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Fears in US of bad peace deal with the TalibanAn Afghanistan peace agreement that the US seems close to reaching with the Taliban has prompted worries that President Donald Trump's desire to quickly withdraw US troops could further plunge the country into civil war. Trump said Friday he was pleased with talks on ending the war, 18 years after the September 11, attacks that prompted the US invasion of Afghanistan in the first place. In recent days several US officials have suggested that an accord could be imminent in discussions with the Taliban in Qatar.


8/17/2019 7:21:55 PM

New York City subway scare suspect taken into police custodyA homeless man from West Virginia faced charges Saturday for allegedly placing two devices that looked like pressure cookers in a New York City subway station, forcing an evacuation and snarling the morning commute, police said. Larry Kenton Griffin II, of Bruno, West Virginia, was awaiting arraignment late Saturday in Manhattan's central booking after he was released from a New York hospital where he was being treated and under observation.


8/17/2019 8:03:02 PM

Hundreds answer husband's viral post to attend funeral of El Paso mass shooting victimMargie Reckard, one of 22 killed in the El Paso Walmart mass shooting, was honored by more than a thousand people.


8/18/2019 3:22:39 PM

Sudan's former dictator Omar al-Bashir due in court for corruption trialOmar al-Bashir, the ousted former president of Sudan, is expected to stand in court on Monday for the first stage of a corruption trial which could see him jailed for many years. Bashir took power in a 1989 coup but was deposed in April after mass protests and security forces deciding to withdraw support for his brutal regime, which was behind an alleged genocidal campaign in the Darfur region. The 75-year-old former dictator is in prison awaiting the trail, where he faces allegations of possessing foreign currency, corruption and receiving gifts illegally. Human rights groups and relatives of Bashir's victims also want to see him stand trial at the International Criminal Court in the Hague for his role in the genocide of around 300,000 people in Darfur.  "While this trial is a positive step towards accountability for some of his alleged crimes, he remains wanted for heinous crimes committed against the Sudanese people," said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International's East Africa director.   It comes as Sudan prepares to celebrate a historic deal between generals and protest leaders for a transition to civilian rule, which many hope will bring increased freedom and prosperity. During a ceremony to be held at a hall by the Nile in the capital Khartoum, members of the Transitional Military Council and protest leaders are expected to sign documents defining a 39-month transition. But the road to democracy remains fraught with obstacles, even if the mood was celebratory as foreign dignitaries as well as thousands of citizens from all over Sudan converged for the occasion. The deal reached on August 4 - the Constitutional Declaration - brought an end to nearly eight months of upheaval that led to the ousting of Bashir.


