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Friday, December 2, 2016

Trump speaks with Taiwan's president, risking China tensions

Trump speaks with Taiwan's president, risking China tensions
  

NEW YORK (AP) -- President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with the president of Taiwan, a move that will be sure to anger China.

It is highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.

Washington has pursued a so-called "one China" policy since 1979, when it shifted diplomatic recognition of China from the government in Taiwan to the communist government on the mainland. Under that policy, the U.S. recognizes Beijing as representing China but retains unofficial ties with Taiwan.

A statement from Trump's transition team said he spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who offered her congratulations. It was not clear who initiated the call.

"During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties ... between Taiwan and the United States. President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year," the statement said.

A Taiwanese source with direct knowledge of the call confirmed it had taken place. The source requested anonymity to speak about it before an official statement was issued on it from Taipei.

The White House learned of the conversation after it had taken place, said a senior Obama administration official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive diplomatic relations involved.

China's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Friday's call is the most stark example yet of how Trump has flouted diplomatic conventions since he won the Nov. 8 election. He has apparently undertaken calls with foreign leaders without guidance customarily lent by the State Department, which oversees U.S. diplomacy.

Over the decades, the status of Taiwan has been one of the most sensitive issues in U.S.-China relations. 

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory to be retaken by force, if necessary, if it seeks independence. It would regard any recognition of a Taiwanese leader as a head of state as unacceptable.

Taiwan split from the Chinese mainland amid civil war in 1949. The U.S. policy acknowledges the Chinese view over sovereignty, but considers Taiwan's status as unsettled.

Although the U.S. does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it has close unofficial ties. Taiwan's government has a representative office in Washington and other U.S. cities. The U.S. also has legal commitments to help Taiwan maintain the ability to defend itself.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said Trump's conversation does not signal any change to long-standing U.S. policy on "cross-strait" issues.

"We remain firmly committed to our 'one China' policy," Price said. "Our fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable cross-strait relations."

Tsai was democratically elected in January and took office in May. The traditional independence-leaning policies of her party have strained relations with Beijing.

Diplomatic protocol dictates that Taiwanese presidents can transit through the U.S. but not visit Washington.

Douglas Paal, who served as head of the American Institute in Taiwan during the George W. Bush administration, said that to his knowledge the call was unprecedented. He said he expected Beijing to issue a verbal warning that there's no space to change the rules over Taiwan relations.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Massive rally begins honoring Fidel Castro

Massive rally begins honoring Fidel Castro
 

AP Photo
Military cadets hold pictures of Fidel Castro during a rally at the Revolution Plaza in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Regional leaders and tens of thousands of Cubans filled Havana's Plaza of the Revolution Tuesday night for a service honoring Fidel Castro on the wide plaza where the Cuban leader delivered fiery speeches to mammoth crowds in the years after he seized power. Fidel Castro passed away Friday Nov. 25. He was 90.
  
HAVANA (AP) -- Regional leaders and tens of thousands of Cubans filled Havana's Plaza of the Revolution Tuesday night for a service honoring Fidel Castro on the wide plaza where the Cuban leader delivered fiery speeches to mammoth crowds in the years after he seized power.
The presidents of Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Panama, South Africa and Zimbabwe, along with leaders of a host of smaller Caribbean nations, flew in to Havana to pay tribute to Castro, who died Friday night at 90.

South African President Jacob Zuma praised Cuba under Castro for its record on education and health care and its support for African independence struggles.

Castro will be remembered as "a great fighter for the idea that the poor have a right to live with dignity," Zuma told the crowd.

The rally began with black-and-white revolution-era footage of Castro and other guerrillas on a big screen and the playing of the Cuban national anthem. Castro's younger brother and successor, President Raul Castro, saluted.

Cuban state media reported that an urn containing Fidel Castro's ashes was being kept in a room at the Defense Ministry where Raul and top Communist Party officials paid tribute the previous evening.

During the day, lines stretched for hours outside the Plaza of the Revolution, the heart of government power. In Havana and across the island, people signed condolence books and an oath of loyalty to Castro's sweeping May 2000 proclamation of the Cuban revolution as an unending battle for socialism, nationalism and an outsize role for the island on the world stage.

"I feel a deep sadness, but immense pride in having had him near," said Ana Beatriz Perez, a 50-year-old medical researcher who was advancing in the slow-moving line with the help of crutches. "His physical departure gives us strength to continue advancing in his ideology. This isn't going away, because we are millions."

"His death is another revolution," said her husband, Fidel Diaz, who predicted that it will prompt many to "rediscover the ideas of the commander for the new generations."

Tribute sites were set up in hundreds of places across the island as the government urged Cubans to reaffirm their belief in a socialist, single-party system that in recent years has struggled to maintain the fervor that was widespread at the triumph of the 1959 revolution.

Many mourners came on their own accord, but thousands were sent in groups by the communist government, which still employs about 80 percent of the working people in Cuba despite the growth of the private sector under Raul.

Inside the memorial, thousands walked through three rooms with near-identical displays featuring the 1962 Alberto Korda photograph of the young Castro in the Sierra Maestra mountains, bouquets of white flowers and an array of Castro's medals against a black backdrop, framed by honor guards of soldiers and children in school uniforms. The ashes of the 90-year-old former president did not appear to be on display.

Signs read: "The Cuban Communist Party is the only legitimate heir of the legacy and authority of the commander in chief of the Cuban Revolution, comrade Fidel Castro."

"Goodbye commander. Your ideas remain here with us," 64-year-old retiree Etelbina Perez said between sobs, dabbing at her eyes with a brown handkerchief. "I feel great pain over his death. I owe my entire life to him. He brought me out of the mountains. I was able to study thanks to him."

The scene was played out on a smaller scale at countless places across the country.

After 10 years of leadership by Raul Castro, a relatively camera-shy and low-key successor, Cuba has found itself riveted once again by the words and images of the man who dominated the lives of generations. 

Since his death on Friday night, state-run newspapers, television and radio have run wall-to-wall tributes to Fidel Castro, broadcasting non-stop footage of his speeches, interviews and foreign trips, interspersed with adulatory remembrances by prominent Cubans.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

White Nationalist Alt-Righter Claims 'Hail Trump' Comments Were 'Ironic' "Will Trump Make A Televised Press Statement About Hail?"

White Nationalist Alt-Righter Claims 'Hail Trump' Comments Were 'Ironic' "Will Trump Make A Televised Press Statement About Hail?"

 Donald Trump was 'Hailed' as the 2016 revised "Hitler" Chancellor for being selfish and being American....

Hitler was Germany Chancellor when great athletes, both German Olympic Athletes and American Olympic Athletes (Jessie Owens) despised Hitler for being selfish and being German...

Citizens of the State of California, admitted as the 31st U.S. state on September 9, 1850, admitted to the United States undivided as a free state, denying the expansion of slavery to the Pacific Coast, denying any attacks against immigrants, denying any civilian to claim superior race, deny any member of the military, or of a police or firefighting force to support racism, denying any person voted to an elected office to promote open racism or hidden racism... -citizens are considering leaving the United States in 2017- California no longer being the 31st U.S. state.   

