Friday, June 17, 2016

President Obama Meets with Saudi Officials

President Obama met this morning in the Oval Office with His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, to continue discussions begun in April at the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh. 

The President expressed appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s contributions to the campaign against ISIL.

Reviewing recent Iraqi gains against ISIL, the President and Deputy Crown Prince discussed steps to support the Iraqi people, including increased Gulf support to fund urgent humanitarian and stabilization needs.  

On Syria, they reaffirmed the importance of supporting the cessation of hostilities and a political transition away from Asad.  

The President and Deputy Crown Prince also agreed to build support for Libya’s Government of National Accord.  With regard to Yemen, the President welcomed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to concluding a political settlement of the conflict and of GCC support to address urgent humanitarian needs and rebuild the country. 

More broadly, the President and Deputy Crown Prince discussed Iran’s destabilizing activities and agreed to explore avenues that could lead to a de-escalation of tensions. They also discussed the important role Saudi Arabia can play in addressing extremist ideology.  

The President commended the Deputy Crown Prince’s commitment to reform Saudi Arabia’s economy and underscored strong U.S. support for achieving the recently-announced Vision 2030 goals. 

The Deputy Crown Prince underscored Saudi Arabia’s strong support for the Paris Agreement and welcomed cooperation with the United States on clean energy issues.  

The President and Deputy Crown Prince reaffirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Senators Scott and Graham on Charleston Shooting Anniversary

Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke on the eve of the anniversary of the Charleston, South Carolina, shooting and the unity such tragedy fosters. June 17, 2016, marked the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine people died.

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Source: C-SPAN

Long Island Brothers Who Collected Nazi Paraphernalia Busted After Stockpile of Weapons....


A pair of Long Island brothers who collected Nazi paraphernalia were arrested after a stockpile of weapons, drugs and bomb-making instructions were found in their home, authorities said.

Edward Perkowski, 29, was arrested on Thursday morning after officers executed a search warrant at his Mount Sinai home.

He is facing weapons and drug charges after police also found marijuana and mushrooms at the property. 

His brother Sean, 25, who also lives in the home, was charged with an outstanding bench warrant, police said. 

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Source: Daily Mail

"Flashback Friday": The Death of Michael Jackson

Trailblazers in Black History: Carole Simpson

Published on YouTube on August 10, 2012.

Legendary news anchor Carole Simpson has broken more race and gender barriers than just about anybody in television, which she chronicles in her book 'NewsLady.'

Bernie Sanders - National Address

The address was made on June 16, 2016. 

Source: Bernie 2016

George W. Bush Returns to Politics to Aid Troubled GOP Senators

Former President George W. Bush is diving back into politics in an effort to try to save his party's most vulnerable senators, including those whose campaigns have become more challenging with Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee, NBC News has confirmed.

"President Bush believes that it's critical to keep the Senate in Republican hands. He is actively helping some senators in tight races who are strong leaders and share timeless conservative values," Bush spokesman Freddy Ford told NBC News.

The New York Times first reported the news. 

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Source: NBC News

First Read: Ryan Instructs Republicans to Follow Their 'Conscience' on Trump

Yellow Fever Death Toll Passes 400 in Africa

More than 400 people have died from yellow fever in Africa, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

The WHO and other groups are trying to help Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo fight worsening outbreaks of the deadly, mosquito-borne virus. 

More than 3,000 cases have been reported in Angola, the epicenter of the outbreaks, the WHO said. "The total number of reported deaths [there] is 345," the organization added in an update.  

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Source: NBC News

LG Electronics Sells Mosquito-Repelling TV in India

The Indian arm of South Korea's LG Electronics Inc has begun selling a TV with a feature that it says repels mosquitoes, which can spread diseases such as malaria, Zika and dengue.

The TV's "Mosquito Away Technology" uses ultrasonic waves that are inaudible to humans but cause mosquitoes to fly away, according to the company. It was released in the country on Thursday, LG said. 

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Source: NBC News

234 Pregnant Woman in US Diagnosed with Zika Virus, CDC Says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 234 pregnant woman in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the Zika virus, and that three babies have been born in the U.S. with birth defects linked to the virus. NBC’s Tom Costello reports for TODAY.

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Source: NBC News

Study: Transgender People Face Health Challenges Worldwide

JAKARTA — Millions of transgender people around the world face major challenges in getting adequate medical care despite multiple health issues, from depression to high rates of HIV, researchers say.

The community remains marginalized, and laws and policies denying them gender recognition make access to healthcare even more challenging, said the first of a series of papers on transgender health published in The Lancet medical journal on Friday.

Studies cited in the papers showed there are an estimated 25 million transgender people globally. 

Transgender people suffer high rates of depression - up to 60 percent - due to stigma, discrimination and abuse, jeopardizing their physical and mental health. 

