Top news stories for today – June 21, 2016
Senate blocks 4 gun-related proposals
Senators voted 47-53 against a measure from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would have allowed the attorney general to block suspected terrorists from purchasing guns and explosives, and 53-47 for an alternate proposal from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) that would let officials hold a gun sale to a suspected terrorist for at least three days if a judge approved.
The Senate also rejected a Democratic-backed measure to require background checks for all gun sales or transfers, including at gun shows, 44-56, and for a GOP alternative that merely increased funding for federal background checks. Each vote was mostly along party lines. The Washington Post, The Week
Paralympian robbed in Rio
Australian Paralympic sailor Liesl Tesch and team official Sarah Ross were riding bikes outside their hotel when two men approached them. One pulled out a gun and pointed it at Tesch before stealing both womens’ bikes. Australian Olympic Committee Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller said this is “not an isolated incident.” The committee has called for a review of security levels, and for security to be present prior to the start of the Games in August. Time, BBC, The Week
Yemenis face dire food insecurity
A majority of Yemenis are facing severe food insecurity, according to a new joint assessment by the United Nations and partners. Fuel shortages and import restrictions have contributed to the food shortages in war-torn Yemen. The country imports nearly 90 percent of its food staples, and fuel imports in March satisfied only 12 percent of its needs.
The Yemeni government and Houthi rebels have been engaged in a sporadic civil war for many years, but airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition have dramatically increased death tolls and displacement numbers since they began in March 2015. At least 3,500 civilians have been killed since airstrikes began 15 months ago, and more than 2.5 million Yemenis have been internally displaced since 2010, according to the United Nations.
The Houthis are supported by former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Iran; they control much of the nation, including the capital Sana’a. VOA
IS rushes to indoctrinate children
Despite stinging military defeats and enormous financial strains, Islamic State (IS) is working to imprint a lasting legacy on children through increasing in-classroom training in areas it controls and an aggressive social media campaign.
In its self-proclaimed caliphate, IS is schooling thousands of children in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other places in radical, anti-Western thought and ways of terror, VOA has found in interviews with activists, local officials and analysts.
IS bombards the internet and social media with propaganda aimed at children and uses dozens of languages and a vast array of social media tools to spread its message. This goes to the heart of the IS mission, analysts say: to ensure IS’s radical message endures beyond the group itself.
In the long run, the IS indoctrination of children will likely have a chilling reverberation for years to come, experts say, way after IS has been removed from the cities it now controls. VOA
US Presidential election
Clinton’s huge money advantage over Trump: Donald Trump was considerably out-fundraised by opponent Hillary Clinton last month as he kicked off his general election campaign. Financial disclosure documents show Hillary Clinton raised $19.7 million in May, although her campaign said she had raised millions more through a joint effort with the Democratic National Committee — a separate venture that was not required to disclose its May totals by the same deadline. Clinton has $42 million in cash on hand. Trump’s fundraising efforts brought in $3.1 million in May, according to new financial disclosure reports, while the candidate loaned his own campaign $2.2 million. Trump has approximately $1.3 million in cash on hand. abc
Trump replaces campaign manager with top adviser: Just hours after he was fired from the Trump campaign Monday, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski denied any tension within Team Trump in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash. “Things change as a campaign evolves,” Lewandowski said, claiming he didn’t know why he was let go. Still, Lewandowski had nothing but kind words for Trump, who he said is “probably the best speaker our country has seen as a presidential candidate,” and he remained optimistic about the campaign, which he said will “continue to grow.” He also denied any “animosity” between himself and his replacement, top Trump adviser Paul Manafort. Lewandowski was reportedly dismissed at the urging of Trump’s adult children, particularly daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Mediaite
British man arrested at Trump rally said he wanted to kill candidate: A British man was arrested Saturday in Las Vegas for what the Secret Service says was an attempt to kill Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. A complaint filed Monday in federal court says Michael Steven Sandford drove across the country last week to attend a Trump rally at the Treasure Island Casino where he tried to grab a gun from the holster of a Las Vegas police officer who was providing security. He also said that if he were released from custody he would try again to kill Trump, and that if he had not acted in Las Vegas he had already made plans to try again at a rally in Arizona. VOA
In separate speeches Obama, Biden, Carter target Trump policies: President Barack Obama, his vice president and defense secretary took aim on Monday at policies of Donald Trump they said would alienate Muslims globally along with U.S. allies and neighbors. Biden said Trump’s calls to bar the entry of Muslims and to profile Muslim Americans reflected the politics of fear and intolerance. Obama, who last week assailed Trump for what he called a “dangerous” mindset and “loose talk and sloppiness” in defining the country’s enemies, on Monday criticized Trump’s anti-trade policies in a speech at a U.S. Commerce Department conference.
Defense secretary Carter said “Our allies around the world have stood with us – and fought with us – time and again, most recently in Iraq, Afghanistan, and against ISIL,” Carter did not mention Trump, who has called NATO “obsolete” and said he would consider letting Japan and South Korea develop their own nuclear weapons rather than relying on the United States for protection against North Korea and China. VOA
New poll shows Clinton maintain lead over Trump: Hillary Clinton now leads Donald Trump by 8 percentage points among likely voters and 7 points among registered voters, according to a new Monmouth University Poll. The poll finds the presumptive Democratic nominee leads Trump 49% to 41% among likely voters and 47% to 40% among registered voters. The Monmouth poll also indicates that neither the Democratic candidate nor the presumptive GOP nominee are very popular — Clinton has a 52% unfavorable rating in the poll, while Trump has a 57% unfavorable rating. USA Today
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