October 04, 2017
The Most Valuable
Information Free To All

Headlines: June 19, 2017

Courtesy of Democracy Now

1 Dead, 8 Injured as Driver Targets Muslims in London Terror Attack

In Britain, a driver plowed into a crowd of Muslims near a North London mosque today, killing one person and injuring eight others in what British officials are calling a terrorist attack. Witnesses described a large white man driving a van who accelerated and swerved into a crowd of worshipers who had left night-time prayers marking the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Mohamed Mohdin: "Basically he drove on the pavement, coming straight towards all the Muslims. And as he’s coming to them, he hit all of them. And I think one of them died."

Unidentified: "One of them died straightaway."

Mohamed Mohdin: "Straightaway, one of them died. And then the rest are in a bad condition."

Reporter: "Sir, can you give me—how many people did you see lying injured on the floor? Try and remember."

Mohamed Mohdin: "About seven, eight."

Reporter: "And they were seriously injured?"

Mohamed Mohdin: "Seriously injured. And then, as the police come, they moved all of us quick."

One witness said the driver shouted, "I want to kill Muslims!" Survivors of the attack pinned the man to the ground until police arrived on the scene and arrested him. British Prime Minister Theresa May said police were treating the incident as a terrorist attack. It was the third time in recent weeks in Britain that an attacker used a vehicle as a weapon aimed at pedestrians.

Virginia: Muslim Teenager Kidnapped, Murdered After Ramadan Prayers

In Virginia, police arrested 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres Sunday for allegedly murdering a 17-year-old Muslim girl after she left a restaurant following nighttime prayers in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Sterling. Nabra Hassanen disappeared early Sunday after she and a group of friends were confronted by a motorist outside a 24-hour IHOP near her mosque, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society. Police found Hassanen’s remains Sunday afternoon in a nearby pond. She was reportedly killed by blows from a metal bat. A recent study by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found anti-Muslim hate crimes surged in 2016 over the previous year, rising by 44 percent.

Minnesota: Officer Acquitted in Killing of Philando Castile

In Minnesota, protesters took to the streets Sunday for a third straight day after a St. Anthony police officer was acquitted Friday in the killing of a black motorist he shot five times during a traffic stop last year. Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted on charges of manslaughter for killing African American Philando Castile. The jury of seven men and five women, 10 of whom were white and two who were African-American, deliberated for more than 25 hours over five days before acquitting Yanez on all charges. This is Philando Castile’s sister Allysza, speaking just after Friday’s verdict.

Allysza Castile: "And I’m really just so hurt, because y’all took away—he took away something so precious from me. That was my brother, that was my mentor, that was my father figure, that was everything. That man worked hard every single day, every birthday, every Christmas. He was the one that made sure I had gifts. He didn’t deserve to die the way he did. And I will never have faith in this system. I will never have faith in this system."

Philando Castile’s death was live-streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, in an extraordinary video in which she narrated the aftermath of the shooting while she was still in the car, with Officer Yanez pointing a gun at her and her 4-year-old daughter. On Friday evening, about 2,000 demonstrators gathered outside Minnesota’s state Capitol in St. Paul to demand police accountability. Several protesters blocked a main interstate between St. Paul and Minneapolis, resulting in 18 arrests. Peaceful demonstrations continued throughout the weekend. For more on the killing, we’ll go to the Twin Cities after headlines.

Bodies of 7 Sailors Recovered from Wrecked U.S. Naval Destroyer

 In the Western Pacific, the U.S. Navy says it has recovered the bodies of seven missing sailors who died after their warship collided with a cargo ship off the coast of Japan. Saturday’s collision nearly sank the USS Fitzgerald, a naval destroyer, and came despite clear weather conditions.

In Iraq, a U.S.-led military coalition has begun its assault on Mosul’s Old City, a densely populated urban area and the last stronghold of ISIS in the northern Iraqi city. The U.N. said Friday as many as 150,000 people remain trapped in the district, describing their situation as "desperate." Residents of western Mosul who were able to escape described scenes of starvation.

Hussein: "We have nothing to eat—no flour, no rice, just nothing at all. We had to eat grass and made grass soup to feed our children. The leaves even cost 7,000 dinars per kilogram."

There were reports of heavy fighting and close-quarters battles in Mosul’s Old City, with unconfirmed reports that more than a dozen civilians were killed in U.S.-led airstrikes over the weekend.

