Reverend Jesse Jackson (right) an icon of the civil rights movement. —Photo by Joseph Earnest
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey said on Thursday that the U.S. society is “at a crossroads” on racial relations.
This was the first time he publicly discussed the issue at length after the killings of unarmed black men by white officers in Ferguson and New York City triggered heated debates in recent months.
“Unfortunately, in places like Ferguson and New York City, and in some communities across the nation, there is a disconnect between police agencies and many citizens – predominantly in communities of color,” Comey said in a speech at Georgetown University.
Comey highlighted researches which indicated the widespread existence of unconscious bias in a white-majority society against black faces, and said white officers, working in communities where non-whites commit a majority of crimes, are prone to adopt negative stereotypes about members of minority groups.
“The two young black men on one side of the street look like so many others the officer has locked up,” said Comey. “The officer does not make the same association about two white guys,” a behavior labeled by Comey as “lazy mental shortcuts”, which he warned would complicate the relationship between police and the communities they serve.
Comey called for better data collection and analysis of how police officers use force during patrols, stressing that without complete and accurate data, sound policy decision would be hard to make.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee—Photo by Joseph Earnest
by Stoyan Zaimov
Newscast Media LITTLE ROCK—Former Baptist pastor and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has said that President Barack Obama has shown an “undying support” for Muslims, while his actions are against Christians and Jews. Huckabee’s criticism stems from last week’s National Prayer Breakfast, where Obama used the Crusades as an example of Christians doing “terrible acts” in the name of Christ.
“Everything he does is against what Christians stand for, and he’s against the Jews in Israel. The one group of people that can know they have his undying, unfailing support would be the Muslim community. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the radical Muslim community or the more moderate Muslim community,” Huckabee said recently on “Fox and Friends”. FULL STORY>>
President Barack Obama—Photo by Joseph Earnest
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama admitted that the United
States brokered a power transition deal in Ukraine that has led to the current crisis in
Commenting on the situation in Ukraine in an interview with CNN, Obama said, “We
had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine” since Russian President Vladimir
Putin “made this decision around Crimea and Ukraine.”
The US president also rejected the possibility of a military conflict with Russia, saying
it would not be “wise for the United States or the world to see an actual military
conflict between the United States and Russia.”
Obama, however, reiterated that Washington would continue to put pressure on
Moscow and reinforce NATO member states bordering Ukraine.
“What we are doing is reinforcing those border states who are members of NATO,”
Obama said, adding “that line is one that cannot be crossed because we would have
to take military action to protect our allies.”
Obama has already asked Congress for $1 billion in additional spending to bolster the
US military presence in Poland and its neighbors.
Source: Al Manar TV News
President Bashar Assad of Syria making a surprise visit to his troops on the frontline. —Courtesy photo Syrian government.
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that Damascus is “willing to cooperate with any country” —including the United States—that is willing to “fight terrorism.”
In a lengthy interview with the U.S. foreign-policy magazine Foreign Affairs published online on January 26, Assad criticized the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group for carrying out what he said were illegal strikes against militants on Syrian territory.
CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Houston annual gun festival—Photo by Joseph Earnest
Newscast Media BERLIN—The German government on Monday refused to confirm or deny a newspaper report that it had stopped all arms exports to Saudi Arabia, in the wake of controversy over the Arab state’s ongoing human rights abuses.
The Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday that the German Security Council – a secret committee chaired by Chancellor Angela Merkel that rubberstamps German arms exports – had decided to stop all arms exports to Saudi Arabia for the time being. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
The 2015 Corvette showcased at the Houston Auto Show--Photo by Joseph Earnest
Newscast Media HOUSTON—The 2015 Houston Auto Show is transforming NRG Center, providing great visual displays that exhibit the latest and greatest automotive innovation. More than 500 of the newest model year import and domestic vehicles, including Texas debuts will cover 700,000 square feet of space at NRG center.
The show was open to the media only between January 17-18, then on January 21, it was flung open to the general public, and will continue until January 25.
Newscast Media was invited to capture all the eye-candy at the event as shown below in the highlights:
ENTER PHOTO GALLERY>>
L-R: Uganda's Museveni, Congo's Kabila, Rwanda's Kagame
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Western envoys in Kinshasa have urged the Senate of the Democratic Republic of Congo to rethink electoral law changes after three days of deadly protests. Rights groups put the toll at 42 killed; the government says 12, according to Deutsche Welle (DW) news.