U.S. registered voters, U.S. non registered voters, and U.S. immigrants and more are waiting to see if President-elect Trump will make a televised press statement to make things final once and for all what his view is about racism in America.

Many Trump voters claim that they are not racist... many Clinton voters make the same claim that they are not racist also.

Neither voter, Trump or Clinton, feels comfortable about Hail Trump... not unless they actually agree that Trump should behave just like Hitler now that Trump will be in the U.S. White House in 2017.

There is plenty of time for White Americans to end hating White Americans, plenty of time for White Americans to end hating Black Americans, plenty of time for Black Americans to end hating Black Americans...

Hate is so deep...both Trump and Clinton voters feel very comfortable hating one another- their personal public joy of hate...

And protesters against the president-elect Trump victory seem to be the only people having great common sense to consider the warning about a real possible Hail Trump in America.

Richard Spencer is in town for the largest white nationalist and Alt Right conference of the year in Washington, DC on November 18, 2016.

The white nationalist who said "Hail Trump" and "hail our people" during a conference in Washington D.C. on Saturday — and who received straight-armed Nazi-like salutes in response — told NBC News Monday that his comments were meant to be "cheeky," "exuberant" and "ironic."

The remarks from Richard Spencer, whose National Policy Institute was described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the most influential purveyors of academic racism in the country, were published in a video by the Atlantic on Monday.

Spencer, 38, told NBC News that the conference was the "next step" for the "alt-right," a soft euphemism for the once-fringe network with ties to white nationalism that vaulted into the mainstream political scene with Donald Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and includes everyone from hardcore white supremacists and neo-Nazis to critics of so-called "political correctness."

 "We need to take this next step in terms of professionalization and in terms of being able to influence people," he told NBC News, adding that he is "very willing to criticize" Trump and say "things that he's not willing or able to say."

More from NBC News:
5 things to know about the alt-right
Breitbart's Steve Bannon leads the 'alt right' to the White House
For Trump, just another turbulent, free-wheeling weekend

In a statement, the Trump transition team said that the president-elect "has continued to denounce racism of any kind and he was elected because he will be a leader for every American. To think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the movement that united Americans from all backgrounds."

In the video, Spencer appeared to raise a glass after saying, "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory."

In response, some in the crowd, which had gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building and which the Atlantic estimated to be 200, saluted.

"There's an ironic exuberance to it all," Spencer claimed. "I think that's ... one of the things that makes the alt-right fun, is that we're willing to do things that are a bit cheeky."

At other points in his speech, Spencer used a term employed by the Nazis to attack the media — "Lügenpresse," German for lying press — to describe the mainstream media.

"It's not just that many are genuinely stupid," he said of reporters. "Indeed, one wonders if these people are people at all."

One tactic of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime was to declare enemies inhuman.

At another point, Spencer said that to be "white is to be a striver, an explorer and a conqueror ... We don't gain anything from [other racial groups'] presence. They need us and not the other way around."

 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

8 people arrested at White Lives Matter rally in Austin- "Black Lives Matter Was Not Developed To Hate White People": Many White People Are All together With Black People During Black Lives Matter Movement

8 people arrested at White Lives Matter rally in Austin- "Black Lives Matter Was Not Developed To Hate White People": Many White People Are All together With Black People During Black Lives Matter Movement


 Here is an article about a group for a person, a White person, called "White Lives Matter."

The news article is so important to read because anyone interested in understanding the group called "Black Lives Matter" need to learn that Black Lives Matter isn't created by Black peoples in order to hate White people.

A person doesn't have to be Black in order to support the Black Lives Matter group.

In fact, there are so many many large number of persons that are White Americans joining their own resources to support Black Lives Matter Movement there seems to be no stopping people standing and marching all together as a true united Black and White force in America.

However, anything about demanding more respect for positive Black activity in America nearly always exposes racism... and opposition to the Black race in America. 

It is a beautiful thing that White people as a whole are lovely. And it is equally a beautiful thing that Black people as a whole are lovely.

And the very same people that are hating Black Lives Matter because of a positive Black image...they have the same deep hatred against White people that don't agree with racism.

The White Lives Matter group demand equal treatment in America...

What's very interesting about the White Lives Matter making demands to be treated equally in America is that the supporters appear at a rally, out of no where, armed with weapons that look like machine guns...

The real question is... can White Lives Matter protesters do better than how they appear?

AUSTIN, Texas -- Eight people were arrested on Saturday when a small group of protesters calling themselves White Lives Matter were confronted by counter-demonstrators supporting Black Lives Matter at the Texas State Capitol near where Gov. Greg Abbott had earlier dedicated a monument recognizing the contribution of African-Americans to the state.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Victor Taylor said four of the arrests were for assault, two for evading arrest, one for disorderly conduct and one for “interference with public duty.” Two of those arrested were on Capitol grounds and the others on adjacent streets.

“Some protesters assaulted other protesters,” Taylor said. “We don’t know for sure which side they were on. A lot of them were co-mingled.”

Austin police and state troopers dressed in riot gear and some mounted on horseback had tried to keep the two groups separated.

The demonstration started Saturday morning during the unveiling of the Texas African American History monument, CBS affiliate KEYE reports.

While the memorial was being unveiled on the capitol lawn several dozen white lives matter members showed up to protest hate crime laws.

“Really what we are here today for is to protest against unequal application of hate crime laws,” said Scott Lacy.

Members of the white live matter group held signs that read “Hate crimes for one, hate crimes for all, equal justice under the law.”

Hundreds of counter protesters then showed up in opposition of that group. They chanted “Nazis get out, Nazis get out!”

Taylor said the confrontation did not affect the unveiling of the monument, which was in a different part of the grounds. A state helicopter circled overhead.

About two dozen individuals with the White Lives Matter group, some of whom were armed, demonstrated against what they called the unequal application of hate crimes laws, which they said are applied in a way that favors minorities. The group said it was a coincidence that its protest was held at about the same time as the ceremony for the monument.

White Lives Matter member and protest organizer Ken Reed said into a bullhorn that his group was concerned with “white people’s preservation.”

“You all are anti-white and anti-American,” he told the counter-protesters, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The White Lives Matter group was shouted down by several hundred counter-protesters, who held up signs that said “Stand Against Hate” and “Black Lives Matter.”

One of them, Marie Catrett, said she came to stand up for the rights of minorities.

“I think they are full of hatred,” Catrett said about the White Lives Matter group. “They don’t represent our community or our values.”

During the unveiling ceremony, Abbott told a crowd in attendance that the monument honors African-Americans who helped grow Texas.

“The fact is African Americans have shaped this land that we are on today since long before it was even named the state of Texas. They fought for their own freedom. They fought for the freedom of Texas and the freedom of the United States of America,” Abbott said.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trump names Priebus, Bannon to senior White House roles

Trump names Priebus, Bannon to senior White House roles
 

AP Photo
In this Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, photo, President-elect Donald Trump, left, stands with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus during an election night rally in New York. Trump on Sunday named Priebus as his White House chief of staff
  
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President-elect Donald Trump named Republican Party chief Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and conservative media owner Stephen Bannon as his top presidential strategist, two men who represent opposite ends of the unsettled GOP.