Syria: 200,000 Civilians Trapped as Raqqa Assault Intensifies

In Syria, a U.S. fighter shot down a Syrian warplane Sunday in the latest direct attack on a Syrian government target. The Pentagon said it downed the plane after it bombed U.S.-backed, anti-government rebels. Meanwhile, the United Nations said an estimated 200,000 civilians remained trapped in the city of Raqqa, as a U.S.-led coalition pounds the city in a campaign against ISIS. The U.N. says the airstrikes have killed at least 300 civilians in Raqqa since March.

Trump Attorney Denies Trump Under Investigation, Then Contradicts Himself

In the United States, one of Donald Trump’s personal attorneys insisted Sunday that the president is not under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in November’s election. The comments by the lawyer, Jay Sekulow, directly contradict President Trump’s tweet Friday, which read, "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt." Sekulow made the rounds on Sunday morning’s talk shows to deny that Trump is under investigation, but during a heated exchange with Fox News host Chris Wallace, Sekulow contradicted his own denials.

Jay Sekulow: "So he’s being investigated for taking the action that the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended him to take by the agency who recommended the termination. So that’s the constitutional threshold question here. That’s why, as I said, no investigation"—

Chris Wallace: "Well, I—what—what—what’s the question? I mean, you stated—you stated some facts. First of all, you have now said that he is being investigated, after saying that you didn’t."

Jay Sekulow: "No."

Chris Wallace: "You—you just said, sir, that he’s being"—

Jay Sekulow: "No, he’s not being investigated!"

Chris Wallace: "You just said that he’s being investigated."

Presidential HIV Advisers Resign, Saying Trump Doesn't Care About HIV

President Trump said Friday he would reverse the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, reimposing travel and trade restrictions less than a year after President Obama relaxed the decades-old U.S. embargo on the Island. The move drew outrage across Cuba. This is Havana resident Pedro Díaz.

Pedro Díaz: "Cuba is not scared. We Cubans are not going to be scared. We have gone through much more. We got through the October Cuban Missile Crisis, and we are willing to go through many crises, not just October, but December, September and the coming months. We are ready, Mr. President Trump, for all your antics. There you are. If you are going to pay the Miami mafia, at some point you will pay."

President Trump’s order will prohibit all business with companies that are linked to the Cuban military, which is involved in much of the hotel and tourism industries. Last year, Newsweek reported that Donald Trump’s businesses violated the U.S. embargo during the late 1990s, secretly doing business in Cuba and then trying to cover it up.

U.S. Civil Rights Commission to Investigate Trump Administration

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has launched an investigation into whether the Trump administration is failing to protect civil rights, amid steep cuts to budgets and staffing levels across the federal government. In a statement, commissioners said, "These proposed cuts would result in a dangerous reduction of civil rights enforcement across the country, leaving communities of color, LGBT people, older people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups exposed to greater risk of discrimination." The probe came as the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said it has ended an investigation into the case of a transgender Ohio student who says she was harassed at school and barred from using from the girls’ bathroom. Meanwhile, BuzzFeed is reporting the Commerce Department has removed any mention of gender identity and sexual orientation from its equal opportunity employment statement on the department’s website.

Protesters Storm London Town Hall Demanding Justice over Fire Deaths

Back in the United Kingdom, hundreds of protesters stormed a town hall in London Friday, demanding justice for those killed when the 24-story Grenfell Tower apartment building went up in flames last week. Police scuffled with scores of angry residents shouting "We want justice!" and "They let our children burn!"

Protester 1: "Some people only come in here to look at the building. And what we actually need to do is come here and have justice for the people that are suffering, families and people that were in the fire, the victims. And I feel like this is not fair."

Protester 2: "It’s a lot of injustice. It’s a lot of injustice and negligence from the government and the council. The deaths shouldn’t have happened. So many kids died. So many families were lost."

Police said today the death toll from the blaze had risen to at least 79, with dozens more injured. London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the fire a "preventable accident" that followed years of neglect by successive governments.

Mayor Sadiq Khan: "People who live in tower blocks across London, but around the country, being sick to death whether their tower block is safe. We need to know as soon as possible whether those tower blocks are safe, and there needs to be the best transparency as possible."

The company that recently renovated Grenfell Tower admitted over the weekend it used highly flammable—yet less expensive—cladding during construction. The cladding is banned from use in the U.S. and European Union, but allowed in Britain.

Prosecutors Will Retry Bill Cosby for Sexual Assault After Mistrial

The original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License