DW reports that a Congolese electoral law change seen by critics as a bid by President Joseph Kabila to extend his term beyond 2016 ran into foreign objections on Thursday as the nation’s Senate prepared to vote on the bill.
Diplomats said the envoys of the United States, France, Britain and former colonial power Belgium had met Senate President Leon Kengo Wa Dondo in Kinshasa on Wednesday. FULL STORY>>
President Barack Obama--Photo by Joseph Earnest
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama has asked the U.S. Congress to refrain from imposing fresh sanctions against Iran while negotiations on a permanent nuclear deal are underway.
Obama said he will veto a bill on more sanctions against Iran if it comes to his desk while negotiations are continuing between Tehran and six world powers.
But Obama said if Iran ultimately refuses to “say yes” and provide assurance that they are not secretly developing nuclear weapons, he would go to the U.S. Congress and ask them to “tighten the screws.”
Speaking at a joint press conference at the White House with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama said there is probably less than a 50 percent chance of a diplomatic deal with Iran.
But he said the likelihood of talks with Iran collapsing would be high if Congress passes a bill for more sanctions against Tehran.
Cameron said there is a prospect of success in talks with Iran, and that he has contacted U.S. senators about the issue.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media HOUSTON—Just as Barack Obama was unveiling a series of bills whose aim is to improve cybersecurity and curb identity theft, the identity of the U.S. Central Command Twitter and YouTube accounts were allegedly hijacked by Islamic State operatives.
The operatives posted a series of tweets on the CENTCOM feed, and also released information that appeared to be private. One of the messages posts read:
“You’ll see no mercy infidels. ISIS is already here, we are in your PCs, in each military base, with Allah’s permission we are in CENTCOM now.” CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media TEHRAN—Iran’s official IRNA news agency says the country’s judiciary has ordered three personal-communication software applications to be blocked, in a move that has long been opposed by President Hassan Rohani’s administration.
The report says the judiciary ordered that the LINE, WhatsApp, and Tango apps all be shut down, and that the order would go into effect later on January 7.
The apps are popular among Iranians because they provide telephone and messaging services that circumvent the state-controlled Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) and allow inexpensive or free communication with people across Iran and outside of the country.
Rohani and fellow moderates have opposed the blocking of websites and social-networking applications, saying authorities should only target illegal content.
Iranian censors have previously blocked social websites including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
But many young and Internet-savvy Iranians use proxy servers or other methods to bypass the controls.
Source: Radio Free Europe
LINE, Tango, WhatsApp
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama has drawn the battle lines as his rival Republicans assumed full control in Congress. Obama said he would veto a key Republican bill approving the building of an oil pipeline from Canada.
The White House said on Tuesday that Obama would veto the legislation to approve the long-stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alaska, one of the major first tests for the Republicans in their new congress.
CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Two individuals will face criminal charges for their alleged roles in an attempted coup in Gambia, the U.S. Department of Justice announced January 5.
The defendants are charged with conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act by making an expedition against a friendly nation from the United States and conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence. They are alleged to have participated in a December 30, 2014, unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the government of the West African nation. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
The American Flag—Photo by Joseph Earnest
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama says Washington is not yet
ready to reopen an embassy in Iran, but he is not entirely ruling out the possibility
during the last two years of his presidency.
Asked on December 29 about reopening the U.S. embassy in Tehran, which has been
closed since it was seized by Iranian students in 1979, Obama said: “I never say
never, but I think these things have to go in steps.”
Obama said Iran is different from Cuba, where Washington recently announced it
would reopen its embassy after 53 years.
He said Cuba is small and poses no major threat to the United States, while Iran is
large, has sponsored terrorism, and has tried to develop nuclear weapons.
Obama said he still hopes a permanent nuclear deal with Iran will pave the way for
Tehran to rejoin the world community.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media NEW YORK—A Palestinian resolution calling for the end of Israeli
occupation within three years, was submitted to the United Nations Security Council
on Tuesday evening for a vote.
According to the Hindu Times, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, told
reporters who asked why the Palestinians were pressing for a vote in the face of a
U.S. veto that it was time for the Security Council “to shoulder its responsibility and
to adopt this resolution.”
“If one party decides for whatever reason that they do not want to go along with
this massive support by the international community to find a just solution to this
conflict, to try to save the two—state solution by asking for the end of the
occupation that started in 1967 … then nobody should blame us as Arabs and
Palestinians and Muslims … and so many others for not opening a door a responsible
door for peace through the Security Council,” Mansour said.