In bringing Priebus and Bannon into the White House, Trump is making overtures to both traditional Republican circles and the party's anti-establishment wing, which helped fuel the businessman's political rise.

Priebus has deep ties to GOP congressional leaders, particularly House Speaker Paul Ryan. Bannon previously ran the Breitbart website, which was fiercely critical of Republican leadership, including Ryan.

Bannon was notably given top billing in the press release announcing the appointments, a curious arrangement giving that White House chief of staff is typically considered the most powerful West Wing job.

Under Bannon's tenure, the Brietbart site pushed a nationalist, anti-establishment agenda and became one of the leading outlets of the so-called alt-right - a movement often associated with white supremacy and a defense of "Western values."

Neither Priebus nor Bannon bring significant policy experience to their new White House roles. Chiefs of staff in particular play a significant role in policy making, serving as a liaison to Cabinet agencies and deciding what information makes it to the president's desk. They're often one of the last people in the room with the 
president as major decisions are made.

Together with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the triumvirate will lead Trump's transition to the White House and help guide his presidency, Trump said in a statement.

"I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country," Trump said. He called Priebus and Bannon "highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory.

Priebus called the appointment "an honor" and predicted the billionaire "will be a great president for all Americans."

The appointments came after a day in which Trump's tough-talking plan to rein in illegal immigration showed signs Sunday of cracking, with the president-elect backing off his vow to build a solid wall along the southern U.S. border and Ryan rejecting any "deportation force" targeting people living in the country illegally.

After Trump told CBS' "60 Minutes" that his border wall might look more like a fence in spots, the combative billionaire took to Twitter to settle some scores.

During a four-hour spree, Trump savaged the New York Times and gloated about the GOP stalwarts lining up to congratulate him, bragging that staunch critics and GOP rivals John Kasich, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush had sent attaboys. Former presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush also had sent their "best wishes on the win. Very nice!" The New York Times, Trump wrote to his 14 million followers, is "dishonest" and "highly inaccurate."

As Trump revenge-tweeted, threats flew between power brokers, and protests across the country continued.

The president-elect retreated from the campaign promise that had inspired his supporters to chant "Build the wall!" at Trump's massive campaign rallies.

Would he accept a fence in some spots on the border? In an interview to be aired Sunday, Trump told "60 Minutes": "For certain areas, I would, but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. There could be some fencing."

Excerpts of the interview were released in advance.

Trump also had vowed to immediately deport all 11 million people living in the country illegally. But in the interview, he said he's focusing first on ousting or incarcerating 2 million to 3 million "that are criminals and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers." Trump emphasized that securing the border is his very first immigration priority.

On that, Ryan agreed. But on CNN's "State of the Union," Ryan rejected the kind of "mass deportations" Trump had championed during the campaign.

"We are not planning on erecting a deportation force," Ryan said.

More tension emerged Sunday when Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid should be careful in a "legal sense" about characterizing Trump as a sexual predator. When asked whether Trump was threatening to sue Reid, Conway said no.

But Adam Jentleson, Reid's deputy chief of staff, said Trump is "hiding behind his Twitter account and sending his staff on TV to threaten his critics."



Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trump claims mandate; Clinton says give him 'chance to lead'

Trump claims mandate; Clinton says give him 'chance to lead'

AP Photo
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters after speaking at the New Yorker Hotel in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, where she conceded her defeat to Republican Donald Trump after the hard-fought presidential election.
  
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Emboldened Republicans claimed a mandate Wednesday for President-elect Donald Trump after his astonishing election triumph, and an emotional Hillary Clinton told crestfallen supporters the GOP victor deserved a "chance to lead." President Barack Obama pledged a smooth transition of power.

"We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country," the president said of the president-elect, the man who spent years questioning Obama's birthplace and challenging the legitimacy of his presidency. Obama, who had declared Trump unfit for the presidency, invited him to the White House Thursday.

Trump was uncharacteristically quiet in the aftermath of his triumph and made no public appearances Wednesday. He huddled with jubilant, sleep-deprived advisers at his eponymous skyscraper in Manhattan, beginning the daunting task of setting up an administration that will take power in just over two months. He also met with Vice President-elect Mike Pence and took calls from supporters, family and friends, according to spokeswoman Hope Hicks.

In Washington, Trump's scant transition team sprang into action, culling through personnel lists for top jobs and working through handover plans for government agencies. A person familiar with the transition operations said the personnel process was still in its early stages, but Trump's team was putting a premium on quickly filling key national security posts.

According to an organizational chart for the transition obtained by The Associated Press, Trump was relying on experienced hands to help form his administration. National security planning was being led by former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, who previously worked for the FBI. Domestic issues were being handled by Ken Blackwell, a former Cincinnati mayor and Ohio secretary of state.

Trump was expected to consider several loyal supporters for top jobs, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for attorney general or national security adviser and campaign finance chairman Steve Mnuchin for Treasury secretary. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker were also expected to be under consideration for foreign policy posts.

After struggling for months with Trump's takeover of their party, Republican leaders embraced the businessman in victory. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was lukewarm in his support throughout the campaign, praised him for pulling off "the most incredible political feat I have seen in my lifetime."

"He just earned a mandate," Ryan declared.

Indeed, Trump will take office in January with Congress fully in his party's control, giving him strength to try to pass his agenda and turn the Supreme Court in a conservative direction. Even Republicans were stunned by the scope of their electoral success, including many who had been privately predicting Trump's defeat.

Clinton's emotions were raw as she addressed a crowd of supporters, eyes wet with tears, who gathered in a New York ballroom. She said the crushing loss was "painful and it will be for a long time" and acknowledged that the nation was "more divided than we thought."

Still, Clinton was gracious in defeat, declaring that "Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead."

With several million votes still to be counted, Clinton held a narrow lead in the nationwide popular vote. 

Most of the outstanding votes appeared to be in Democratic-leaning states, with the biggest chunk in California, a state Clinton overwhelmingly won. With almost 125 million votes counted, The Associated Press tally had Clinton with 47.7 percent and Trump with 47.5 percent.

Trump's sweep of the battleground states that decided the election was commanding. He carried Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, three of the election's biggest prizes, and snatched reliably Democratic Pennsylvania and Wisconsin away from Clinton.

Trump's support skewed older, male and overwhelmingly white. His supporters said they were deeply dissatisfied with the federal government and eager for change, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.

If Trump makes good on his campaign promises, the nation stands on the brink of sweeping change in domestic and foreign policy. He's pledged to repeal Obama's signature health care law and pull out of the landmark nuclear accord with Iran. He's vowed to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and temporarily ban immigration from nations with terror ties.

It's unclear whether Trump, a highly unusual candidate, will embrace many of the traditions of the presidency. 

