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21 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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Republicans and Democrats put forth four separate measures on background checks and terrorist watch lists, all which were voted down Monday night

The US Senate fails to pass four new gun control amendments tabled in the wake of the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, which left 49 people dead and many more wounded – making it the worst mass shooting in the country’s history. None of the measures manage to reach the 60-vote consensus needed to move to the next stage, with the Republican senator John Cornyn saying changes to gun laws would simply ‘treat the symptoms without fighting the disease’

The US Senate failed to advance new restrictions aimed at curtailing gun violence on Monday, as lawmakers voted down four separate measures just one week after a terrorist attack in Orlando marked the deadliest mass shooting in the nation’s history.

Democrats and Republicans had put forth competing amendments to both strengthen background checks and prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms. But all four bills fell short of the 60 votes needed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate, in a near replica of a vote held in December when a pair of shooters killed 14 people and wounded 22 more in San Bernardino, California.

The series of votes on Monday evening came in the aftermath of 12 June massacre at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which left 49 people dead and another 53 injured. Senate Democrats had secured the votes following a 15-hour filibuster last week demanding action against gun violence, a politically vexing issue that has yet to produce any major legislative breakthroughs in more than two decades……………..

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America’s gun problem is so much bigger than mass shootings

To save the most number of lives, it’s the everyday violence – not just the mass shootings – that we need to prevent

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gun control

A disturbed man with an AR-15-style rifle walked through a popular historic site in 1996, shooting up the cafe and gift shop. He left 35 people dead and 19 seriously injured.

The country’s conservative leader pushed through immediate, sweeping changes to gun laws. Chief among them was a ban and mandatory buyback of more than 600,0000 semiautomatic rifles and other long guns, which were then melted down. In all, one researcher estimates, the government ultimately destroyed about a million weapons – roughly one-third of its total gun stock.

That was in Australia, a country that has not had another large-casualty mass shooting since. Officials repeatedly ask: Why can’t America do the same?

“We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours – Great Britain, Australia,” Obama said last year after a mass shooting at a college in Oregon.

“Certainly the Australia example is worth looking at,” Hillary Clinton said that same month.

In an attack on America’s political inaction last week, comedian Samantha Bee asked why one city after another had to have its “turn” witnessing a mass shooting. In Australia, she said, “Parliament passed strict gun laws and they haven’t had a mass shooting since then.”

One reason America can’t emulate Australia is purely political: American gun rights advocates say this kind of confiscation would prompt “a civil war”.

“It’s confiscation of private property and the threat of jail, and that’s not the American way,” said Philip Alpers, a gun violence researcher at the University of Sydney…………

Attorney general says investigation into killings of three civil rights workers is over and no more prosecutions are expected

From left: Michael Schwerner, 24, James Cheney, 21, and Andrew Goodman, 20. The trio disappeared in 1964.

From left: Michael Schwerner, 24, James Cheney, 21, and Andrew Goodman, 20. The trio disappeared in 1964. Photograph: ? Anonymous/AP

One day short of the 52nd anniversary of the disappearance of three civil rights workers during Mississippi’s “Freedom Summer,” state and federal prosecutors have said that the investigation into the killings is over.

The decision “closes a chapter” in the state’s divisive civil rights history, Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood said.

“The evidence has been degraded by memory over time, and so there are no individuals that are living now that we can make a case on at this point,” Hood said.

He said, however, that if new information comes forward because of the announcement that the case is closed, prosecutors could reconsider and pursue a case.

The 1964 killings of James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in Neshoba County sparked national outrage and helped spur passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They later became the subject of the film “Mississippi Burning.”

On Monday, their relatives said the focus should not be only on the three men, but on all the people killed or hurt while seeking justice…….

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Far-right critics of new venue in northern France inspired by Shakespeare’s Globe blamed for graffiti daubed days before it was due to open

New Elizabethan theatre near Condette, northern France.

The word combien is daubed in orange paint on the side of the New Elizabethan theatre near Condette, northern France. Photograph: Hugues Flouret

France’s first Shakespearean-style theatre, built as a tribute to the entente cordiale, has been vandalised one week before it was due to open.

The New Elizabethan theatre, and the walls of the nearby Chateau d’Hardelot at Condette in northern France, were daubed in orange paint with slogans such as: “Irresponsible politicians”, “shame on you”, and “carbuncle”.

Andrew Todd, the British architect behind the theatre, which was inspired by Shakespeare’s Globe in London, said he deplored in the “strongest possible terms” what he described as a “politically motivated desecration” of the buildings on Friday night.