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Source: NBC News

Senate to Vote Monday on Four Gun Control Measures

The Senate will vote on four gun control measures Monday after being prodded by a 15-hour filibuster in the wake of the shooting massacre at a Florida nightclub.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, filed cloture motions Thursday on four gun-related amendments to a spending bill, a day after Democrats ended their filibuster to force some sort of action on gun restrictions.

"Cloture" is a parliamentary procedure that starts the clock on 30 hours of debate before a vote.

The amendments — two filed by Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut ,and two other, less restrictive measures filed by Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and John Cornyn, R-Texas — would address background checks of prospective gun buyers and the sale of guns and explosives to people on terrorist watch lists. 

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Former Auschwitz Guard Reinhold Hanning Convicted on 170,000 Counts of Accessory to Murder

DETMOLD, Germany — A German judge on Friday convicted a 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard of being an accessory to 170,000 counts of murder.

Reinhold Hanning was sentenced to five years in prison by the district court of Detmold.

Presiding judge Anke Grudda said the sentence was "the least that a society can do" even though it came "very late." 

Holocaust survivors and Jewish organizations quickly hailed the verdict, with World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder saying Hanning "got the sentence he deserved."  

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South African ‘Virgin Bursaries’ Scheme Ruled Unconstitutional

Reuters, 17/06 16:31 CET
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A controversial scheme offering university scholarships to young South African women who remain virgins is unconstitutional, the Commission for Gender Equality ruled on Friday.

The “maiden’s bursaries” offered by a local mayor sparked a nationwide debate in January, with critics slamming the scheme’s emphasis on virginity as outdated while traditionalists said it would help preserve African culture.

On Friday, the gender commission said the programme discriminated against women because male students were not subjected to the same tests.

“Any funding by an organ of state based on a woman’s sexuality perpetuates patriarchy and inequality in South Africa,” it said in a statement.

Rights groups applauded the ruling. 

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Source: euronews.

Syria: US Diplomats Urge Anti-Assad Military Strikes

Source: euronews.

Nuit Debout: Power to the People of France (A Special Report)

By Valerie Zabriskie

Source: euronews.

UK: Tributes Paid to Murdered Labor Politician

Source: euronews.

What Do Europeans Think of the UK’s ‘Brexit’ Referendum?

By Alasdair Sandford | With AP, PEW RESEARCH CENTER, TNS

Source: euronews.

Medecins Sans Frontieres Rejects EU Funds Over ‘Europe’s Refugee Shame’

In protest at the European Union’s deal with Turkey aimed at stemming the flow of migrants and refugees, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says it will reject all funding from the EU and its member states.

Under the agreement Turkey pledged to halt illegal migration through its territory in return for financial and political rewards.

The medical aid charity, otherwise known as Doctors Without Borders, says the action will cost it 56 million euros in funding.

“Today MSF denounces Europe’s damaging deterrence policies and the intensifying attempt to push people and their suffering back to other countries. The EU deal (with Turkey) is the latest in a long line of policies that go against the values and the principles that enable assistance to be provided,” MSF’s Secretary General Jerome Oberreit told a news conference in Geneva. 

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Source: euronews.

Hong Kong Protests Over Booksellers’ Detentions After Lam Wing-kee Accuses China

Source: euronews.

EU Sanctions Against Russia Likely to Be Renewed

EU sanctions against Russia, which were due to expire in a few weeks, now look set to continue.

According to diplomatic sources who spoke to AFP, the European Union could renew sanctions for another six months as early as next week.

EU Commission head, Jean-Claude Juncker, in St Petersburg for the Economic Forum, said:

“Let me be clear. On Minsk, the European Union is united. And so is the G7. Russia is party to the Minsk agreements. Therefore, the next step is clear: full implementation of the agreements. No more, no less. This is the only way to begin our conversation, and the only way to lift the economic sanctions that have been imposed.” 

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Source: euronews.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz: 'We Condemn California Pastor’s Message That Rejoices In Orlando Massacre'

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York 

You should know that Sacramento California Pastor Roger Jimenez of the Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, California, has been reported in the media as rejoicing in the massacre that took place this weekend at the Orlando gay nightclub.

It is very important for you to know that as the President of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, my fellow ministers and I condemn his rejoicing in those killings.  We condemn Pastor Jimenez’s statements:
“The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die,” and “I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job because these people are predators.”

Pastor Jimenez’s message is deplorable, and any preacher who shares that mindset does not understand the Bible.  Pastor Jimenez should realize that all of the victims of the Orlando shooting are human beings, and any preaching to harm their lives is un-Christianly.

As Christians, the Members of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization know that all human life, at all of its stages of development, is sacred. This is why we are pro-life, and work to protect the lives of the unborn. This is why we are against the death penalty. Only God, the Creator of all life, can decide when a life can be taken.

You should already know that my ministers and I have joined the Bangladesh community in solidarity in my district when they have been targeted and assaulted, and we have joined with churches, mosques and synagogues when members of their communities have been singled out for attack. We have condemned all acts of violence.

