Accused killer of UK lawmaker makes defiant court statement
LONDON (AP) — The accused killer of British lawmaker Jo Cox has given his name as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain” in his first court appearance.
Thomas Mair, 52, made his defiant statement Saturday in Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.
West Yorkshire Police had charged Mair overnight with murder, inflicting grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit a crime, and other gun charges.
Labour Party lawmaker Cox was killed Thursday after getting out of her car in the town of Birstall in her home constituency. She was 41.
Vigils have been held across the country in her memory and Parliament has been recalled Monday to honor her.
Belgian authorities arrest 12 in major anti-terror raid
BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian authorities have raided dozens of homes and arrested 12 suspects in a major anti-terror investigation which they said required “immediate intervention.”
The federal prosecutor’s office said Saturday that homes and car ports were searched in 16 municipalities, mostly in and around Brussels.
The statement said 40 people were taken for interrogation, of which 12 were arrested. It said there were no major incidents during the raids and that no arms or explosives were found.
The operation comes as Belgium remains under the second highest terror alert in wake of the March 22 attacks on the Brussels subway and airport which left 32 people dead.
Authorities are also especially attentive to security risks during the ongoing European soccer championships in neighboring France. Belgium is playing Ireland Saturday afternoon and big gatherings to watch the game are planned across the nation.
Iraqi troops clear IS mines in recaptured areas of Fallujah
BAGHDAD (AP) — An Iraqi military official says government forces are clearing mines and explosives left behind by members of the Islamic State group in areas recently retaken from the extremists in the city of Fallujah.
Brig. Haider al-Obeidi told The Associated Press on Saturday that operations are still ongoing in Fallujah, with the air force hitting targets in the city including IS snipers positioned near the main hospital.
Al-Obedi’s comments came a day after Iraqi special forces swept into Fallujah, recapturing most of the city as IS’s two-year-old grip crumbled after weeks of fighting.
He said troops are advancing toward the hospital cautiously, concerned that militants stationed there may use patients as human shields.
The Fallujah offensive began in late May, and IS’s defenses in much of the city collapsed abruptly.
Man hit in back in Orlando shooting played dead to survive
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Felipe Marrero wakes up in his hospital bed at night still thinking he smells gunpowder, nearly a week after the shooting rampage at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
It’s just one of the ways the 30-year-old has suffered after being shot four times in his back and left arm during the attack last Sunday morning that left 49 victims dead and more than 50 wounded. The gunman, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, also was killed in a firefight with police.
“It’s the same smell that was in the club that night,” Merrero said in an interview Friday from his hospital bed at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
The shock among the city’s residents was turning to grief as families buried their loved ones in cemeteries across the city. With more funerals planned in coming days, the city adorned with “Orlando Strong” banners has been coming together to support each other.
“It’s amazing me how the community is getting so close,” said Monica Roggiero, outside the funeral of shooting victim Anthony Luis Laureano Disla.
Trump’s ‘Mexican’ label against judge brings up slur history
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump referred to a U.S.-born federal judge as a “Mexican” and saw a backlash, even from other Republicans.
A black Democratic lawmaker called Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez a “Mexican” during a heated exchange with another lawmaker and was forced to apologize. John Calipari, then New Jersey Nets coach, faced criticism for lashing out at a Latino reporter by calling him a “Mexican idiot.”
True, the term “Mexican” describes a nationality for a people of a country south of the U.S. It also has been used as a slur against U.S.-born Latinos as a way to dehumanize them and dismiss them as foreigners, according to scholars and those who’ve been targeted by the loaded word.
In the latest example, Trump recently used the word against U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, an American of Mexican origin. It came after Curiel agreed to unseal the details in a class-action lawsuit by people who say they were victims of fraud by Trump’s real estate business education venture, the now-defunct Trump University.
“The judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican,” Trump told a San Diego crowd in a rant against Curiel. “Which is great. I think that’s fine.”
Questions rise over Bangladesh jailing 11,600 in crackdown
NEW DELHI (AP) — Within six days of announcing a crackdown on Islamist militants, Bangladesh had filled its jailhouses with 11,600 new detainees in what seemed like an astonishing display of law enforcement might. The problem is, less than 2 percent of those picked up are suspected radicals, and not one is considered to be a high-level operative.