He'll enter the White House owning his own private jet as well as a hotel just blocks away on Pennsylvania Avenue. He never allowed journalists to fly on his plane during the campaign, as is customary for White House nominees.

Issues of transparency bubbled up right from the start. On Wednesday evening, Trump aides said they would not bring the press corps to Washington with the president-elect for his meeting with Obama, breaking long-standing protocol.

Global stock markets and U.S. stock futures plunged early Wednesday on word of Trump's election, but later recovered. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.4 percent for the day in trading in New York.

World leaders congratulated Trump on his victory. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had a contentious relationship with Obama, called the Republican a "true friend of Israel." British Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.S. and United Kingdom would remain "strong and close partners on trade, security and defense."

Russian President Vladimir Putin was among the first to reach out to the incoming American leader. Trump praised Putin throughout the campaign and advocated a closer relationship with Russia, despite Moscow's provocations in Ukraine and elsewhere.

U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Russia of hacking Democratic organizations during the campaign, actions Clinton's team saw as an indication that Putin was trying to meddle in the election. Trump notably did not accept the conclusions of intelligence officials.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Clergy join Dakota Access pipeline protesters for ceremony

Clergy join Dakota Access pipeline protesters for ceremony
 

AP Photo
Members of the clergy join protesters against the Dakota Access oil pipeline in southern North Dakota near Cannon Ball on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, to draw attention to the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux and push elected officials to call for a halt to construction. The tribe says the $3.8 billion, four-state pipeline threatens its drinking water and cultural sites.
  
CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) -- Hundreds of clergy of various faiths joined protests Thursday against the Dakota Access oil pipeline in southern North Dakota, singing hymns, marching and ceremonially burning a copy of a 600-year-old document.

The interfaith event was organized to draw attention to the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux and push elected officials to call for a halt to construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline that's to carry North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. The tribe believes the pipeline that will skirt its reservation threatens its drinking water and cultural sites.

The pipeline "is a textbook case of marginalizing minority communities in the drive to increase fossil fuel supplies," the Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, said in a statement. Morales' group sent more than 30 clergy to the event.

More than 500 clergy from around the world gathered with protesters on Thursday at a campfire at the main protest camp to burn a copy of a religious document from the 1400s sanctioning the taking of land from indigenous peoples. About 200 people then sang hymns while they marched to a bridge that was the site of a recent clash between protesters and law officers. Some held signs that read, "Clergy for Standing Rock."

"It's amazing the spirituality going around this place," said Joe Gangone, who came with an Episcopalian church group from South Dakota's Rosebud Sioux Reservation.

The Rev. Tet Gallardo, a Unitarian Universalist minister from the Philippines, said she was "moved to come" to the gathering.

"Water is the subject of concern also in the Philippines," she said. "How can this happen to people who are so faithful to God?"

The group sang and prayed while gathered in a semicircle at the still-closed bridge while law officers monitored from vehicles at a barricade on the other side, from surrounding hillsides and from a helicopter flying overhead.

John Floberg, an Episcopalian minister from the Standing Rock Reservation who organized the event, called for "peaceful, prayerful, nonviolent and lawful activity here." There were no immediate confrontations between group members and authorities, and no arrests, Morton County sheriff's spokesman Rob Keller said.

Later Thursday, 14 protesters were arrested in the judicial wing of the Capitol in Bismarck. Highway Patrol Lt. Tom Iverson said the protesters, who were singing hymns, faced disorderly conduct charges for refusing to leave the building.

The demonstrators were singing hymns Thursday afternoon in the judicial wing of the Capitol. Highway Patrol Lt. Tom Iverson says they face disorderly conduct charges for refusing to leave when asked.

Their protest followed an interfaith day of prayer in the southern part of the state near the small town of Cannon Ball. Hundreds of clergy sang hymns and marched near the route of the pipeline.

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux have demonstrated against the pipeline for months, saying they fear it could harm drinking water and construction could damage sacred sites.

Opponents of the pipeline project have been camped near the route in southern North Dakota for months in an effort to stop construction. Clashes between protesters and police have resulted in more than 400 arrests since August.

The most recent incident came Wednesday, when law officers in riot gear used pepper spray to deter dozens of protesters who tried to cross a frigid stream to access property owned by the pipeline developer. Two people were arrested. About 140 people were arrested on the property last week in a law enforcement operation that cleared the encampment that protesters had established on the land.

Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners has said the 1,200-mile pipeline is largely complete outside of the area in south central North Dakota where it will go under Lake Oahe, a large Missouri River reservoir and the source of the tribe's drinking water. The federal government in September ordered a temporary halt to construction on Army Corps of Engineers land around and beneath the lake while the agency reviews its permitting of the project. There's no timetable for a decision.


Friday, October 21, 2016

NJ Police Departments Squaring Off On Ice To Aid Recovering Officer

NJ Police Departments Squaring Off On Ice To Aid Recovering Officer
 
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Five weeks ago Atlantic City police officer Josh Vadell gave a smile and thumbs up as he left the Atlantic City Medical Center letting everyone know he was down but not out.
 
Vadell was shot in the head responding to an armed robbery Labor Day Weekend.

After successful brain surgery he’s been in full-time rehabilitation learning how to walk again and recover from paralysis on his left side.

“Josh has actually healed the entire department just by his positive attitude and his no quit attitude. And his wife is unbelievable, she’s exactly like Josh”,” says Lt. Harry Brubaker, officer Vadell’s supervisor.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Most Syrian refugees arriving in US are kids; schools adapt

Most Syrian refugees arriving in US are kids; schools adapt
 

AP Photo
This Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 photo Ahad Al Haj Ali, 10, a sits in a class for refugee students at Cajon Valley Middle School in El Cajon, Calif. According to the U.S. State Department, nearly 80 percent of the more than 11,000 Syrian arrivals over the past year were children. Many of those children are enrolling in public schools around the country, including Chicago; Austin, Texas; New Haven, Connecticut; and El Cajon, which received 76 new Syrian students the first week of school.

EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) -- Seated at his desk at a suburban San Diego middle school, 12-year-old Abdulhamid Ashehneh tries not to let his mind wander to the painful memories of his life in civil war-torn Syria.

His father disappeared suddenly four years ago and, the family believes, was killed. Months later, Abdulhamid's mother boarded a bus with her six children, the youngest 2, and fled to Jordan, the sound of bombs ringing in the distance.

"I think about my Dad a lot," Abdulhamid said recently after practicing English at Cajon Valley Middle School, which has received an influx of Syrian children. "I wish he would come back."

Abdulhamid is like many of the Syrian refugees arriving today in the U.S. Nearly 60 percent of the more than 11,000 Syrian arrivals over the past year were children, according to the U.S. State Department.

That's a larger percentage than some refugee groups, in part because Syrians tend to have larger families and many have managed to stay together despite displacement, according to resettlement agencies helping the families acclimate to the U.S.

Many of those children are enrolling in public schools around the country, including Chicago; Austin, Texas; 

New Haven, Connecticut; and El Cajon, which received 76 new Syrian students the first week of school.

