• Breaking: Attorney-General fired for insubordination!

    31/Jan/2017 // 1685 Viewers

     

    PARIS, JANUARY 31, 2017: (DGW) In what could be described as gross insubordination the Attorney-Generally has been fired and the sudden dismissal took place on Monday night as  Sally Yates reportedly ordered Justice Department lawyers Monday not to defend his immigration order of President Trump temporarily banning entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world, The Washington Post reports.

    In a press release, the White House said Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”

    The White House has named Dana Boente, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, as acting attorney general. Boente told The Washington Post that he will agree to enforce the immigration order.


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  • Obama gives second chance to 61 convicted drug offenders

    31/Mar/2016 // 385 Viewers

     

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama commuted prison sentences for 61 non-violent drug offenders on Wednesday and the White House said he hopes to issue more pardons and commutations during his remaining months in office.

    Obama has pushed to reform the U.S. criminal justice system to reduce the number of people serving long sentences for non-violent drug crimes, a rare area where the Democratic president has garnered support from Republican lawmakers.

    "It does not make sense for a non-violent drug offender to be getting 20 years, 30 years, in some cases life in prison. That’s not serving anybody," Obama said after lunch with several people whose sentences had been commuted.

    Obama has now commuted 248 sentences, which the White House said was more than the previous six presidents combined. More than a third of those commuted on Wednesday were life sentences.

    "Throughout the remainder of his time in office, the President is committed to continuing to issue more grants of clemency as well as to strengthening rehabilitation programs," White House counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement.

    Over a burger, Obama talked with four women and three men whose sentences were commuted about what it was like to get a second chance.

    He highlighted the story of Phillip Emmert, convicted in 1992 on a charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

    Emmert, who wiped back tears as Obama told his story, served 14 years before then-President George W. Bush commuted his sentence in 2006. Emmert got clean from drugs, took job training in prison and now maintains air-handling systems at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City, Iowa.

    "It is my strong belief that by exercising these presidential powers, I have the chance to show people what a second chance can look like," Obama told reporters.

    The Justice Department launched a program in April 2014 to identify prisoners serving time for crimes they were sentenced for under laws that have since been changed to carry less severe punishments.

    Applicants qualify if they have no record of violence, no significant ties to a gang or drug cartel, have been in prison at least 10 years and have demonstrated good behavior.

    Efforts on Capitol Hill to change laws to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders have stalled amid the race for the Nov. 8 presidential election.

    Obama said he was still hopeful Congress would act before he leaves the White House in January, praising the efforts of Republican Speaker Paul Ryan in the House of Representatives.


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  • RACISM? : Police will not be charged in Minneapolis death of black man

    31/Mar/2016 // 384 Viewers

     

    MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Two Minneapolis police officers involved in the shooting death of a 24-year-old black man will not be charged, prosecutors said on Wednesday, because evidence showed Jamar Clark was not handcuffed and that he reached for an officer's gun.

    Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told a news conference that Clark struggled with Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, who are white, and that he was not handcuffed and at one point had his hand on a gun.

    Freeman told reporters that the officers said without the use of deadly force Clark would have taken possession of the gun. "Each stated their independent fear of being shot," he said. "Accordingly, the head of the county attorney's office has concluded criminal charges are not warranted."

    Freeman made the decision not to charge the officers, bypassing use of a grand jury.

    Clark's shooting came at a time of fierce national debate over the use of excessive force by police, especially against black men. Minneapolis is one of a number of U.S. cities that has seen protests over killings by police.

    Activists criticized the decision not to charge the officers and said questions remained unanswered, such as why Clark was shot 61 seconds after police arrived at the scene.

    The decision "sends a clear message that the Minneapolis police may act as judge, jury and executioner in interactions with unarmed black men," said Becky Dernbach, a spokeswoman for the local group Neighborhoods Organizing for Change.

    On Wednesday evening, hundreds of peaceful protesters led by activists from Black Lives Matter Minneapolis converged on a central government plaza, chanting "No justice, no peace, prosecute the police," and waving signs as they marched.

    The demonstrators, who filled the plaza, listened to speeches and sang songs. At one point, an organizer recalled a similar rally held in the city four years ago in memory of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black Florida teenager who was shot dead by a volunteer watchman. Later, the crowd repeatedly shouted in unison, "I am a revolutionary!"

