19 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective



Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof ‘wanted to ignite civil war’

Roommate says 21-year-old had been ‘planning something like that for six months’ after massacre that killed nine black churchgoers in South Carolina

Interactive: what happened at the Charleston church shooting?

Police lead suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21, into the courthouse in Shelby, North Carolina, June 18, 2015.

Police lead suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21, into the courthouse in Shelby, North Carolina. Photograph: Jason Miczek/Reuters

The 21-year-old accused of killing nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, had been “planning something like that for six months”, his roommate has revealed, as friends recalled Dylann Roof’s tirades against African Americans “taking over the world” and his desire to ignite “a civil war”.

The killings have sent shockwaves across the US, as the nation confronts a breaking point over race and gun violence following yet another mass shooting. Hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects outside the Emanuel AME Church – the scene of the shooting – on Thursday evening, with more prayer services held throughout Charleston.

A day after the massacre – labelled a “hate crime” by South Carolina police – a portrait of Roof as an apparently committed racist is building from interviews with associates of the young man, shown in Facebook photos wearing a jacket bearing the flags of the former white-racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia.

Joseph Meek Jr, a childhood friend who saw Roof the morning of the shooting, said the pair had never discussed race growing up. But when they recently reconnected, Roof told him “blacks were taking over the world [and] someone needed to do something about it for the white race”, he told the Associated Press.

“He said he wanted segregation between whites and blacks. I said, ‘That’s not the way it should be.’ But he kept talking about it.”

Meek said that when he woke up on Wednesday morning Roof was at his house, sleeping in his car outside – its license plate bearing the Confederate flag.

Later that day, Meek said he and some friends had gone to a nearby lake but Roof stayed behind, deciding he’d rather see a movie. The next time he saw Roof was in surveillance-camera photos distributed by police in the aftermath of the killing. “I knew it was him,” Meek said…………………….



US Catholics ready to follow Pope’s ‘marching orders’ on climate change

Religious leaders say pontiff’s call for action brings urgency to existing support for environmental measures in Obama administrations’s climate plan

Pope Francis: environmental activists

Environmental activists prepare to listen to speeches inside a Roman Catholic church to coincide with Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change on Thursday. Photograph: Bullit Marquez/AP

Leaders of the Catholic church in America took their “marching orders” from the pope’s encyclical on Thursday, fanning out to Congress and the White House to push for action on climate change.

The high-level meetings offered a first glimpse of a vast and highly organised effort by the leadership of America’s nearly 80 million Catholics to turn the pope’s moral call for action into reality.

“It is our marching orders for advocacy,” Joseph Kurtz, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archbishop of Louisville, said. “It really brings about a new urgency for us.”

Representatives of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said they would hold two briefings for members of Congress on Thursday and visit the White House on Friday to promote and explain the pope’s environmental message.

Those efforts will get a new injection of urgency, when the pope delivers a much-anticipated address to Congress during his visit to the US in September, church leaders said.

Church leaders rejected the accusations from some conservatives – including the Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush – that the pope had trespassed into the political realm.

Within the US, the pope’s call for climate action brought an outpouring of support from religious leaders, environmental, social justice and public health groups, scientists, and Democrats.

Religious leaders said the message from an extremely popular Pope Francis would add new urgency to the church’s existing support for a number of environmental measures in Barack Obama’s climate plan – including the new rules limiting carbon pollution from power plants, due to be finalised this summer.

“I believe this is potentially the game changer we have all been waiting for,” said the Reverend Canon Sally Bingham, founder of Interfaith Power & Light, which campaigns for action on climate change. “I really think it will change enough minds to get the critical mass we need to get our house in order and cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

The advocacy group,, said the pope’s message hit close to home for Latinos in the US and elsewhere, who often live in poor and heavily polluted neighbourhoods.

The pope’s message also resonated strongly among activist priests and nuns, who have lobbied oil companies and called on their own parishes to divest. The encyclical puts the Vatican’s stamp of approval on years of effort, often at the side lines, and that on its own had galvanised campaigners, said Sister Joan Brown, a Franciscan in New Mexico who has worked on climate change for more than 20 years…………………..

