Top news stories for today – June 14, 2016
Orlando gunman used gay dating app
Regulars at Pulse nightclub say Omar Mateen, the man who killed 49 people inside the gay club early Sunday morning, visited the venue multiple times before the shooting. Ty Smith told the Orlando Sentinel that “sometimes” Mateen would “go over in a corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent.”
Another man, Kevin West, told the Los Angeles Times he dropped a friend off at Pulse moments before the shooting, and saw Mateen crossing the street toward the club. He recognized him as the man he had been messaging on and off for a year on the gay dating app Jack’d, but did not know his name.
Separately, a former police academy classmate told the Palm Beach Post that Mateen once asked him out, and while they “went to a few gay bars” together, the classmate was “not out at the time, so I declined his offer.” He believed Mateen was gay but not open about it. Orlando Sentinel, Los Angeles Times, The Week
How did Orlando shooter get guns
The answer: He did so legally, from a gun shop called the St Lucie Shooting Center. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Omar Mateen bought a 9mm semiautomatic handgun and a .223 caliber AR rifle in Florida, within the last ten days, and within the bounds of state and federal laws.
Under local law, he could have left the store with the rifle the same day – for the handgun, he would have needed to wait 72 hours. The FBI investigated Mateen twice for potential ties to terrorism – neither incident resulted in charges, and after the investigations were closed, Mateen’s name was removed from a terror watch list.
But even if he had remained on the FBI’s list, that would not have necessarily prevented him from purchasing the weapons he used in Sunday’s attack. A federal law that would “deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licences to known or suspected dangerous terrorists” failed in the US Senate in December 2015. BBC
French police murder is terrorism
The murder of two police officials by a man claiming allegiance to so-called Islamic State (IS) is “unquestionably a terrorist act”, President Francois Hollande says. A police commander was stabbed to death before his partner – also a police employee – and a child were taken hostage in their home near Paris.
The partner was later found dead but the three-year-old boy survived. The attacker had spent time in jail over links to jihadist groups. He had been under recent police surveillance, including a wiretap, say media reports quoting police sources. Two people linked to the man, named by French sources as Larossi Abballa, have been arrested and placed in custody. BBC
UN rights chief urges tighter US gun controls
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein is urging the United States to adopt stricter gun control measures, saying easy access to weapons “leaves little space between murderous impulses and actions that result in death.”
In a statement Tuesday, Zeid criticized what he called “irresponsible pro-gun propaganda” and questioned how many more mass shootings the country must experience before lawmakers take action.
“Society — in particular its most vulnerable communities and minorities who are already facing widespread prejudice — pay a high price for the failure to stand up to the lobbyists and take the necessary measures to protect citizens from gun violence,” Zeid said. VOA
Thousands of civilian flee Fallujah
Thousands of refugees are pouring out of Fallujah through a safe exit corridor secured by the Iraqi army as the fight to retake the city from Islamic State extremists rage into its third week. According to Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, 3,300 people fled Monday, joining another 4,000 who escaped during the weekend.
Thousands more are expected to make the journey in the coming days, overwhelming humanitarian efforts to help them. Most of the civilians fleeing the fighting are going into 27 camps housing displaced people from other parts of Iraq’s Anbar province.
“The problem is, the camps are full,” Grande said. VOA
Heavy fighting between Ethiopia – Eritrea
The Eritrean Ministry of Information issued a statement Sunday accusing the Ethiopian government of launching a military attack against the country. Ethiopia denies initiating the attack, accusing Eritrean forces of prompting a counterattack by Ethiopia.
The brief statement from the Eritrean Ministry of Information said the attacks occurred on the Tsorona Central Front. Tsorona is a village located near the border, a little over 35 kilometers from Adigrat, an Ethiopian town in the Tigray region.
Ethiopian Communications Minister Getachew Reda said Eritrean forces from around the Tsorona region made unusual, aggressive movements, eliciting a response from the Ethiopian side. He denied it was a significant battle.
US Presidential election
Clinton and Sanders will meet tonight after Washington, DC, primary: The Democratic presidential primary formally wraps up Tuesday with a final contest in Washington, D.C., and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and top rival Sen. Bernie Sanders are capping off the primary with a private meeting Tuesday night. On Monday, the Clinton campaign said Clinton “looks forward to the opportunity to discuss how they can advance their shared commitment to a progressive agenda, and work together to stop Donald Trump in the general election.” On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Sanders said, “I simply want to get a sense of what kind of platform she will be supporting,” listing several positions he favors. He has no plans to endorse Clinton right away, Sanders suggested. The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Week
How Clinton and Trump react on Orlando shooting: Both Clinton and Trump adjusted their campaign schedules Monday to focus on the the massacre that killed 49 people and injured dozens more at a gay nightclub early Sunday morning.
Clinton’s speech focused on a call for unity and gun control, and she never once mentioned Trump’s name, even though she got in a few jabs clearly aimed at the real estate mogul. Meanwhile, Trump’s speech spent significant time hitting Clinton and Obama, and he even implied that Clinton was bad for the LGBT community because of her immigration policies.
During one of his morning interviews Monday, Trump even implied that Obama was somehow involved with the Orlando shooting. “He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands … it’s one or the other, and neither one is acceptable,” Trump said on Fox & Friends Monday morning about Obama. The White House didn’t take the bait. USA Today
Trump was accused of destroying email evidence in lawsuit: In 2006, when a judge ordered Donald Trump’s casino operation to hand over several years’ worth of emails, the answer surprised him: The Trump Organization routinely erased emails and had no records from 1996 to 2001. The defendants in a case that Trump brought said this amounted to destruction of evidence, a charge never resolved.
At that time, a Trump IT director testified that until 2001, executives in Trump Tower relied on personal email accounts using dial-up Internet services, despite the fact that Trump had launched a high-speed Internet provider in 1998 and announced he would wire his whole building with it. Another said Trump had no routine process for preserving emails before 2005. USA Today
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