    Freeman's remarks, interviews that had been conducted, police and autopsy reports and video related to the case were posted on his office's website on Wednesday. (http://www.hennepinattorney.org)

    Fred Bruno, the attorney for Schwarze, who shot Clark, lauded the decision not to charge his client.

    "The scientific evidence and objective witness statements now conclusively show that Mr. Clark was neither unarmed nor handcuffed. He had control of an officer’s gun. Officer Schwarze responded in accordance with his training, and as the law required him to act," Bruno said in a statement.

    Bob Sicoli, Ringgenberg's attorney, said Freeman's decision was supported by evidence.

    "What is a police officer supposed to do?" he said in a telephone interview. "Just imagine you're on the ground, you can't get up, somebody has your gun belt and has their hand around your gun and says something to the effect of 'I'm ready to die.' That's every police officer's worst nightmare. They had to do what they did."

    Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she understood the anger of many residents and noted that the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office are investigating the shooting. There will then be an internal police investigation to decide if the officers should be disciplined.

    "Today is a hard day for everyone in the city of Minneapolis," she told reporters.

    On Nov. 15, 2015, police said they responded to a request to assist an ambulance that had been sent to north Minneapolis to treat Clark's girlfriend. Freeman said she had been assaulted by Clark.

    Police said Clark was shot during a struggle after he confronted paramedics and impeded their ability help his girlfriend. Clark died the next day.

    Freeman said one of the officers tried to handcuff Clark, and DNA evidence showed that in the ensuing struggle Clark got his hand on Ringgenberg's gun as they both lay on the ground.

    "Nothing scares a cop more than somebody trying to take their gun," Freeman told reporters on a conference call later on Wednesday.

    Some witnesses had said Clark was handcuffed or restrained on the ground when he was shot.

    Freeman said Schwarze took out his gun, put it to the edge of Clark's mouth and told him to let go or he would be shot. Freeman said Clark told Schwarze, "I'm ready to die," but only the police heard the comment.

    At that point, Schwarze pulled the trigger but the gun failed to fire because the slide was only partially pulled back, Freeman said. Schwarze fired again after he heard a panicked Ringgenberg urge him to shoot Clark, Freeman said.

    Clark's comments were not recorded. The dash-board video camera on the patrol car did not automatically start because the lights and siren, which trigger it, had not been used due to the nature of the call, Freeman said.

    Freeman said Clark's toxicology report showed a blood alcohol level of .09 and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component in marijuana. In Minnesota, a blood alcohol level of .08 is considered driving drunk.

    Black Lives Matter activist Johnetta Elzie questioned the pertinence of that information. "This has what to do with the police killing him?! Same script, different dead black body," she wrote on Twitter.


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  • Arrant Nonsense! Killing of gorilla to save boy at Ohio zoo sparks outrage

    31/May/2016 // 2081 Viewers

     

    (Reuters) - The killing of a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 4-year-old boy tumbled into the ape’s enclosure triggered outrage and questions about safety, but zoo officials called the decision to use lethal force a tough but necessary choice.

    More than 2,000 people signed a petition on Change.org that sharply criticized the Cincinnati Police Department and the zoo for putting down the animal and called for the child’s parents to be “held accountable for their actions of not supervising their child.”

    Cincinnati police on Sunday said the parents had not been charged, but that charges could eventually be sought by the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Authorities did not identify the child or his parents. The family could not be reached on Sunday.

    A Facebook page titled “Justice for Harambe” had more than 3,000 likes by Sunday afternoon, a day after the 400-pound (181-kg) gorilla was shot dead about 10 minutes after encountering and dragging the child. The animal, named Harambe, was a Western lowland gorilla, an endangered species, and the zoo said it had intended to use him for breeding.

    “If we think it’s acceptable to kill a gorilla who has done nothing wrong, I don’t think our city should have gorillas,” Manvinder Singh posted on the Facebook page.

    A blog post on the website for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals questioned why it was necessary to kill the gorilla and whether zoos could meet the needs of such animals.