Thousands of tiny red tuna crabs wash up on California beaches – video

Thousands of tiny red tuna crabs wash up on Dana Point beach in southern California on Thursday due to warmer ocean currents. Hundreds of thousands of the dead animals have been spotted on several beaches along the southern coastline, from San Diego to Orange County, as warm ocean currents carry them farther north and closer to shore than usual. The plankton-eating crabs are 2.5-7.6cm long and resemble tiny lobsters. Their scientific name is Pleuroncodes planipes

‘If you do that in another country, you’d be in jail tonight,’ Republican candidate responds as conservative crowd boos protesters

Marco Rubio

‘In the United States you can speak freely. They have a right to be rude and they have a right to be wrong. We live in a free society,’ he said on Thursday. Photograph: ddp USA/Rex Shutterstock

The Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio was interrupted by immigration activists during a speech at a conservative gathering in Washington on Thursday.

Rubio was in the midst of making a pitch for why he should be elected president at the annual Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference when two men, who identified themselves as undocumented immigrants, stood up and heckled the Florida senator.

“Why do you keep supporting the deportation of families?” one of the protesters yelled.

Both men then launched into chants of “Implement Dapa! Protect Daca!”, referring to the executive orders signed by Barack Obama in 2014 and 2012 that grant deportation relief to some undocumented migrants brought to the United States as children and their parents.

The crowd, made up primarily of social conservatives, began to boo the protesters as they were escorted out by security. They could still be heard for a few minutes chanting outside the ballroom where Rubio’s speech was being held, but the first-term senator was unfazed by the disruption.

Rubio, a candidate whose message is built in large part on his experience as the son of immigrants, pointed out that his parents came to America from Cuba – where such action would not be tolerated.

“If you do that in another country, you’d be in jail tonight,” Rubio said, drawing applause from the audience. “In the United States you can speak freely. They have a right to be rude and they have a right to be wrong. We live in a free society.”……………..


European Central Bank is deciding now whether to extend more emergency liquidity to avert Greek bank run

People make transactions at an ATM machine at a Piraeus Bank branch in Athens today.

People make transactions at an ATM machine at a Piraeus Bank branch in Athens today. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

 Here’s the latest Greek odds from UK bookmaker Paddy Power:

  • 4/5: Greece to adopt an official currency other than the Euro by the end of 2017

  • 6/5: European Commission to confirm that Greece has ‘defaulted’ on debt in 2015

  • 9/4: Greece to hold another general election in 2015

  • 2/1: Greece to exit the Eurozone this year


Other News & Analysis



In America, you can be subjected to white supremacy for driving while black, walking while black, swimming while black and now praying while black

charleston prayer circle

Lisa Doctor joins a prayer circle down the street from Emanuel AME Church following a shooting onWednesday night in Charleston, South Carolina Photograph: David Goldman/AP

We are so often told that if we didn’t just didn’t break the law in the first place, or resist arrest, or walk around with our spines upright and our spirits joyful that we would not face broken spines and the murder of both body and soul. But the list of things black Americans cannot do without the fear of being murdered grows week by week and day by day – and it is gathering up increasingly passive and pacifist activities. The doing-while-black factor (“Driving While Black” from New Jersey to Ferguson, “Walking While Black” in Florida, “Swimming While Black” in Texas) now must also include “Praying While Black” in church.

Not that the nine people who were allegedly killed by a white, male American terrorist are the first African Americans to give their bodies and their lives for Praying While Black: in 1963, the bombing of the 16h Street Baptist Church in nearby Birmingham, Alabama took the lives of four little black girls and injured a fifth girl, Sarah Collins Rudolph. All of them had gone to church to give thanks to the Lord, and four of them lost their lives to a racist killer.

Rudolph – who is still alive but lost an eye in the bombing, is losing vision in her remaining eye, can no longer work, struggles to remain insured and has never received any help from the government – is not a victim of America’s racist past. She continues to be a victim of America’s present, willful desire to ignore our ongoing racism and our collective desire to want reminders of that racist violence kept out of sight and out of mind………………………..

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