Top news stories for today – August 21, 2016
Judge refers prosecution for Arizona Sheriff
A US district judge ruled Friday that controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, along with several of his colleagues, should be charged with criminal contempt of court because they ignored court orders connected to a 2007 racial profiling case.
The judge argued that Arpaio for 18 months willfully violated court instructions to stop detaining drivers solely on suspicion of illegal immigration, and that one of his subordinates concealed almost 1,500 IDs confiscated during traffic stops from a department investigation into such confiscations. Arpaio has developed a national following for his aggressive immigration policing; critics say the lawman, who calls himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” engages in racial profiling and harassment. Fox News, Reuters
Philippines leader threatens to pull troops from UN
The Philippines’ brash-talking president threatened Sunday to withdraw his country from the United Nations and lashed out at US police killings of black men in his latest outburst against critics of his anti-drug campaign, which has left hundreds of suspects dead.
President Rodrigo Duterte pointed to the haunting image of a bloodied child being pulled from the rubble of a missile-struck building in the Syrian city of Aleppo to note the inability of the US and the U.N. to stop such deadly conflicts, complaining that he comes under fire for the killings of criminals.
The U.S. State Department and two U.N. human rights experts have urged Duterte and Filipino authorities to stop extrajudicial killings in the fight against illegal drugs and ensure law enforcement compliance with international human rights obligations. Philippine police say more than 500 drug suspects have been killed in gunbattles with police since Duterte was sworn in eight weeks ago. FOX
Turkey blame wedding attack on IS
So-called Islamic State is likely to have carried out a deadly bomb attack on a wedding in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said. The death toll in the attack in the southern city of Gaziantep has now risen to 50, the local governor’s office said, with almost 100 wounded.
A suspected suicide bomber targeted guests at a Kurdish wedding as they danced in the street. Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, is known to have several IS cells. The BBC’s Seref Isler, who is from Gaziantep, says the city of 1.5 million was already on edge because of events in Syria, where IS has been battling Syrian Kurdish forces. A suicide bomber believed to have links to IS killed two policemen in Gaziantep in May. BBC
US woman sentenced for smuggling jet engines to China
A woman in the western US state of California has been sentenced to 50 months in prison for “conspiring to export and cause the export of fighter jet engines, an unmanned aerial vehicle – commonly known as a drone – and related technical data to… China.” A US Justice Department statement says 45-year-old Wenxia Man, also known as Wency Man of San Diego was convicted of the crime on June 9.
Prosecutors say evidence shows that between March of 2011 and June of 2013, Man conspired with a contact in China named Zhang Xinsheng to send equipment that included engines used in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-22 Raptor fighter jet, the F-16 fighter jet, and the MQ-9 Reaper/Predator B Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
Man described Zhang as a “technology spy” who worked on behalf of the Chinese military to copy items obtained from other countries, and stated that he was particularly interested in stealth technology, according to the statement.
In May, the US defense department released a report on military and security developments involving China that said Beijing is using extensive cyber and human espionage to acquire foreign military technology. VOA
Lochte admits he ‘over-exaggerated’ Rio robbery story: US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has admitted he “let my team down” when he falsely claimed that he and three of his USA Swimming teammates were robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro last week. In an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer that aired Saturday night, Lochte said he was “taking full responsibility for” the furor that overshadowed the final week of the Summer Games. Initially, Lochte claimed that he, Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were robbed at gunpoint by theives posing as police officers early Sunday morning. Local authorities claimed that the swimmers had vandalized a gas station bathroom while intoxicated after attending a party with fellow athletes. “I over-exaggerated that story,” Lochte said. “If I had never done that, we wouldn’t be in this mess.” FOX
Brazil edges Germany on penalties to win Olympic men’s soccer gold: The five-time World Cup champion won the only championship it was still missing on Saturday, defeating Germany 5-4 in a penalty shootout and winning a soccer gold medal for the first time. The victory avenges the embarrassing 7-1 home loss to Germany’s senior team in the World Cup semifinals two years ago. Brazil was also coming off a demoralizing elimination in the group stage of this year’s Copa America. FOX
US women win Olympic basketball gold: Make it six Olympic gold medals in a row for the United States’ women’s basketball team. Team USA finished off a dominating performance at the Rio Summer Games Saturday, beating Spain in the championship match, 101-72. Heading into the final, the US women had been overpowering in Rio, winning their previous seven games by an average margin of about 40 points. The high-scoring game against Spain was the sixth time in their eight Olympic contests in Rio that they had scored more than 100 points. VOA
US Presidential election
Trump woos black voters, predicts 95 percent support in 2020: Donald Trump promised to overwhelmingly win the African-American vote in his hypothetical reelection campaign in 2020 while speaking at a rally Friday night. Black Americans are living as “refugees in their own country” thanks to rival Hillary Clinton’s policies, he argued, and should vote Trump because, “What the hell do you have to lose?” After four years in office, Trump added, “I guarantee you that I will get over 95 percent of the African-American vote. I promise you.” Trump made his remarks to a predominantly white audience at a Michigan town which is 93 percent white. He is currently losing to Clinton 91 percent to 1 percent among African Americans. Politico, CNN
New ethics rules would ravage Clinton Foundation donor base: Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton pledged Thursday that if she is elected president, her family’s foundation will stop accepting donations from corporations or foreign governments, citizens, or groups, a practice that has raised concern about unethical conduct during her tenure as secretary of state. But if she makes good on that pledge, more than half of the foundation’s high-dollar donors will no longer be able to contribute, according to a calculation from The Washington Post. Some 53 percent of donors who have given at least $1 million, including one member of the foundation’s board of directors, fall into one of the suspect categories. The Washington Post, CNN
Trump ‘regrets’ some barbs tossed during campaign: In a rare public confession Thursday, Republican presidential nominee Trump said he “regrets” some of the sharp-tongued and insulting rhetoric that has become his trademark during the campaign. “Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words … and believe it or not, I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain,” he told supporters in Charlotte, North Carolina. VOA
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