My fellow ministers and I will continue to keep the victims and the families of this awful massacre, as all of the Orlando community who grieve and fear, in our thoughts and prayers. 

I am Senator Reverend Rubén Diaz, and this is what you should know. 

CIA Director Warns Lawmakers of Growing ISIS Threat

CIA Director John Brennan testified at a hearing on his agency’s operations and resources. He called ISIS in Libya the most dangerous branch of the terror organization. He also outlined some key threats the next president will need to address, including cybersecurity, ISIS, and nuclear proliferation. 

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Source: C-SPAN

Gun Violence Victims' Relatives Join Senate Democrats to Push for Reforms

Senators Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and two people who have lost family members in mass shootings in Charleston and San Bernardino, hold a news conference at the U.S. Capitol. 

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Source: C-SPAN

Senate Leaders Speak About Gun Control Amendments

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speak on the Senate floor about Tuesday's marathon debate on gun violence and the effort to force votes on background checks and changes to the terrorism watch list. Senator McConnell says votes on amendments will take place next Tuesday. 

User-Created Clip
by etouhey
June 16, 2016 

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Source: C-SPAN

House Republican Policy Agenda

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and other House Republicans spoke to reporters about their policy agenda if Republicans win the White House in November. 

This was the fourth component of the party’s “A Better Way” plan unveiled in January 2016. 

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Source: C-SPAN

House Debates Counterterrorism Bill

In response to the recent mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, the House debates a counterterrorism bill under suspension of the rules. The measure combines three previously-passed bills into one for consideration in the Senate and seeks to strengthen cooperation between the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement.

User-Created Clip
by Caitlin Hillyard
June 16, 2016 

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Source: C-SPAN

Saving Our Youth: Anti-Gang PSA

Trailblazers in Black History: Edmonia Lewis, Sculptor

Mary Edmonia Lewis was an American sculptor who worked for most of her career in Rome, Italy. She is the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to achieve international fame and recognition as a sculptor in the fine arts world. Her work is known for incorporating themes relating to black and American Indian people into Neoclassical style sculpture. By the end of the 19th century, she was the only black woman who had participated in and been recognized to any degree by the American artistic mainstream. She emerged during the crisis-filled days of the Civil War. In 2002, the scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Edmonia Lewis on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans

Additional information and samples of her work are available here.

Source: Wikipedia

President Obama Traveling to Orlando to 'Stand in Solidarity' After Shooting

President Barack Obama will head to Orlando, Florida, on Thursday to meet with victims' families and first responders in the deadly nightclub shooting the president has decried as "an act of terror and an act of hate."

Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden, will "stand in solidarity with the Orlando community," the White House said of the afternoon visit, which is expected to private.

The attack on the gay nightclub Pulse early Sunday — the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history — left 49 dead and 53 injured. The gunman, Omar Mateen, was killed by police amid a three-hour siege. 

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First Read's Morning Clips: The Gun Fight

OFF TO THE RACES: Trump vs. the RNC?
CLINTON: Clinton releases two new positive ads in battleground states of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada that highlight her work with children. One of us confirms that the ad buy totals $7.3 million.
SANDERS: The Wall Street Journal reports that Clinton is not considering Sanders as a running mate.
TRUMP: The one-year anniversary of Trump's presidential candidacy.
The NY Times on the debate over gun control: "Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that people on the terror watch list should be barred from buying firearms, putting himself in the center of a gun-control debate in Congress revived by the worst mass shooting in United States history. Mr. Trump's stance, expressed in a Twitter post, does not necessarily jibe with the positions of the Republican Party and the National Rifle Association…" 

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Source: NBC News

Major Labor Group to Endorse Clinton as Sanders Holdouts Dwindle

The AFL-CIO is set to endorse Hillary Clinton Thursday, but a handful of unions within the massive labor federation are holding out support for the presumptive Democratic nominee and instead backing Bernie Sanders - with some even vowing to stick with her challenger until the bitter end.

The executive committee of the AFL-CIO, which represents more than 12 million active and retired workers, will vote on a presidential announcement during a meeting at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Sanders has refuses to concede the race, but Clinton is expected to easily secure the necessary support from the federation's 56 affiliate unions to win the endorsement -- including from several that had previously backed Sanders. 

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Source: NBC News

John Kasich to Joe Scarborough: I'm Not Interested in Being a 'Spoiler' at RNC

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ohio Governor John Kasich insists he is not interested in being Donald Trump's running mate, or in launching a potential third-party bid for the White House — but that doesn't mean that he hasn't been strongly urged to consider it. 

"Look, if you saw the people that have contacted me, and want me to run as a third-party candidate, or the number of people that have come to me and say they want, you know — 'Would you run with Donald Trump?' — I mean, you would be shocked," Kasich told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough in an exclusive interview. "And, the answer to that is no. I've given it my best."  

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Source: NBC News