Syrian children face many of the same challenges as other young refugees - limited English, an interrupted education - but they are somewhat distinct in the level of trauma they have experienced, school leaders and resettlement workers said.

"The truth is, a lot of them have seen some pretty nasty stuff," said Eyal Bergman, a family and community 
engagement officer for the Cajon Valley Union School District. "But I also see incredible resilience."

In response to the influx, school districts are beefing up English instruction and making extra efforts to reach out to parents unfamiliar with the U.S. school system. In El Cajon, one-on-one orientations introduce families to the school's teachers and staff and show them basics like how to read the district's academic-year calendar.

Some refugee students are enrolled in "newcomer" classes where they are provided intense English instruction before being placed in mainstream classrooms. Others go directly into classes with English-fluent peers but are assigned to smaller groups for individual instruction. Teachers are trained in identifying trauma, and on-site counselors help students who need extra attention.

"I've had students tell me that maybe some of their family members passed away," said Juanita Chavez, a second-grade teacher. "But I think a lot of them just want to focus on here, on learning. A lot of them don't focus on the negative things that have happened to them."

At night, Arabic-speaking staff and teachers hold a "parent academy" where newly arrived moms and dads are given bilingual children's books in English and Arabic and guided on how to help improve literacy at home.

The rising number of Syrian refugee students comes amid a heated presidential campaign. During the second debate, Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton's plan to expand the Obama administration's refugee program and accept 65,000 Syrian refugees the "great Trojan horse of all time."

Last November, in response to the deadly Paris attack believed carried out by operatives who fought and trained in Syria, nearly 30 states vowed to deny entry to Syrian refugees.

Resettlement agencies and school staff worry inflamed rhetoric about Muslims and Syrian refugees will trickle into the classroom. A report last year by the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations found 50 percent of Muslim students surveyed were subjected to mean comments or rumors because of their religion.

"This is a concern of ours, to be watching that they do not feel shunned or stigmatized because of their national origin," said Ellen Beattie, a senior director with the International Rescue Committee.

El Cajon, a city of roughly 104,000 people 15 miles east of San Diego, has become a melting pot of refugees from Uganda to Afghanistan. The first Middle Eastern immigrants were Chaldean Christians fleeing persecution in Iraq in the 1970s. Those earlier, now established waves of migrants are playing a role in helping settle the new arrivals from Syria.

"Most of them tell us the only reason they accepted the whole immigration process is really for their kids," said Anas Kayal, who emigrated to the U.S. from Syria in 2001 and is a physician in San Diego. "They are OK with their own lives being disrupted by the war and crisis, but they are hoping their kids can have a better life."

Watching her children learn English and adapt to U.S. schools has been redeeming for Abdulhamid's mother after two years in Jordan, where she often struggled to feed them and at one point lived in a feeble tent that would blow apart in the wind.

"We're still trying to cope with this emotionally," said Amena Alshehneh, 37. "But it's the reality. We have to face the reality and get on our feet."

As Abdulhamid assimilates, he still pines for his homeland and the life he left behind.

He remembers the Damascus home where he wrestled and practiced reading with his father. He remembers playing soccer and hide-and-seek with his best friend, and wonders what happened to him.

He also thinks about his computer and a remote-control car - cherished toys his father gave him and that he had to abandon.

"I feel so sad I left Syria," said Abdulhamid, whose expression quickly shifts from joy to grief. "Because it's my country. My home."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Haitians await aid, help each other regain some normalcy

Haitians await aid, help each other regain some normalcy

AP Photo
A sign in French announcing a music concert sits among salvaged clothes drying on the remains of a home destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in Port-a-Piment, Haiti, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. Nearly a week after the storm smashed into southwestern Haiti, some communities along the southern coast have yet to receive any assistance, leaving residents who have lost their homes and virtually all of their belongings struggling to find shelter and potable water.

LES CAYES, Haiti (AP) -- People throughout Haiti's devastated southwest peninsula formed makeshift brigades Tuesday to clear debris and try to regain some semblance of their pre-hurricane lives as anger grew over the delay in aid for remote communities more than a week after the Category 4 storm hit.

A community group that formed in the southern seaside community of Les Anglais began clearing tree limbs from streets and placing them into piles while others gathered scraps of wood to start rebuilding homes destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.

Carpenter James Nassau donned a white construction helmet as he rebuilt a neighbor's wall with recycled wood, hoping to earn a little money to take care of 10 children, including those left behind by his brother, who died in the storm.

"My brother left five kids, and now I've got to take care of them," he said. "Nobody has come to help."

The scene repeated itself across small seaside and mountain villages dotting the peninsula, where people pointed out helicopters buzzing overhead and questioned why they haven't received any help.

Israel Banissa, a carpenter who lives near the small mountain town of Moron, said a Red Cross assessment team stopped outside his village to ask people questions but didn't leave any supplies.

"There's no aid that's come here," he said as he sawed wood to help rebuild his home and dozens of others.

"I don't think they care about the people up here."

The U.N. humanitarian agency in Geneva has made an emergency appeal for nearly $120 million in aid, saying about 750,000 people in southwest Haiti alone will need "life-saving assistance and protection" in the next three months. U.N. officials said earlier that at least 1.4 million people across the region need assistance and that 2.1 million overall have been affected by the hurricane. Some 175,500 people remain in shelters.

The National Civil Protection headquarters in Port-au-Prince raised the official nationwide death toll to 473, which included at least 244 deaths in Grand-Anse. But local officials have said the toll in Grand-Anse alone tops 500.

Those who survived the storm still faced great challenges, including going days without food.

Elancie Moise, an agronomist and director for the Department of Agriculture in southern Haiti, said between 80 to 100 percent of crops have been lost across the southern peninsula.

"Crisis is not the word to describe it," he said. "You need a stronger word. It is much worse. There is no food for people to eat."

Food was slowly reaching remote communities, but there was also a growing need for medical supplies.

In the western seaside village of Dame Marie, 300 patients with festering wounds lay silently on beds at the main hospital waiting for medicine a week after the storm hit.

Among them was Beauvoir Luckner, a cobbler and farmer who walked 12 kilometers (seven miles) in three days after a tree fell on his house, crushing his leg and killing his mother. The leg might have to be amputated, but all doctors can do is clean his wounds because the hospital has run out of everything, including painkillers.

"There's no water, no antibiotics," Dr. Herby Jean told The Associated Press. "Everything is depleted. ... We hear helicopters flying overhead, but we're not getting anything."

Meanwhile, Luckner lay on a mattress with no sheets, a bandage wrapped around his left leg.

"It took a lot of misery to get here and now that I'm here, there's still misery," he said.

Concern also was growing about an increase in cases of cholera, which has already killed roughly 10,000 people and sickened more than 800,000 since 2010.

Dr. Dominique Legros, a top cholera official at the World Health Organization, said Tuesday that the agency was sending 1 million doses of cholera vaccine to Haiti and that safe drinking water and treatment of those affected by the disease were top priorities.

