Top News Stories for Today

Top news stories for today – July 6, 2016


UK report says Iraq war was badly wrong

UK report says Iraq war badly wrongThe head of an inquiry into Britain’s role in the Iraq War said Wednesday the conflict was “an intervention that went badly wrong with consequences to this day.”

Former civil servant John Chilcot spoke as his panel released a long-awaited report that drew on several years of public hearings and analysis of 150,000 documents.  They were trying to answer whether the US led invasion was necessary and whether the unrest that followed should have been anticipated. “Military action in Iraq might have been necessary at some point, but in March 2003 there was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein,” Chilcot said.

He said the decision to go to war was made before the international community had exhausted opportunities to contain and disarm Iraq and that judgments about the extent of the threat from weapons of mass destruction were presented “with a certainty that was not justified.” No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. Some of the families of British service personnel who lost their lives in the Iraq War say they feel their loved ones died in vain, following a damning official report into Britain’s role in the conflict. CNN, VOA



Protests erupt in Baton Rouge over police shooting

Protests erupt in Baton Rouge over police shootingProtesters gathered in Baton Rouge, La., on Tuesday night after a black man was fatally shot in an encounter with police officers earlier in the day, an incident that was captured in a graphic cellphone video that began circulating widely on social media.

Alton Sterling, 37, was killed in a shooting shortly after midnight Tuesday, the Baton Rouge police said in a statement. The police had received a call from someone who reported having been threatened by an armed man selling CDs outside a store in the eastern part of the city, the statement said.

William (Beau) Clark, the coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish, said that Mr. Sterling had died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back. A cellphone video shot by a bystander shows Mr. Sterling being tackled to the ground by a police officer. He is then held to the ground by two officers, and one of the officers appears to hold a gun above Mr. Sterling’s chest. The New York Times



Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 6 years

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 6 years

On Wednesday, a judge sentenced South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius to six years in prison for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. While the prescribed minimum jail term for murder is 15 years, Judge Thokozile Masipa said she took into consideration “substantial and compelling reasons” to deviate from the recommendation, saying she believed Pistorius was remorseful.

She called him a “fallen hero” whose life would forever be changed due to his actions, and said that a longer sentence would not bring Steenkamp back. While the prosecution tried to paint Pistorius as prone to violence, the athlete has maintained he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot her four times through the bathroom door of his home. He was initially convicted of manslaughter, but that conviction was changed to murder when the prosecution appealed. The Guardian, The Sun



Messi sentenced to 21 months in prison

Messi sentenced to 21 months in prisonOn Wednesday, a Spanish court sentenced soccer star Lionel Messi to 21 months in prison for three counts of tax fraud. He is accused alongside his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, of avoiding taxation on more than 4 million euros between 2007 and 2009 by setting up tax havens in Uruguay and Belize.

During the trial, Lionel Messi said he wasn’t aware of what was happening with his finances. “I was playing football; I had no idea about anything. I trusted my dad and my lawyers,” he said. Both men will likely avoid jail time due to a Spanish regulation that says terms shorter than two years can be served through probation. But they also face fines of millions of euros. The Associated Press, The Independent, The Week



N Korea releases dam water into South

North Korean soldiersNorth Korea released water from a dam near its border with the South without warning early Wednesday morning, increasing fears of floods in areas already hit by heavy rainfall in recent days. Seoul has said it does not believe that Pyongyang would engage in a “flooding attack,” but monitors water levels at the Hwanggang Dam closely.

No major injuries or damages have been reported from Wednesday’s discharge, but South Korea has evacuated residents who live along the Imjin river. North Korea released water from the dam without warning in 2009, killing six South Koreans camping downstream. After that incident Pyongyang agreed to give notice before releasing water from the dam.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency says the North also opened the dam’s floodgates twice in May without warning. No injuries were reported in either incident. The North Korean dam is located about 42 kilometers north of the border and is believed to have a full capacity of about 300 million to 400 million tons. VOA

US Presidential election

FBI recommends no indictment in Clinton email case: FBI Director James Comey announced Tuesday that the FBI has concluded Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges for her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state. Comey said that while the FBI found “evidence of potential violations,” there was no evidence of “intentional misconduct”; as a result, Comey said it is the FBI’s judgment that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” The FBI’s investigation found that 110 messages sent via Clinton’s server were marked classified at the time of their initial creation, and eight emails contained top-secret information. The FBI will now hand the case over to the Department of Justice, which will decide whether to press charges; Attorney General Loretta Lynch has indicated she will follow the FBI’s recommendation. The New York Times, The Week

Donald Trump praises, criticizes Saddam Hussein during campaign rally: Donald Trump told a crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday that deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein wasn’t a good person, but had a knack for killing “terrorists.” “He was a bad guy — really bad guy,” Trump said. “But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. It was over. Today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism. You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq.” House Speaker Paul Ryan, who earlier in the day said Trump needs to “clean up” his social media posts, said during an interview on Fox News Hussein was “one of the 20th century’s most evil people.” Hillary Clinton’s senior campaign adviser, Jake Sullivan, also weighed in, saying, “Trump’s praise for brutal strongmen seemingly knows no bounds.” CNN, The Week

Trump says FBI decision on Clinton emails was rigged: Donald Trump moved quickly Tuesday to make a political issue out of the FBI’s recommendation against an indictment of Hillary Clinton, saying the former secretary of State is still guilty of sending classified information over a private email server but was protected by the political establishment. “We have a rigged system, folks,” Trump told backers at a rally in Raleigh, N.C., adding that the e-scandal reflected her “horrible” judgment. The rally in Raleigh — which took place just hours after Clinton and President Obama campaigned in Charlotte — followed a series of Trump tweets and statements condemning Clinton, despite the FBI recommendation. USA Today

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