The rest? Most are accused of petty crimes such as theft, burglary or small-time drug smuggling. At least 2,000 are members of the main opposition party, according to its spokesman, while others were believed to belong to a key ally of that party.
Analysts, rights groups and opponents of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s secular government now question the crackdown. Was it truly an effort to stop a series of brazen, deadly attacks by Muslim extremists on various minorities, or an attempt to gain political advantage from the fear the killings have generated at home and abroad?
Lisa Curtis, an expert on South Asia at the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington, D.C., said a crackdown on extremists was needed. But given that only 177 of the thousands detained are actually suspected of radical militancy, according to police, she said that the dragnet will begin to look more like a tool to pressure the political opposition rather than a serious effort to stop the attacks.
The law enforcement campaign could actually deepen the divide between the secular government’s supporters and those longing for Islamic rule, possibly even encouraging militants, analysts said.
Oakland loses 3rd police chief amid growing scandals
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Police Department lost its third police chief in eight days as it struggles with allegations that a number of officers had sex with a teenage prostitute and exchanged racist text messages.
Mayor Libby Schaaf said acting Police Chief Paul Figueroa was on the job for two days before stepping down on Friday but said his decision was not connected to the two scandals.
However, she denounced the department’s “toxic, macho culture” and vowed to root out “the bad apples.”
“As the mayor of Oakland, I’m here to run a police department, not a frat house,” Schaaf said at a news conference Friday evening.
Schaaf said she will not immediately appoint an acting or interim chief. Instead, the command staff will report to City Administrator Sabrina Landreth, who will be responsible for personnel and disciplinary decisions.
Apple ordered to suspend iPhone 6 sales in Beijing
BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese regulator has ordered Apple Inc. to stop selling two versions of its iPhone 6 in Beijing after finding they look too much like a competitor, but Apple says sales are going ahead while it appeals.
The ruling by an intellectual property tribunal is the latest legal stumbling block for Apple in its second-biggest global market following the suspension of its iTunes movie service in April. The company also faces rising competition from local brands including Huawei and Xiaomi, which have gained market share.
The order by the Beijing tribunal said the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus looked too much like the 100C model made by Shenzhen Beili, a small Chinese brand. The order was issued in May but reported this week by the Chinese press.
Apple said a Beijing court stayed the administrative order on appeal and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus still were on sale.
Apple suspended its iBooks and iTunes Movies services in April, which news reports said was due to an order by Chinese regulators. The company said it hoped to resume service soon.
Thousands say farewell to slain ‘Voice’ singer at services
MEDFORD, N.J. (AP) — Thousands of friends and fans said farewell to “The Voice” singer Christina Grimmie at services in New Jersey on Friday.
Grimmie’s family received condolences for five hours before an emotional memorial service was held. The singer’s music was played and a large picture of her was displayed on an easel.
The 22-year-old was shot to death last week as she signed autographs after a show in Orlando, Florida. Her assailant fatally shot himself.
Among those present Friday night were Alissa and Joseph Canto. The husband and wife from outside Rochester, New York, said they drove 7 hours to come to the services at Fellowship Alliance Chapel.
The couple, both 24, said they’ve been fans since Grimmie launched her YouTube channel as a high school student.
He’s back: Dustin Johnson tied for lead at US Open
OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) — Dustin Johnson unleashed another powerful tee shot that got lost in the darkening sky over Oakmont. Positioned some 200 yards away on a forward tee, his caddie tried to track the flight of the ball until he gave up and said, “Where did it go?”
Like he even had to ask.
One year after Johnson let the U.S. Open slip away from him at Chambers Bay, he drove his way to the top of the leaderboard Friday at Oakmont on a marathon day of 36 holes with rounds of 67-69 that left him poised for another shot at a major.
“I’ve got a good game plan for this course,” Johnson said. “And if I keep driving it like I am, I’ll be tough to beat.”
More than the long ball, Johnson has a short memory.
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