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21 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

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World Politics

France

French defence minister resigns over inquiry into misuse of funds>>

Theresa May under pressure as DUP says: ‘Show some respect’>>

United States

Six bizarre moments we won’t let Sean Spicer forget – video report

Sean Spicer is said to be looking for another role in the Trump administration following an uneven tenure as press secretary. Since taking the position, Spicer has clashed with journalists over the Trump inauguration and even reportedly hidden in bushes outside the White House, leading to widespread ridicule ranging from Melissa McCarthy’s SNL impression to garden decorations

Republicans narrowly beat Democrats in Georgia’s special election – video>>

Georgia special election: Republican Karen Handel beats Jon Ossoff in runoff>>

Republicans say they will release draft of health bill amid pressure over secrecy>>

US broadens Russia sanctions as Ukraine president visits Trump>>

Wanted in China: Beijing courts Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner for visit>>

Ivanka Trump shoes slated for production at China factory despite brand’s denial>>

Philando Castile shooting: officer said he felt in danger after smelling pot in car

Castile posed a threat because he used drug in front of daughter, officer said

and in New York

 

Officer also failed to disclose that Castile said he wasn’t reaching for his gun

The Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile told state investigators that he believed his life was danger because he smelled marijuana in his car, according to transcripts released on Tuesday along with dash-camera footage.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez said in an interview following the fatal traffic stop that Castile’s apparent willingness to use the drug in front of his young daughter and girlfriend led Yanez to believe that the 32-year-old posed a serious threat.

“I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five-year-old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front-seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me?” he said.

The statement appeared in the transcript of Yanez’s questioning by investigators in July last year, in which the officer also failed to disclose that Castile had said out loud that he was “not reaching” for his handgun after being warned not to do so.

Dash-camera footage released along with the transcript clearly picks up Castile telling the officer “I do have a firearm on me”. He was licensed to carry the gun. The officer orders Castile not to reach for it and not to pull it out to which Castile replies: “I’m not pulling it out.”

The officer reaches his left arm into the vehicle, screaming, while he draws his weapon with his right hand and, all in one motion, fires seven bullets into the vehicle, killing Castile. Castile can be heard screaming as the shots ring out and says in agony “I wasn’t reaching” as the officer begins to yell “fuck” again and again.

Prosecutors in the case argued that Castile was merely trying to reach for his wallet so he could hand over the driver’s license Yanez had asked him to produce just seconds before the shooting.

This is also what Castile’s fiance Diamond Reynolds relayed in the Facebook Live video she began streaming just moments after the shots were fired, which went viral across the US.

Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter and other charges stemming from the shooting by a Minnesota jury on Friday.

He was fired by the St Anthony police department on Friday shortly after he was found not guilty.

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Fabian Urbina is first person to be killed by security forces during unrest

Supreme court announces charges against chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz

Venezuelans are bracing for a further escalation of violence after a 17-year-old protester was shot dead by the national guard, and the supreme court announced charges against the country’s attorney general – one of the most senior officials to speak out against the government of Nicolás Maduro.

Fabian Urbina died on Monday after security forces opened fire with handguns during clashes with demonstrators on a major highway in Caracas. Initial reports said six others were wounded – one of them critically – in the incident.

The interior minister, Nestor Reverol, confirmed Urbina’s death on Twitter, where he said the cause of death was presumed to be “excessive use of force” and added that those responsible would be “presented to their superiors to determine their responsibility”.

Video footage of the incident shows Urbina, wearing a beige hooded sweater, running alongside a group of young protesters carrying wooden shields and throwing stones at a line of national guardsmen.

One of the national guard members can be seen drawing what appears to be a 9mm pistol and shooting into the crowd. Another clip, filmed moments later, captures the moment when Urbina collapses to the ground.

Urbina’s cousin Clemedy Flores blamed the government for his death. “The impunity is too great. The government does what it pleases. I just want this to end,” she told the digital media outlet Caraota Digital.

“It’s always young kids. It’s just kids who say they want a free country,” she added while fighting back tears.

Venezuelan law prohibits the use of lethal weapons during street protests, but the country’s security forces have been accused of increasingly repressive measures during three months of political turmoil.

In 2015, a new law sought to modify existing legislation and allow for the use of “potentially lethal force” during street protests. After outrage from human rights groups, the attorney general promised to revise the decree, but no public statement has been made on the law since.

More than 70 people have died since protests first erupted in April, following the supreme court’s decision to strip powers from the opposition-led Congress. Violence has erupted nearly every day in clashes between the security forces and protestors hurling stones and petrol bombs.

The victims include members of the police and national guard, passersby, and demonstrators who have been struck by teargas canisters or targeted by government supporters, but Urbina is the first person to have been shot dead by security forces.

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Questions raised over why two police officers, who knew Charleena Lyles had mental health issues, used deadly force within minutes of arriving

Two Seattle police officers who shot and killed a pregnant woman inside her apartment had been trained to deal with people showing signs of mental illness or other behavior crises.

Officials also say the officers had at least one less-lethal way to handle the woman, who they knew had a previous volatile encounter with law enforcement and had been having mental health issues.

Still, within minutes of arriving Sunday to take a burglary report, the officers drew their guns and shot 30-year-old Charleena Lyles with three of her four children inside her apartment.

Authorities say Lyles confronted the officers with two kitchen knives – less than two weeks after she had threatened officers with long metal shears when they responded to a domestic disturbance at her home.

Family members say they want to know what happened Sunday and why police did not use a non-lethal option when they knew Lyles had been struggling with her mental health.

Police and the mayor say the shooting will be investigated.

The killing occurred as Seattle police are under federal oversight following a 2011 investigation that found officers were too quick to use force.

All Seattle officers now receive training on how to better handle those with mental illness or abusing drugs. One of the officers who shot Lyles had been certified as a crisis intervention specialist.

Detective Patrick Michaud said Seattle officers are required to carry a less-lethal option to subdue suspects and have a choice between a Taser, baton or pepper spray.

He said the officers who killed Lyles did not have a Taser and he was unsure which option they had at the time.

Near the beginning of a roughly four-minute police audio recording of the incident and before they reached the apartment, the officers discussed an “officer safety caution” about the address involving the previous law enforcement interaction.

The officers talked about the woman previously having large metal shears, trying to prevent officers from leaving her apartment and making “weird statements” about her and her daughter turning into wolves.

Seattle municipal court records show that Lyles was arrested on 5 June and booked into King County jail. She pleaded not guilty to two counts of harassment and obstructing a police officer.

She was released from jail on 14 June on the condition that she check in twice a week with a case manager and possess no weapons.

The audio recording and transcripts released by police indicates that the officers had spent about two minutes calmly speaking with Lyles before the situation escalated.

The transcript shows one officer yelling “get back!” repeatedly and Lyles saying “Get ready, (expletive)”.

An officer said “we need help” and reported “a woman with two knives”. He urged his partner to use a stun gun but that officer responded: “I don’t have a Taser.”

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