    “A 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe is dead, and a child is in the hospital. Why?” blogger Jennifer O'Connor wrote. “Western lowland gorillas are gentle animals. They don’t attack unless they’re provoked.”

    Witnesses told local television that the boy repeatedly expressed a desire to join the gorilla in the zoo habitat. Moments later, the boy crawled through a barrier and fell about 12 feet (3.7-meters) into a moat surrounding the habitat, where Harambe grabbed him, zoo officials said.

    It was the first time in the 38-year history of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s gorilla exhibit that an unauthorized person was able to get into the enclosure, zoo president Thane Maynard said on Saturday.

    “They made a tough choice and they made the right choice because they saved that little boy’s life,” he said, adding that a member of the zoo’s Dangerous Animal Response Team fired the shot that killed the ape.

    Maynard said the team decided to use deadly force instead of tranquilizers to subdue the gorilla because it could have taken some time for the drug to take effect when an animal was in agitated state.

    The child was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Hospital officials, citing privacy laws, declined to say on Sunday whether the child had been released or to disclose any details about his injuries.

    Western lowland gorilla numbers in the dense rain forests of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea have declined by more than 60 percent over the last 20 to 25 years, according to the World Wildlife Federation.

    The Cincinnati zoo was open on Sunday, although Gorilla World was expected to be closed indefinitely. Neither the zoo nor the fire department responded to a request for comment.

    At other U.S. zoos, similar encounters have ended in tragedy, including the 2013 fatal mauling of a 2-year-old boy by a pack of wild African dogs after he fell into an exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.

    A man who in 2012 jumped into an enclosure at New York’s Bronx Zoo to be “one with the tiger” suffered bite wounds and other injuries but survived.

    But there was a happy ending when a 3-year-old boy fell into the gorilla den at Brookfield Zoo near Chicago in 1996, and an 8-year-old female gorilla named Binti Jua picked up the unconscious boy and protected him from the other primates. The act of kindness won Binti Jua national attention as Newsweek’s Hero of the Year and one of People’s most intriguing people.


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  • US election 2016: Trump hopes Clinton email 'motherlode' found

    31/Oct/2016 // 436 Viewers

     

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said he believes the FBI may have found the "motherlode" of Hillary Clinton's emails.

    At a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he said he hoped the Democratic candidate's 33,000 deleted messages could now be recovered.

    The FBI is investigating new emails that may be linked to its probe into Mrs Clinton's private email server.

    Mrs Clinton later told a rally she had nothing to hide.
    It emerged in March 2015 that Mrs Clinton had been breaking federal rules by operating a private email server while she was secretary of state from 2009-13.

    Her lawyers combed through the server and provided the State Department with 30,000 work-related emails.

    But her campaign deleted another 33,000 messages, saying they were personal in nature.

    Mr Comey concluded in July that Mrs Clinton had been "extremely careless" in handling classified information, but there were no grounds for any charges

    The latest emails were found in a separate investigation into allegations that former congressman Anthony Weiner sent illicit text messages to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. Mr Weiner is married to top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin.

    The FBI has reportedly obtained a warrant to search the cache of emails belonging to Ms Abedin, which are believed to have been found on her estranged husband's laptop.

    There are reportedly 650,000 emails to search through on the laptop, but it is unclear who sent or received the emails or what they were about.
    "That's the motherlode," said Mr Trump. "I think you're going to find the 33,000 (emails) that are missing."

    "I think we hit the motherlode, as they say in the good old mining industry."

    He added: "Thank you, Huma. Thank you, Huma. Good job, Huma. Thank you, Anthony Weiner."

    But Mrs Clinton told a rally in Kent, Ohio, that the FBI was welcome to check her aide's emails.

    "They should look at them and I'm sure they'll reach the same conclusion they did when they looked at my emails for the past year: there is no case here."

    Democrats have angrily demanded that the FBI's embattled director, James Comey, rapidly make public what they know about the new email trove.
    The White House said on Monday it would neither defend nor criticise the FBI decision.

    Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said the president did not suspect Mr Comey of trying to secretly influence the election through his announcement on Friday of the inquiry.

    Mr Earnest said Mr Comey is "a man of integrity, a man of character, a man of principle and he has a very difficult job".

    Credit: BBC


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