The resolution has since been rejected after key countries abstained from taking
part, according to the Times of Israel.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird called on the Security Council members to
vote down the resolution and focus on encouraging negotiations instead, the Times
of Israel reported.
President Barack Obama—Photo by Joseph Earnest
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama signed a bill authorizing new
sanctions against Russia on December 18 but said that he would not impose them “at
The Ukraine Freedom Support Act authorizes—but does not technically require—
defensive lethal aid for Kyiv and sanctions against Russian defense and energy
Obama said in a statement that the signing of the legislation “does not signal a
change in the administration’s sanctions policy.”
Sanctions, along with plummeting oil prices, have contributed to Russia’s economic
turmoil, as well as the fall of its currency.
The bill passed the divided U.S. Congress unanimously.
The bill also authorizes more loan guarantees for Ukraine and additional funds to
address the country’s energy shortage, for U.S. international broadcasting, and for
Russian democracy and civil society organizations.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media HOUSTON—More than 70 years after a 14-year-old Black American
boy was executed by the electric chair in South Carolina, a judge has now thrown
out the dead boy’s conviction. The teenager was unfortunate to find himself in the
category of those considered guilty until proven innocent.
George Stinney was found guilty in 1944 of killing two white girls, in a one-day trial
before an all-white jury.
Stinney was subsequently electrocuted in the same year, becoming the youngest
person executed in the United States in the 20th century. The 95-pound boy was so
small he had to sit on a book when he was strapped to the electric chair.
The only evidence against the boy was a confession he allegedly made to police
officers after hours of questioning, away from his parents and without a lawyer.
Stinney’s parents had been threatened that they would be lynched if they remained
in the segregated mill town of Acolu, where their son was arrested.
The girls, 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 7-year-old Mary Emma Thames,
disappeared on March 23, 1944, when they went for a bike ride together in search of
flowers. The girls’ bodies were found the following morning behind a church, badly
beaten with their skulls crushed in.
Stinney was arrested after witnesses said they saw him picking flowers with the girls.
On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen found “fundamental, constitutional
violations of due process” in Stinney’s speedy trial.
“Given the particularized circumstances of Stinney’s case, I find by a preponderance
of the evidence standard, that a violation of the defendant’s procedural due process
rights tainted his prosecution,” Mullen said.
The ruling gave relief to Stinney’s brother, sisters and civil rights activists, who have
been trying to reopen the case for years.
Source: Press TV
Newscast Media HOUSTON—Today, President Barack Obama is announcing his intentions to improve relations with Cuba, and the possibility of lifting sanctions from the island nation.
The White House has acknowledged that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish its enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba.
CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media HOUSTON—The stage has been set. The die have been rolled. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will gamble on winning the presidency in 2016 amidst a crowded Republican field. Should he run and win, he will be the third Bush to become president in our generation.
The Democrats are nervous about the new development because their candidate, Hillary Clinton will bring the baggage of her tenure in the State Department and past political history, including convincing struggling Americans that corporations and business do not create jobs, a statement that baffled even her fellow liberals.
CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The White House says President Barack Obama is
expected to sign legislation implementing new sanctions on Russia over its activities in
Ukraine by the end of the week. Press Secretary Josh Earnest made the
announcement on December 16 in Washington.
Congress passed the bill on December 13, authorizing new sanctions against Russia’s
defense and energy industries, including the arms exporter Rosoboroneksport, and
investors in its high-tech oil projects.
It also authorizes—but does not technically require—$350 million of defense articles
for Ukraine’s military, including antitank and antiarmor weapons, ammunition, and
surveillance drones. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives approved a $1.1 trillion spending package late on December 11, avoiding an impending government shutdown due to the nature of the bill.
Republicans opposed the bill because it did not block spending based on recent Obama executive actions, while Democrats opposed it because, it was a little too soft on banks and fat cat campaign donors.
The measure passed 219-206 after Obama convinced some House Democrats it was better to pass the bill than face a government showdown.
The bill will fund federal agencies until September 2015, and also sets aside funds for Ebola containment and treatment.
Click here to read or download the trillion-dollar spending bill.
The U.S Senate will be next to vote on the bill before it reaches Obama’s desk for him to put ink on the bottom line.