Speaking to the U.N. Security Council, the U.N. envoy for Haiti, Sandra Honore, said the health impact of Hurricane Matthew "cannot be overestimated."

Already fragile water and sanitation infrastructure has been severely damaged, resulting in the absence of drinking water and "a very high level of infections from diarrheal disease, including, but not exclusively, cholera," Honore said.

She said hundreds of suspected cholera cases have been reported, and "we are already seeing the first deaths."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York on Monday that a "massive response" was needed to help Haiti emerge from the storm's aftermath. He noted that crops and food reserves were destroyed and that at least 300 schools have been damaged.

"At least 1.4 million people need assistance at this time," he said. "These numbers and needs are growing as more affected areas are reached. Tensions are already mounting as people await help."

Monday, October 3, 2016

Family of black man shot 14 times by police wants charges

Family of black man shot 14 times by police wants charges

AP Photo
Attorney John Burris, center, comforts Robert and Deborah Mann, family members of Joseph Mann, who was killed by Sacramento Police in July, after a news conference Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. The Mann family is demanding that the officers involved in shooting of Joseph Mann, 50, be charged with murder and that the U.S. Department of Justice open a civil rights investigation of the Sacramento Police Department.
  
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The family of a man killed in July by Sacramento police after 911 callers reported he was waving a knife and acting erratically demanded Monday that two officers face murder charges after dash-cam video revealed they talked inside their police cruiser about running him down. He dodged the cruiser twice and was shot 14 times less than a minute later by the same two officers.

The officers "behaved like big game hunters closing in on an animal," said John Burris, a lawyer for the family of Joseph Mann, who was mentally unstable and homeless.

The demand for the murder charges came as Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck defended his officers in the fatal shootings of a black man Saturday who police say was armed with a loaded semi-automatic gun and a Hispanic man on Sunday who officers say was wielding replica handgun.

The latest police shootings happened amid heightened tensions over police actions involving black people and other minorities across the country, and followed two more police shootings by California police last week of black men in San Diego and Pasadena.

In the Sacramento case, police have said Mann was waving a knife in the air and doing karate moves in the streets just before police responded. But Burris told reporters he was not threatening anybody and that the two officers who shot him, John Tennis and Randy Lozoya, should face a U.S. Justice Department civil rights investigation in addition to murder charges.

The officers can be heard on the recording saying "I'm gonna hit him" and "OK, go for it" before appearing to drive their cruiser twice at Mann, who managed to scramble out of its way both times. The officers then stopped the cruiser, got out of it, pursued him on foot and opened fire.

"Mann was standing stationary on a sidewalk with no one in close proximity when the officers unloaded their guns," Burris wrote in a letter he said he sent U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Sacramento police spokesman Matthew McPhail said he could not immediately comment on whether officers are trained to use squad cars as weapons. He said the law and police protocol allow any person to use reasonable means to defend themselves under extreme circumstances.

"Our officers are encouraged to assess each circumstance and think critically about the tools at their disposal," McPhail said.

The Sacramento District Attorney's Office is reviewing the recordings and police reports, spokeswoman Shelly Orio said.

Tennis and Lozoya were put on a brief leave after the July 11 shooting and returned to work on desk duty instead of patrol the following week. An administrative review of their actions is underway.

"It doesn't service anybody's interest with the public or the city, even the officers themselves or the family of the deceased, to have any sort of determination to be made before the investigation is complete," McPhail said.

Surveillance videos show Mann doing the karate moves, zigzagging as he walked around a down-and-out commercial neighborhood in north Sacramento where many businesses are shuttered.

Police 911 recordings released previously included callers who said a man was waving a knife in the air, had a gun in his waistband and appeared to be mentally ill. Police found a knife but no gun after Man was killed.

Family members have described Mann as a college graduate who was smart, loved politics and economics, and succeeded in several careers before deteriorating into mental illness about five years ago. They said he had been living on the streets and struggled with drugs before his death.

Toxicology tests revealed Mann had methamphetamine in his system the day he died, according to Police Chief Sam Somers.

A special team of officers that can assist other officers in dealing with mentally ill people was not sent to the area where callers reported Mann was acting erratically.

The videos released showed a first police cruiser that arrived alongside Mann as he was walking down a street. Mann turned away from that vehicle when another cruiser with the two officers approached him, talking inside their cruiser about hitting Mann.

When Mann ran out of the cars way, the officer driving the cruiser backed it up and turned to aim in Mann's direction again. It accelerated toward Mann, who ran across a median. The cruiser stopped and the officers got out.

Mann is heard on audio from the video saying he did not have a gun.

About 15 seconds later, 18 shots were fired - 14 hit Mann.

It was extremely rare for audio to be captured describing what the officers were thinking as the events leading up to Mann's shooting unfolded, said Kevin LaHue, a private attorney in Los Angeles who has worked on numerous federal civil rights cases involving police tactics.

"Having this sort of real-time insight into the thought process of the officers and their use of force, I think that is very unique," LaHue said.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Colombia, FARC sign historic peace deal ending long conflict

Colombia, FARC sign historic peace deal ending long conflict


AP Photo
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, front left, and the top commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Rodrigo Londono, known by the alias Timochenko, shake hands after signing the peace agreement between Colombia’s government and the FARC to end over 50 years of conflict in Cartagena, Colombia, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. Behind, from left, are Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, Cuba's President Raul Castro, and Spain's former King Juan Carlos.
  
CARTAGENA, Colombia (AP) -- Colombia's government and the country's largest rebel movement signed a historic peace accord Monday evening ending a half-century of combat that caused more than 220,000 deaths and made 8 million homeless.

Underlining the importance of the deal, President Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Londono, leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, signed the 297-page agreement before a crowd of 2,500 foreign dignitaries and special guests, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Many in the audience had tears in their eyes, and shouts rose urging Santos and Londono to "Hug, hug, hug!" But in the end, the two men just clasped hands and the rebel commander, also known as Timochenko, put on a pin shaped like a white dove that Santos has been wearing on his lapel for years. Seconds later five jets buzzed overhead in formation trailing smoke in the colors of Colombia's flag.

During a minute of silence for the war's victims, 50 white flags were raised. Everyone at the event wore white as a symbol of peace.

Santos proclaimed after the signing that the accord will help Colombia to stop the killing, to end the deaths of young people, the innocent, soldiers and rebels alike. He led the crowd in chants of "No more war! No more war! No more war!" and he urged Colombians to vote to accept the accord in the Oct. 2 national referendum that will determine if it takes effect.

Londono called Santos "a courageous partner" in reaching the peace deal through four hard years of negotiations, calling the accord "a victory for Colombian society and the international community."

He also praised FARC's fighters as heroes of the downtrodden in the struggle for social justice, but repeated the movement's request for forgiveness for the war. "I apologize ... for all the pain that we have caused," he said.

The signing was greeted by wild cheers by about 1,000 FARC rebels in Sabanas del Yari, where the group recently concluded its last congress by endorsing the peace deal. "Yes, we can; yes, we can; yes, we can," they shouted, followed by calls for Timochenko to be president.

