Top news stories for today – June 13, 2016
Florida Orlando shooting left 50 deaths
ISIS claims Orlando shooting: The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the murder of 50 people and wounding of 53 others at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning. “The armed attack that targeted a gay night club in the city of Orlando in the American state of Florida which left over 100 people dead or injured was carried out by an Islamic State fighter,” ISIS’s Amaq news agency said Sunday. The Week
Obama on Orelando shooting: On his 15th time he has had to address the American people after a mass shooting during his tenure in office, Obama said the massacre “marks the most deadly shooting in American history.” He said he was briefed at the White House by FBI Director James Comey and added: “Although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate.” The president said “no act of terror or hate can change who we are,” but he added that the mass shooting is a “sobering reminder” that an attack on any American is an attack on all of us. VOA
Father of Orlando shooter: The father of Omar Saddiqui Mateen, the man identified as the shooter in the Orlando nightclub massacre, is a self-proclaimed revolutionary president of Afghanistan. Seddique Mateen, who lives in Florida, has been addressing the Afghan people through video messages on his Facebook account. He has appointed a “cabinet” for his revolutionary government and has been issuing “orders” and “policy” related statements via his Facebook page. VOA
US Muslims condemn Orlando shooter: Muslims across America showed an outpouring of support for victims after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history left at least 50 people dead in an Orlando, Florida, nightclub. VOA
Mental illness not a factor in most US gun violence
After a shooting in the US, people stop to honor the victims at the spot where they died. Some leave balloons. Others leave flowers. Some shed tears. The tragedy rivets the nation. And then come the calls to strengthen laws to prevent people with mental illness from gaining access to guns.
When Obama appeared on a CNN program on gun control in January, a sheriff mentioned that the “real problem” in stopping gun violence is getting criminals and “those with mental illness to follow the laws.” US leaders link mental illness with shooting deaths. Obama proposed $500 million to expand mental health treatment in an effort to curb mass shootings and gun violence.
But research shows that people with mental illness, including those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression, are not more likely to pick up a gun and kill others than the ordinary person. Experts agree that the causes of gun violence are understudied and that the subject should be investigated as a public health threat so gun deaths can be prevented, or at least reduced. VOA
Dutch woman convicted after being raped in Qatar
A Qatari court on Monday handed down a one-year suspended sentence for adultery to a Dutch woman that was drugged and raped in an upscale Doha night club. The 22-year-old woman, identified only as Laura, was on vacation at the time of the March 14 incident. When she reported it to Qatari police, she was arrested and had been jailed since then.
In addition to the one-year suspended sentence, the court fined Laura $800. As soon as she pays the fine, she will be deported from the country. The woman’s attacker, identified as Omar Abdullah al-Hasan, was convicted of having sex outside of marriage, which is illegal in Qatar. He was given a sentence of 100 lashes for adultery and another 40 lashes for drinking alcohol. VOA
US leads World in weapons exports
The United States continues to hold the title of the world’s top weapons exporter, supplying almost $23 billion worth of weapons to other countries last year — particularly in the Middle East — according to a new report by the leading global source of such information.
The consulting firm IHS Jane’s released its annual Global Defense Trade Report Sunday, showing the global defense market rose by $6.6 billion in 2015, up to a total of $65 billion. U.S. exports of nearly $23 billion represent an increase of $10 billion since the 2009 report. “The global defense trade market has never seen an increase as large as the one we saw between 2014 and 2015,” said Ben Moores, senior analyst at IHS. “2015 was a record-breaking year.”
French arms sales more than doubled in 2015 from the year before, rising from $8 billion to $18 billion. If that rate continues, the report said, France will overtake Russia as the second largest defense exporter by 2018. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates alone accounted for more than half of the weapons purchases in the Middle East — around 17.5 percent of all global defense imports — at $11.4 billion. VOA
US Presidential election
Sanders to Meet with Clinton before last contest: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who waged a months-long battle with Hillary Clinton, says he will meet with her after the last party primary Tuesday in Washington to discuss their political agendas before deciding whether to drop out of the race. Sanders signaled last week that his campaign was nearing its end, but declined to quit the race until after voters in the heavily Democratic national capital have a chance to vote Tuesday, the last party election in the state-by-state nominating contests that started in February. VOA
Trump, Clinton and Sanders on Orlando shooting: Donald Trump said “In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam,’ ” Trump said in a statement.” For that reason alone, he should step down. If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words ‘Radical Islam’ she should get out of this race for the presidency.”
Clinton said the country needs to “redouble our efforts to defend our country from threats at home and abroad.” “That means defeating international terror groups, working with allies and partners to go after them wherever they are, countering their attempts to recruit people here and everywhere, and hardening our defenses at home,” she said. “It also means refusing to be intimidated and staying true to our values.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders called the shooting “horrific” and “unthinkable. We should not be selling automatic weapons which are designed to kill people,” Sanders said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “We have got to do everything that we can on top of that to make sure that guns do not fall into the hands of people who should not have them, criminals, people who are mentally ill. So that struggle continues.” USA Today
Obama postpone Wisconsin campaign appearance: Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign announced Sunday that she was postponing an upcoming campaign appearance with President Obama in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando. Obama had been scheduled to attend a campaign rally with Clinton on Wednesday in Green Bay, Wis. Obama announced Thursday that he was endorsing Clinton to be his successor. USA Today
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