Top news stories for today – August 15, 2016
20,000 evacuated 5 dead in Louisiana flood
In southern Louisiana, at least 20,000 people have been evacuated amid what Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) calls “unprecedented” and “historic” flooding that followed up to 24 inches of rain in 48 hours. That evacuation number includes Edwards, whose family had to leave the governor’s mansion after flooding in the basement knocked out electricity.
More than 10,000 people are in shelters, including the Baton Rouge River Center, and the federal government has declared the region a major disaster area. The death toll from the floods stands at five. Earlier Sunday, Louisiana authorities successfully airlifted some 1,500 motorists from an isolated section of I-12, and more than 1,000 National Guard troops are helping evacuate people in boats, helicopters, and high-water vehicles. The Associated Press, The Week
Milwaukee protest intensify
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Sunday activated National Guard troops to help restore order in Milwaukee, where violent protests erupted Saturday night after police fatally shot an African-American man fleeing a traffic stop.
Police said the man, identified as Sylville Smith, was carrying a handgun, and was shot after turning toward the officer. Police Chief Edward Flynn declined to immediately identify the officer who shot Smith, other than to say that the officer was African-American. One person was shot and an officer was injured Sunday in a second night of protests. CBS News, The Associated Press
Reward offered in shooting of NYC Imam
A Muslim advocacy group is offering a $10,000 reward to help solve the killings of a Muslim cleric and an associate in New York. The 55-year-old Imam Maulama Akonjee and 64-year-old Thara Uddin were shot at close range on a city street as they left afternoon prayers Saturday.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it would make a formal announcement Monday about the reward. “We hope the offer of a reward will lead to the arrest and conviction of the individual who perpetrated this heinous crime,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Once an arrest is made, we expect that the motive of the shooter can be determined.”
Police have released a sketch of the gunman showing a dark-haired, bearded man wearing glasses. They did not give any information about a possible motive. VOA
Brexit surprises include tourism boom
Contrary to predictions, nations largely those of the British Commonwealth in Africa and the Pacific – have lined up to sign trade agreements with Britain, and economists predict a trade deal with the European Union could be in place within two years. At the same time, London is seeing a tourist boom due to the pound’s drop after Brexit. VOA
Latest from Rio Olympic
The US Olympics Committee says four US swimmers, including gold medalist Ryan Lochte, were robbed at gunpoint in Rio early Sunday. The robbery occurred when Lochte and teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen, were headed to the Olympic Village and the taxi they were in was stopped by a group of people posing as armed police, said USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky. The attackers demanded the swimmers hand over their money and belongings. When Lochte refused to get on the ground, one of the robbers held a gun to his head, the swimmer told NBC News. He complied, handing over his wallet. Sandusky said all four athletes are now “safe and cooperating with the authorities.” The New York Times, USOC, The Week
Usain Bolt made history on Sunday by becoming the first person to win the gold medal in the 100-meter dash at three straight Olympics. The superstar Jamaican sprinter reclaimed his title as the world’s fastest human with a time of 9.81 seconds. Bolt got off to a slow start and overtook Justin Gatlin of the US in the last 40 meters. Gatlin, who once served a suspension for doping and was booed before the race, won silver in 9.89 seconds, and Andre De Grasse of Canada took the bronze in 9.91 seconds. Bolt also is favored to win his third consecutive gold in the 200 meters, and another in the 4×100 relay. The New York Times
US Presidential election
Donald Trump to outline ISIS policy, Muslim ban in Monday speech: In Ohio on Monday, Donald Trump will give a speech on foreign policy and especially his strategy to defeat the Islamic State, according to advisers. Trump’s vision will be grounded in “foreign policy realism,” senior adviser Stephen Miller said Sunday, painting the battle against “radical Islamic terrorism” as being as serious as the Cold War, with Trump willing to work with any Middle Eastern country willing to join the fight against ISIS. Trump is also expected to expand on his proposal to keep Islamist terrorists out of the US, tightening his original proposal to ban all Muslims but adding an ideological “test” for people wanting to enter the country, seeking to admit only those who support American values such as tolerance and pluralism. CNN, The Associated Press
Ukraine officials designated millions in cash for Manafort: Hillary Clinton’s campaign slammed Donald Trump for “troubling connections” to Russia after The New York Times published a report late Sunday alleging that millions in cash payments were designated for Paul Manafort by Ukrainian leaders during his time as a political consultant there. In a statement released Sunday evening, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said, “On the eve of what the Trump campaign has billed as a major foreign policy speech, we have learned of more troubling connections between Donald Trump’s team and pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine.” He continued, “Given the pro-Putin policy stances adopted by Donald Trump and the recent Russian government hacking and disclosure of Democratic Party records, Donald Trump has a responsibility to disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort’s and all other campaign employees’ and advisers’ ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities, including whether any of Trump’s employees or advisers are currently representing and or being paid by them.” CNN
Former Bush official supporting Clinton: Trump could be economic ‘disaster’: Former Bush administration official Carlos Gutierrez says he will be voting for Hillary Clinton, calling Donald Trump’s economic policies a “disaster.” He said “I have one resume here for Donald Trump, I have one resume here for Hillary Clinton, and I’ve chosen this resume,” Gutierrez said, indicating Clinton. “I think this person, Hillary Clinton, is the best for the country. I’m not thinking about (it as) a Republican, I’m thinking about (it as) a US citizen. I think at some point, you have to put the party aside and say what’s best for the country? I don’t want to live in a society that I think Donald Trump will create.” CNN
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