"Let no one doubt that we are going into politics without weapons," Londono said in his speech after the signing. "We are going to comply (with the accord) and we hope that the government complies," he added.
Earlier in the day, Santos and foreign dignitaries attended a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's secretary of state, at a baroque church named for St. Peter Claver, a 17th century Jesuit priest revered as the "slave of slaves" for his role aiding tens of thousands of African slaves brought to the New World as chattel.

In a stirring homily, Pope Francis' envoy praised Colombians for overcoming the pain of the bloody conflict to find common ground with the rebels.

"All of us here today are conscious of the fact we're at the end of a negotiation, but also the beginning of a still open process of change that requires the contribution and respect of all Colombians," the cardinal said.

Across the country Colombians marked the occasion with a host of activities, from peace concerts by top-name artists to a street party in the capital, Bogota, where the signing ceremony was to be broadcast live on a giant screen. It was also celebrated by hundreds of guerrillas gathered in a remote region of southern Colombia where last week top commanders ratified the accord in what they said would be their last conference as a guerrilla army.

Colombians will have the final say on endorsing or rejecting the accord in the Oct. 2 referendum. Opinion polls point to an almost-certain victory for the "yes" vote, but some analysts warn that a closer-than-expected finish or low voter turnout could bode poorly for the tough task the country faces in implementing the ambitious accord.

Among the biggest challenges will be judging the war crimes of guerrillas as well as state actors. Under terms of the accord, rebels who lay down their weapons and confess their abuses will be spared jail time and be allowed to provide reparations to their victims by carrying out development work in areas hard hit by the conflict.

That has angered some victims and conservative opponents of Santos, a few hundred of whom took to the streets Monday to protest what they consider the government's excessive leniency toward guerrilla leaders responsible for scores of atrocities in a conflict fueled by the country's cocaine trade.

To shouts of "Santos is a coward!" former President Alvaro Uribe, the architect of the decade-long, U.S.-backed military offensive that forced the FARC to the negotiating table, said the peace deal puts Colombia on the path to becoming a leftist dictatorship in the mold of Cuba or Venezuela - two countries that along with Norway played a vital role sponsoring the four-year-long talks.

"The democratic world would never allow bin Laden or those belonging to ISIS to become president, so why does Colombia have to allow the election of the terrorists who've kidnapped 11,700 children or raped 6,800 women?" he told protesters gathered in a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Cartagena.

The stiff domestic opposition contrasts with widespread acclaim abroad for the accord - a rare example in a war-torn world of what can be achieved through dialogue. On Monday, European Union foreign policy coordinator Federica Mogherini said that with the signing of the peace agreement, the EU would suspend the FARC from its list of terrorist organizations.

Asked whether the U.S. would follow suit, Kerry was less willing to commit but expressed a possible openness to similar action.

"We clearly are ready to review and make judgments as the facts come in," he told reporters. "We don't want to leave people on the list if they don't belong."

The FARC was established in 1964 by self-defense groups and communist activists who joined forces to resist a government military onslaught. Reflecting that history, the final accord commits the government to addressing unequal land distribution that has been at the heart of Colombia's conflict.

But as the war dragged on, and insurgencies elsewhere in Latin America were defeated, the FARC slipped deeper and deeper into Colombia's lucrative cocaine trade - to the point that President George W. Bush's administration in 2006 called it the world's biggest drug cartel.

As part of the peace process, the FARC has sworn off narcotics trafficking and agreed to work with the government to provide alternative development in areas where coca growing has flourished.

Only if the accord passes the referendum will the FARC's roughly 7,000 fighters begin moving to 28 designated zones where, over the next six months, they are to turn over their weapons to U.N.-sponsored observers.

"This is something I waited for my whole life - that I dreamed of every day," said Leon Valencia, a former guerrilla who is one of the most respected experts on Colombia's conflict. "It's like when you're waiting for a child that is finally born, or seeing an old love or when your favorite team scores a goal."

Clinton, Trump poised for must-see debate showdown

Clinton, Trump poised for must-see debate showdown

AP Photo
People wait in the hall for the presidential debate between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.
  
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -- With millions watching and the American presidency on the line, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are poised for a must-see showdown Monday night, pitting the Democrat's call for steady, experienced leadership against the Republican's pugnacious promises to upend Washington.

The 90-minute televised debate comes six weeks before Election Day and with early voting already getting underway in some states. Despite Clinton's advantages, including a sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation and a favorable electoral map, the race is exceedingly close.

For Clinton and Trump, the first of three debates is a crucial moment to boost their standing with voters who view both candidates negatively. Clinton struggles with questions about her trustworthiness, while Trump has yet to prove to some voters that he has the basic qualifications to serve as commander in chief.

National interest in the race has been intense, and the campaigns are expecting a record-breaking audience to watch Monday's event at suburban New York's Hofstra University. Both candidates were continuing intensive debate prep nearly until air time.

Clinton aides spent the days leading up to the debate appealing for the media and voters to hold Trump to a higher standard than they believe he has faced for much of the campaign. Their concern is that if the sometimes-bombastic Trump manages to keep his cool onstage, he'll be rewarded - even if he fails to flesh out policy specifics or doesn't tell the truth about his record and past statements.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Monday that he was "concerned that Trump is going to continue to lie."

On the other side, Kellyanne Conway, who took over as Trump's campaign manager last month, accused Clinton's team of engaging in "very public and very coordinated attempts to game the refs." She said the effort reflected worries among Clinton supporters about the Democrat's debating skills.

Trump and Clinton have spent months tangling from afar and are divided on virtually every major issue facing the country. They're sure to face questions about domestic terrorism and police shootings given recent incidents in New York, North Carolina and elsewhere.

The centerpiece of Trump's campaign has been a push for restrictive immigration measures, including a physical wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and an early proposal to temporarily bar foreign Muslims from coming to the U.S. But he's been less detailed about other ideas, including his plan for stamping out the Islamic State group in the Middle East, and Conway suggested he'd be similarly reticent in the debate.

"You will get his view of how best to defeat the enemy - without telling ISIS specifically what it's going to be," Conway said.

Clinton, a former senator and secretary of state, is banking on voters seeing her as a steady hand who can build on the record of President Barack Obama, whose popularity is rising as he winds down his second term in office. She's called for expanding Obama's executive orders if Congress won't pass legislation to overhaul the nation's immigration system and for broader gun control measures. Overseas, she's called for a no-fly zone in Syria but has vowed to keep the military out of a large-scale ground war to defeat the Islamic State group.

For Clinton, victory in November largely hinges on rallying the same young and diverse coalition that elected Obama but has yet to fully embrace her. Mook told "CBS This Morning" that she understands she still needs to earn voters' trust.

"When she's had the opportunity to talk about not just what her plans are to make a difference in people's lives, but how this campaign is really part of a lifelong mission to fight for kids and families, she's done really well," Mook said.

Former President Bill Clinton planned to travel to the debate with his wife, but it was unclear whether he planned to watch the event from inside the debate hall.

