Top news stories for today – June 20, 2016
Record of calls with Orlando shooter to release
“They will talk about what he told law enforcement on the ground as the events were unfolding,” Lynch explained, including Mateen’s “pledges of allegiance to a terrorist group” and his critique of American policy. The full transcripts will be withheld for the sake of the massacre’s survivors. CNN, The Week
Deadly heat wave hits US Southwest
Temperatures in the Southwestern US hit record-setting highs over the weekend, killing four in Arizona and fueling wildfires. An estimated 30 million people are currently under heat advisories, and parts of California, Arizona, and Nevada are facing “‘red flag warnings’ for extreme fire conditions,” Reuters reports.
There are already three large wildfires burning in the region. The heat wave is expected to stick around until at least Tuesday. In California, New Mexico, and Arizona, Monday will mark the hottest first day of summer ever recorded. In the Southwestern desert, temperatures could rise to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Reuters, CNN, The Week
US Senate to vote for gun control
Republicans, too, are showing some movement. With the support of the National Rifle Association, they’ve proposed an amendment that would allow law enforcement to block a firearm sale for national security reasons in narrow circumstances. The proposals scheduled for a vote Monday — all as amendments to a Justice Department spending bill — include: USA Today
S Korea warns of IS threat against US Bases
South Korea is taking increased security measures to prevent a potential attack from the Islamic State (IS), after the country’s intelligence agency warned that the terrorist group may be targeting both U.S. military installations and civilians on the Korean peninsula.
The South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS) Sunday said that IS released a list of potential terrorist targets that include the locations of 77 Air Force installations belonging to the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 21 countries, and also important individuals associated with them.
Four of the military installations on the list of IS targets are in South Korea. The NIS reported the list included detailed geographical coordinates and satellite images from Google Maps of U.S. Air Force bases in Osan, in Gyeonggi and Gunsan in North Jeolla. VOA
Obamas visits Yosemite
President Barack Obama stressed his administration’s efforts to improve the environment during a visit to Yosemite National Park Saturday, but said much more needs to be done to safeguard the natural beauty of such preserves.
The president, first lady Michele Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, drove through dense forest on steep mountain roads, enjoying breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks and lush valleys in the first park land set aside, in 1864, just for preservation and public use by an act of the U.S. government. The area was originally ceded to California as a state park but became a national park in 1890.
Obama said park rangers explained that Yosemite is already experiencing the effects of climate change: meadows are drying out, bird migrations are shifting elsewhere and higher temperatures are sending some animals to higher elevations. VOA
US Presidential election
Trump calls for racial profiling following Orlando shooting: Donald Trump said on Sunday the U.S. needs to consider racial profiling as a preventative measure against terrorist attacks. “Well, I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” he said on Face the Nation. “Other countries do it, you look at Israel and you look at others, they do it and they do it successfully. And I hate the concept of profiling but we have to start using common sense and we have to use our heads. It’s not the worst thing to do.” To stop attacks like the massacre in Orlando from happening, Trump believes people need to report anything they view as suspicious about their friends, relatives, and neighbors. Trump also said he’s working with the NRA to develop a policy that would ban those on the no-fly list from purchasing guns, adding, “The NRA has the best interests of our country, it just has the absolute best interests of our country.” CBS News
Trump says I’ll win without Republican Party if necessary: Donald Trump says “it would be nice” if the Republican Party gets behind his presidential candidacy, but the self-described “different kind of candidate” is prepared to go it alone if necessary. “I think that I win either way,” Trump told NBC’s Meet The Press in an interview that aired Sunday. “I can win one way or the other.” As a rising number of Republican lawmakers announced they would not support Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee sent mixed messages during his nationwide fundraising tour last week. USA Today
Trump suggests ‘profiling’ of Muslims as response to terrorism: Donald Trump, who has proposed a moratorium on Muslim immigration into the United States and possible surveillance of mosques, is now talking about “profiling” Muslims as a response to terrorism. Profiling is an oft-criticized law enforcement tactic. The National Institute of Justice — the research and development of the Justice Department — defined racial profiling as a “practice that targets people for suspicion of crime based on their race, ethnicity, religion or national origin.” African-Americans and Hispanics have long protested police profiling that ranges from traffic stops to questioning about alleged crimes. USA Today
Ken Burns on Trump speech: Filmmaker Ken Burns gave a blistering attack on Donald Trump during Stanford’s commencement speech last Sunday. In an interview with USA TODAY this week, he said it was his “responsibility as a citizen to say that.” Burns, who has produced award-winning documentaries — told USA TODAY that he’s attempted to stay neutral for his entire professional life, but this time he had to speak out.
In the speech Sunday, Burns said Trump had “dictatorial tendencies of the candidate with zero experience” and a “terrifying Orwellian statesman.” “For 216 years our elections — though bitterly contested — had featured the philosophies and characters who were clearly qualified that is not the case this year,” Burns said during his speech. He added that Trump was “glaringly not qualified.” “Before you do anything with your well-earned degree. You must do everything you can to defeat the retrograde forces that have invaded our democratic process,” Burns added. VOA
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