Governor Cuomo’s behalf. Over 50 people attended the award ceremony at Whitney Point Middle School, including family members of the two troopers and law enforcement colleagues from throughout Broome County.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, "Police officers are role models in their communities and they make our neighborhoods safer. Today, we commend the heroic acts of two New York State Troopers who put their own lives at risk to save another. Because of the actions taken by Trooper Donald Atkinson and Trooper Lawrence Gurdo, a young teenage girl can now lead a full life."
At around 8 p.m. on July 15, 2015, Trooper Atkinson initially responded to a report of a distressed swimmer in an area of restricted water near the Whitney Point Reservoir Dam in Dorchester Park. Upon arriving, he learned that the girl had been pulled into one of the dam’s intake tunnels, an area where water rushes by at 1,400 cubic feet per second, a speed comparable to that of whitewater rafting rapids. Able to hear the girl yelling for help but unable to see her in the water, he swam to the area dam intake tunnels and began searching.
Trooper Gurdo arrived with a rope and handed it to a passerby to assist Trooper Atkinson as he battled a strong undercurrent to check each entryway. Trooper Gurdo then entered the water, boosting Trooper Atkinson onto a ledge above the intake entryway so that he could continue to search without getting pulled into the tunnels.
On the ledge, the Troopers spotted the girl about 15 feet away, barely keeping her head above water. They were able to reach the teen and pull her to safety on the ledge. A short time later, a fire department rescue boat arrived and brought all three individuals to shore.
State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “Trooper Atkinson and Trooper Gurdo went above and beyond their normal duties last July, when they risked their own lives to save that of a 14-year-old girl who became trapped at the Whitney Point Dam. We commend them both for a job well done, and thank them both for their service to the people of New York State.”
The Division of Criminal Justice Services coordinates the work of the Police Officer of the Year Selection Committee, which reviews nominations submitted by New York State law enforcement agencies.
Division of Criminal Justice Services Executive Deputy Commissioner and Police Officer of the Year Selection Committee Chairman Michael C. Green said, “All of the nominations received by the committee exemplify what it means to serve and protect. The actions of these two troopers, however, stood out from the others. They went well beyond the call of duty to rescue a girl who most likely would have drowned had it not been for their swift action. I am pleased to recognize their heroic efforts on behalf of the committee.”
Trooper Atkinson, who has been a member of the State Police for more than 15 years, is assigned to Troop C in Whitney Point. He is a field training officer, a certified emergency medical technician, and a certified instructor teaching radar at the State Police Academy. Raised in the Binghamton area, his first job in law enforcement was with the Broome County Sheriff’s Office. Earlier this year, Trooper Atkinson was named the 2015 Trooper of the Year by the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Division of State and Provincial Police for his actions during the rescue. He was one of four nominees and represented the North Atlantic Region. Trooper Atkinson continues lives in the Binghamton area where he is an active member of the local volunteer fire department. He and his wife, Lisa, have three children.
Trooper Gurdo has been with the State Police for nearly three years and is now stationed with Troop D in Oneida. Raised in the Herkimer County village of Poland, he graduated from Niagara University and was subsequently commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his service in Iraq. Trooper Gurdo resides in the Marcy area with his fiancée Stephanie and continues to serve in the Army Reserves as a Captain.
The Police Officer of the Year Award was created in 1983 to recognize a single police officer, or team of officers, for an exceptional act of valor symbolizing the service of police in New York State. The award was first presented in 1984.
Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
A new series of aggressive enforcement actions to combat the illegal sale of K2 and other synthetic drugs. The Governor announced the State Department of Health’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, in partnership with the New York State Police, will step up enforcement efforts in communities across the state to crack down on the illegal sale of K2. Additionally, the Governor will require that the State Liquor Authority and New York State Gaming Commission increase their oversight and enforcement efforts to revoke a store owner’s liquor and lottery licenses if they are found to be illegally peddling K2.
“The evolution of synthetic drugs is an alarming public health risk – but we are on the front lines of the battle,” Governor Cuomo said. “The state will continue to identify emerging compounds that put users in danger and aggressively chase down sellers of these toxic substances."
Beginning this week, the state will step up enforcement efforts and increase state police presence to ensure that businesses fully comply with all applicable New York State laws, including the 2015 emergency regulations banning the manufacture, sale, and distribution of synthetic drugs. New York will vigorously pursue all available civil, criminal, and administrative remedies against any business or business owner found to be manufacturing, possessing for sale or selling illegal synthetic drugs.
In 2012, Governor Cuomo expanded the list of prohibited drugs and chemicals to include dozens more substances that are now used to make synthetic drugs, to ensure that distributors can no longer skirt the law by simply modifying the drug's ingredients. In addition, the regulations allowed for the first time an owner of an establishment and/or an employee selling synthetic drugs to be charged with possession of an illicit substance.
In 2015, the Governor built on this progress by adding two additional classes of compounds to the banned substances list, which potentially included hundreds of different hazardous chemicals. They were unanimously approved by the Public Health and Health Planning Council. Last year Governor Cuomo also announced two new public service announcements to educate and inform New Yorkers about the dangers of synthetic drugs.