Trump has tapped into deep anxieties among some Americans, particularly white, working-class voters who feel left behind in a changing economy and diversifying nation. While the real estate mogul lacks the experience Americans have traditionally sought in a commander in chief, he's banking on frustration with career politicians and disdain for Clinton to push him over the top on Election Day.

Trump was often a commanding presence in the Republican primary debates, launching biting personal attacks on his rivals. But at other times, he appeared to fade into the background, especially during more technical policy discussions - something he'll be unable to do with just two candidates on stage.

Clinton has debated more than 30 times at the presidential level, including several one-on-one contests against Obama in 2008 and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016. But Monday's contest will be her first presidential debate against a candidate from the opposing party.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Walking To Beat The Stigma Attached To Drug Addiction

Walking To Beat The Stigma Attached To Drug Addiction

 Photo credit: KYW's Cherri Gregg 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Tens of thousands will take over Penn’s Landing on Friday for the annual recovery walk.  While walking their goal is to stop drug overdose deaths by getting more people into recovery.
Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health estimates that 150,000 residents are battling addiction, but less than 20 percent seek help. Last year, 700 people died of drug overdose in Philadelphia- double the number lost to homicide.

Roland Lamb is deputy commissioner for the department of behavior health said there is a misconception.

“Folks have been made to think there is something wrong with them– that they have, you know, a moral issue,” Lamb said.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Witness says Philippine president ordered killings of 1,000

Witness says Philippine president ordered killings of 1,000

AP Photo
Former Filipino militiaman Edgar Matobato shows the kind of tape they use to wrap up dead bodies as he testifies before the Philippine Senate in Pasay, south of Manila, Philippines on Thursday Sept. 15, 2016. Matobato said that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, when he was still a city mayor, ordered him and other members of a squad to kill criminals and opponents in gangland-style assaults that left about 1,000 dead.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- A former Filipino militiaman testified before the country's Senate on Thursday that President Rodrigo Duterte, when he was still a city mayor, ordered him and other members of a liquidation squad to kill criminals and opponents in gangland-style assaults that left about 1,000 dead.

Edgar Matobato, 57, told the nationally televised Senate committee hearing that he heard Duterte order some of the killings, and acknowledged that he himself carried out about 50 deadly assaults as an assassin, including a suspected kidnapper fed to a crocodile in 2007 in southern Davao del Sur province.

Rights groups have long accused Duterte of involvement in death squads, claims he has denied, even while engaging in tough talk in which he stated his approach to criminals was to "kill them all." Matobato is the first person to admit any role in such killings, and to directly implicate Duterte under oath in a public hearing.

Human Rights Watch late Friday urged the Philippine government to order an independent investigation into the "very serious allegations" of direct involvement by Duterte "in extrajudicial killings."

Brad Adams, the rights group's Asia director, said: "President Duterte can't be expected to investigate himself, so it is crucial that the United Nations is called in to lead such an effort. Otherwise, Filipinos may never know if the president was directly responsible for extrajudicial killings."

The Senate committee inquiry was led by Sen. Leila de Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte's anti-drug campaign that has left more than 3,000 suspected drug users and dealers dead since he assumed the presidency in June. Duterte has accused de Lima of involvement in illegal drugs, alleging that she used to have a driver who took money from detained drug lords. She has denied the allegations.

Matobato said Duterte had once even issued an order to kill de Lima, when she chaired the Commission on Human Rights and was investigating the mayor's possible role in extrajudicial killings in 2009 in Davao. He said he and others were waiting to ambush de Lima but she did not go to a part of a hilly area - a suspected mass grave - where they were waiting to open fire.

"If you went inside the upper portion, we were already in ambush position," Matobato told de Lima. "It's good that you left."

The recent killings of suspected drug dealers have sparked concerns in the Philippines and among U.N. and U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama, who have urged Duterte's government to take steps to rapidly stop the killings and ensure his anti-drug war complies with human rights laws and the rule of law.

Duterte has rejected the criticisms, questioning the right of the U.N., the U.S. and Obama to raise human rights issues, when U.S. forces, for example, had massacred Muslims in the country's south in the early 1900s as part of a pacification campaign.

Matobato said under oath that the killings went on from 1988, when Duterte first became Davao city mayor, to 2013, when Matobato said he expressed his desire to leave the death squad. He said that prompted his colleagues to implicate him criminally in one killing to silence him.

"Our job was to kill criminals like drug pushers, rapists, snatchers. These are the kind we killed every day," Matobato said. But he said their targets were not only criminals but also opponents of Duterte and one of his sons, Paolo Duterte, who is now the vice mayor of Davao.

Presidential spokesman Martin Andanar rejected the allegations, saying government investigations into Duterte's time as mayor of Davao had already gone nowhere because of a lack of evidence and witnesses.

Philippine human rights officials and advocates have previously said potential witnesses refused to testify against Duterte when he was still mayor out of fear of being killed.

There was no immediate reaction from Duterte. Another Duterte spokesman, Ernesto Abella, said at a news conference that while Matobato "may sound credible, it is imperative that each and every one of us properly weigh whatever he said and respond right."

Matobato said the victims in Davao allegedly ranged from petty criminals to a wealthy businessman from central Cebu province who was killed in 2014 in his office in Davao city, allegedly because of a feud with Paolo Duterte over a woman. The president's son said the allegations were without proof and "are mere hearsay," telling reporters he would "not dignify the accusations of a mad man."

Other victims were a suspected foreign militant whom Matobato said he strangled, then chopped into pieces and buried in a quarry in 2002. Another was a radio commentator, Jun Pala, who was critical of Duterte and was killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen while walking home in 2003.

After a 1993 bombing of a Roman Catholic cathedral in Davao city, Matobato said Duterte ordered him and his colleagues to launch attacks on mosques in an apparent retaliation. He testified he hurled a grenade at one mosque but there were no casualties because the attacks were carried out when no one was praying.

Matobato said some of the squad's victims were shot and dumped on Davao streets or buried in three secret pits, while others were disposed of at sea with their stomachs cut open and their bodies tied to concrete blocks.

"They were killed like chickens," said Matobato, who added he that backed away from the killings after feeling guilty and entered a government witness-protection program.

He left the protection program when Duterte became president, fearing he would be killed, and said he decided to surface now "so the killings will stop."

Matobato's testimony set off a tense exchange between pro-Duterte and opposition senators.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano accused Matobato of being part of a plot to unseat Duterte. "I'm testing to see if you were brought here to bring down this government," he said.

De Lima eventually declared Cayetano "out of order" and ordered Senate security personnel to restrain him.
Another senator, former national police chief Panfilo Lacson, warned Matobato that his admissions that he was involved in killings could land him in jail.

"You can be jailed with your revelations," Lacson said. "You have no immunity."

Duterte has immunity from lawsuits as a president, but de Lima said that principle may have to be revisited now. "What if a leader is elected and turns out to be a mass murderer?" de Lima asked in a news conference after the tense Senate hearing.

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