8/18/2019 10:28:23 AM

'A new Hawaiian Renaissance': how a telescope protest became a movementDemonstrators opposed to the building of a telescope on Mauna Kea, the state’s highest peak, have forged a communityThe actor Jason Momoa exchanges a traditional greeting with an elder while visiting protesters last month. Photograph: Hollyn Johnson/APOn Hawaii’s Big Island, a protest against a $1.4bn observatory on Mauna Kea, a mountain considered sacred by many Native Hawaiians, is entering a second month. In that time, the protest site has swelled from a few hundred to several thousands, attracted celebrity visitors, and built a community of Native Hawaiians who see it as a pivotal moment.The protest site sits at an elevation of 6,632ft, where the cold wind whips across hardened lava fields. But amid this inhospitable environment, weeks of demonstration have given rise to a sense of permanence.The site stretches across a two-lane highway, where trucks flying a Native Hawaiian flag and the upside-down state flag line both sides of the road. A “Kūpuna tent”, where the elders of the community gather, is strategically placed to block an access road up the mountain in order to stop construction vehicles from reaching the summit.New arrivals are encouraged to sign in at an orientation station. There is a tented cafeteria providing free meals, and a community-run medic station, daycare and school. Along the barren roadside, tropical flowers have been casually stuck in traffic cones. People pound taro, a Hawaiian crop, in the traditional way on wooden boards to make poi, a local dish.The protest stems from controversy over the fate of Mauna Kea, the tallest peak in Hawaii and the proposed site of an enormous observatory known as the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The summit, 13,796ft above sea level, is said to be an ideal location to look into deep space. TMT is expected to capture images ‘that look back to the beginning of the universe. Protesters, who call themselves kia‘i, or “protectors”, argue the construction will further desecrate Mauna Kea, which is already home to about a dozen telescopes.The sun sets behind telescopes at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Photograph: Caleb Jones/APKealoha Pisciotta, one of the protest leaders and a spokesperson for Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, a Native Hawaiian group, says the movement is “pushing back on corporate culture” through Hawaiian concepts of “Kapu Aloha”, which emphasizes compassionate responses, especially towards opponents, and “Aloha ʻĀina”, a saying that translates to “love of the land”.“We are just joining the world’s indigenous movements,” Pisciotta says. “We need Kapu Aloha ... to bring back the balance from the insanity and destruction of our earth.”Pisciotta said that the protesters were showing the world a way “to really live differently” while protecting the land.“For Native Hawaiians, there is a question of our right to self-determination as defined by international law, but I think it’s so much bigger than that,” said Pisciotta. “It’s about us learning to live and be interdependent.” Why are the protests happening?Protesters continue their vigil, on 19 July. Photograph: Bruce Asato/APHawaiians consider Mauna Kea sacred for numerous reasons. The mountain is known as the home to Wākea, the sky god, who partnered with Papahānaumoku, the earth goddess. Protesters hope to protect and help restore the native ecosystem on Mauna Kea.But the protests are also part of a legacy for Native Hawaiians that goes back to 1893, when the Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown. Hawaiians lost their land as well as their culture, as the latter was suppressed through law and religion. It wasn’t until the 1970s, during a period of cultural flourishing known as the Hawaiian Renaissance, that the Hawaiian language was allowed to be spoken in school and that the hula was revived.The period was defined by its own resistance movement, as activists focused on stopping the US military from using Kahoʻolawe, one of the eight main Hawaiian Islands, as a target for bombing practice. After more than a decade of peaceful protests and occupations of the island, the US government ended the live-fire training in the 1990s.Some see the latest protest action as a new Hawaiian Renaissance. Days are punctuated by the blowing of the conch shell to announce ceremonies that include chanting, hula, and hoʻokupu (offerings). Several celebrities with Hawaii ties have travelled here to participate, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jason Momoa, and Jack Johnson.Hawaii’s governor, David Ige, right, watches a performance during a visit to the ninth day of protests against the Thirty Meter Telescope, on 23 July. Photograph: Jamm Aquino/AP“The atmosphere here is incredible. We’re all here protecting our ʻāina [land]”, said Kamuela Park, a protester at the site. He added that it had been “awesome to see people from all spectrums coming here in support”.Peaceful demonstrators have faced one major confrontation with police. Three days into the protest, 38 kūpuna (revered elders) were arrested for blocking the road that leads to the construction site. That same day, Hawaii’s governor, David Ige, signed an emergency proclamation giving law enforcement more control over the area and allowed them to bring in National Guard troops. Images of the elderly being arrested quickly spread, garnering sympathy for the movement and attracting more people to the site. What comes next?Demonstrators block a road at the base of Hawaii’s tallest mountain, on 15 July. Photograph: Caleb Jones/APNegotiations between government officials and protesters have slowed since the arrests. On 30 July, the governor rescinded his emergency proclamation. He also extended the window during which construction could begin from 60 days to two years, meaning the protesters would theoretically need to block the road until September 2021.“I want to assure everyone that we are committed. Our law enforcement officers will remain at the site to ensure the safety of all of those involved,” said Ige at a press conference. “We continue to seek and find a peaceful solution to move this project forward.”While tensions may have eased, protesters have said they will stay until they stop TMT from being built. Demonstrators proved their endurance in early August as many of them stayed at the protest site while two consecutive storms passed by the islands.Pisciotta, who used to work at the Mauna Kea observatories as a telescope systems specialist, says the movement has been especially “huge” for young people.“Some of the elders, they lived through the time it was prohibited to speak the language,” she says. Now younger Hawaiians grow up speaking it in school and with strong cultural affiliations. Hawaiian youth who are camping out are helping to organize donations, teaching some of the courses at the community-led school, and spreading the word on social media.“In our philosophy, the land and the people are one,” said Pisciotta, about Aloha ʻĀina. “So it was a rallying point for the renaissance and now this is a kind of new renaissance.”


8/16/2019 11:30:34 PM

Iran says U.S. move on north Syria safe zone is "provocative"A U.S. agreement to set up a safe zone in northern Syria, a close ally of Iran, is "provocative and worrisome", the Iranian foreign ministry was reported to have said by the semi-official Fars news agency. The United States and Turkey last week agreed to set up a joint operations center for a proposed zone along Syria’s northeast border.


8/18/2019 8:20:03 AM

Yuba City man dies in apparent suicide in standoff after police answer assault callA 29-year-old man died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Yuba City apartment during a standoff with police on Friday, according to a Yuba City police press release.


8/18/2019 1:55:30 PM

Epstein's last days were spent emptying vending machines with his lawyers in a private meeting room, avoiding suicide watch, and paying other inmates' commissariesBefore he died of suicide by hanging, The New York Times reports Epstein used his wealth to try and manipulate his circumstances in federal custody.


8/17/2019 11:00:54 AM

Days away from moving for a dream job, Miami doctor is killed in fall from cliff on vacationDaniel Sirovich was a native of Kearny, NJ, who loved traveling and was interested in sports and international medicine.


8/18/2019 4:56:11 PM

Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court to Permit Employment Discrimination Against Transgender WorkersThe Trump administration’s Department of Justice is asking the Supreme Court to set a legal precedent that would enable employers to fire employees because they are transgender.


8/18/2019 1:31:34 PM
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