Under current law, an owner of an establishment, as well as any other person possessing, distributing, selling or offering prohibited synthetic drugs for sale, will face a fine up to $500 and/or up to 15 days in jail. Civil penalties include a fine up to $2,000 per violation.
Synthetic cannabinoids are marketed as legal and typically consist of plant material coated by chemicals, which are supposed to mimic THC, the active chemical compound in marijuana. The drugs are marketed as incense, herbal mixtures, or potpourri in order to mask their true purpose. Street names for substances include Spice, K2, Green Giant, Smacked, Wicked X, AK-47, Geeked Up, Ninja, Caution, Red Giant, and Keisha Kole.
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “The recent resurgence of synthetic marijuana is a public health crisis. I applaud Governor Cuomo for taking decisive action to stop the sales of synthetic marijuana to ensure that more New Yorkers are not harmed by this dangerous substance.”
State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “By strengthening enforcement against the distribution of synthetic cannabinoids, Governor Cuomo is leading the fight against the threat of modern drugs. Synthetic marijuana is an illegal and dangerous substance that plagues our community. These actions will help us crack down on the epidemic and keep New Yorkers safe.”
New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, “These man-made substances are extremely dangerous and can be deadly. Sellers of these poisons must be stopped. We have raised awareness across the state about the dangers of these drugs, but today, with these actions, sellers of synthetics will now be held accountable. They will lose their lottery or liquor license if found selling these poisons for human consumption. Today’s action ensures that illegal sales of synthetics are stopped, so that more New Yorkers are saved from the dire consequences of these substances.”
Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presumptive presidential nominee, spoke at the Old State House in Springfield, Illinois, about race relations. President Abraham Lincoln delivered his “House Divided” speech there in 1858.
Dr. Tom Frieden was one of the three witnesses at a hearing on prevention efforts against the Zika virus that causes birth defects in pregnant women.
Dr. Frieden in his testimony said the U.S. would likely have a mosquito-borne transmission of the virus during summer 2016.
Representatives from several universities, security experts, and advocates testify at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on college campus safety, including concerns about bullying, hazing, and sexual assault.
Upon arrival at 10 Downing Street with her husband Philip, Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May made brief remarks about the kind of premiership she hopes to have. She replaced David Cameron, who resigned earlier in the day.
British Prime Minister David Cameron fields questions from Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn and parliamentary colleagues for the final time as he prepares to step down as prime minister. Home Secretary Theresa May will replace him.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an additional $30 million in funding for the successful Urban Youth Jobs Program, an innovative tax credit program which connects minority and at-risk youth with employment opportunities in communities across the state.
On July 16, the funeral service for New York radio personality Vaughn Harper will be held at the Riverside Church in New York, 490 Riverside Drive, between W. 120th and W. 122nd Street.
The viewing is scheduled for 9 a.m. and the service will take place at 11 a.m.
Attendees will include: Sandra Ross-Harper, widow of Vaughn Harper, his children Dionne, Brieanna, and Melanie; Rev. Dr. Al Sharpton; Grammy-winning recording artist Regina Belle; Tony Award-winner Melba Moore; songstress Alyson Williams; WBLS radio’s Dr. Bob Lee and radio industry colleagues.
Harper passed away at the age of 70 on July 9 after a long battle with Type 2 Diabetes. He was born March 1, 1946 at Sydenham Hospital in Harlem to Helen Harper and Floyd Jones.
After graduating from Boys High in Brooklyn, he attended Syracuse University on a full scholarship. At Syracuse, He was a standout basketball player for the Orange Men and scored 1,000 points during his college basketball career. He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1968, but suffered an injury during training camp.
Harper was recruited to the radio field and trained by legendary programmer Frankie Crocker. For more than two decades on WBLS 107.5, millions of listeners tuned in to his broadcasts. He appealed to audiences with an ear for ballads, jazz, fusion, classics and today's R&B and was often referred to as "Mr. Velvet Voice." He was regarded by many as the epitome of a radio personality and was even credited with creating the Smooth Jazz radio format. Moreover, he influenced generations and was admired and respected for his professional knowledge. He was the host of Japan's Suntory Quiet Storm, which held the number one spot in the ratings for three straight years.
Throughout his broadcast career, his accomplishments have been lauded in publications such as Amsterdam News, Billboard, Black Radio Exclusive, Cashbox, New York Daily News, New York Post, and New York Times. He was the voice of Budweiser's Black History Month commercial “Great Kings of Africa.”
Harper was the recipient of numerous awards, including Black Radio Exclusive and Jeep Unlimited Radio Person of the Year. He also claimed the number four spot on the “Best Urban DJ of All Time” list and was inducted into the Living Legends Hall of Fame.
He was the voice of Clear Channel's Urban properties, as well as the successful video game “Grand Theft Auto 4.” He was master of ceremony for Amateur Night at the Apollo, the CEBA Awards and the UNCF National Telethon. He also served as inflight announcer for Delta Airline's “Our Journey of Soul”, the “Black Music Month Special” and was a co-producer of the 2004 ballad driven album “Vaughn Harper Presents Quiet Songs.”
On the philanthropic front, he established an annual celebrity toy drive that provided gifts to underprivileged children in New York City during the Christmas season.
According to family and friends, his legacy of community involvement and giving will live on in the Vaughn Harper Computer Room in the Harlem Dowling West Side Center for Children and Family Services.