“I arrived on site Saturday morning at 10am to find the just-finished building covered in graffiti insulting its presence and cost; there were similar orange tags throughout the Chateau d’Hardelot site, including on the 13th-century walls of the castle itself,” Todd said.

“This was not the act of a bunch of teenage malcontents; it was a well-organised, adult, carefully executed stunt relaying through violence the messages expressed already in the political sphere by the extreme right.”…………….

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US weather agency says bleaching is now the most widespread on record and is likely to continue for unprecedented third year

Coral bleaching

The aftermath of the coral bleaching event at Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef. Photograph: Xl Catlin Seaview Survey/EPA

The coral bleaching event sweeping the globe and destroying vast tracts of valuable coral reef is now officially the most widespread in recorded history, and is likely to continue for an unprecedented third year, according to the US weather agency.

For the coming four months, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration says its forecasts show warm ocean temperatures are expected to cause bleaching in the northern hemisphere, including around Hawaii, Micronesia, the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico.

“All northern hemisphere US-coral reefs are on alert for coral bleaching this year,” said Mark Eakin, coordinator of Coral Reef Watch at Noaa. “If we see bleaching in Florida or Hawaii this year it will be three years in a row.”

Coral in every major reef region has already experienced severe bleaching. About 93% of the reefs on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have been affected, and almost a quarter of the reef on the 2,300km stretch is now dead.

Hawaii and the Florida Keys, which will probably be hit by bleaching in the coming months, have been affected twice already, in mid-2014 and mid-2015. Reefs in the Indian Ocean around the Maldives and Western Australia have suffered severe bleaching, as have those in the rest of the Pacific, the Red Sea and the Caribbean.

Although the bleaching event was already the longest in recorded history and was predicted to run past the middle of the year, Noaa’s latest climate model-based forecasts now suggest it will run at least through to the end of 2016………………..

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US politics

Election 2016

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Opinion

In a searing dissent, the supreme court justice set out how targeting people of color corrodes all our civil liberties

Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John G. Roberts, Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito Jr., Elena KaganFILE - In this Oct. 8, 2010 file photo, the Supreme Court justices pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington. Seated, from left are, Justice Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing, from left are, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito Jr., and Elena Kagan. On Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, the U.S. Marshals Service confirmed that Scalia has died at the age of 79. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

‘Sonia Sotomayor’s presence and her platform prove that not only is the presence of diversity critical, but the amplification of marginalized truths is the responsibility of those with a seat at tables of power.’ Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

My father was an amateur gardener. Nothing special – basic landscaping at our home on the lawn his mother never had when he was growing up on Chicago’s south side.

Whenever I’d help him, he always gave me the simplest task: pulling up the weeds. He explained to me that weeds, if left to fester, will choke everything around them. And he taught me what every gardener, amateur or professional landscape artists knows: if you’re going to get rid of the weed for good, you have to get to the root. That lesson has lasted far beyond his time on Earth and our our days on the lawn.

In its Utah v Strieff ruling Monday, the US supreme court failed to follow my father’s most basic principle of getting to the root. By validating police seizures obtained after illegal stops in the case of outstanding traffic warrants, the court ignores that this is not about the discovery of a traffic warrant, which came second, but about the illegal stop that came first.

And even deeper: this decision will do nothing to eradicate the violence that black and brown communities like mine have suffered for centuries. The roots of police violence lie in the dirt of systemic racism and oppression.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor reiterated this in a brilliantly stinging dissent on the majority decision using piercing language that conferred dignity upon those of us who can be choked by the root at any time by virtue of the color of our skin:

For generations, black and brown parents have given their children “the talk”— instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger — all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them … They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere.

In that moment, in soaring rhetoric and bold statement, Justice Sotomayor spoke for all of us. She sees us. She knows us by name – her reality as a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx is not that much different from ours. Her presence and her platform prove that not only is the inclusion of diverse voices critical, but the amplification of marginalized truths is the responsibility of those with a seat at tables of power……………

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English Online International Newspapers

For a change from the same old news stories from the same old news networks, here are links to English-edition online newspapers from other parts of the world. 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.

View All

Some of the available newspapers:

Asia – UN IRIN News

www.irinnews.org/
Asia & CIS (Updated Link!) www.newscentralasia.net/
China english.peopledaily.com.cn/home.html
China www.xinhuanet.com/english/
China www.chinadaily.com.cn/

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