By Andy Sullivan and James Oliphant WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidates steered clear on Thursday of addressing the role gun rights and racial tensions may have played in a deadly mass shooting in South Carolina as Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton called for the United States to face what she called the "hard truths" underpinning the tragedy. The responses to the attack in Charleston, in which a white man is suspected of killing nine black people at a historic church, showed the contrasting pressures facing White House hopefuls in each party as they prepare for primary contests. Clinton and other Democrats are appealing to a racially diverse voter base that has been frustrated by an inability to tighten gun laws after other mass shootings. Those voters are also increasingly vocal about heavy handed law-enforcement tactics in black communities following a series of police killings of unarmed African-American men. Republicans, meanwhile, have successfully loosened gun restrictions across the country in recent years while catering to core voters who are overwhelmingly white. Clinton cited past mass shootings as she called for the United States to confront the toll taken by racial prejudice and gun violence. "How many people do we need to see cut down before we act?" she said in Las Vegas. Several Republican candidates issued statements expressing condolences in the wake of the attack. But unlike Clinton and President Barack Obama, they did not call for action to reduce similar attacks. Few were willing to label the murders a hate crime, although police in Charleston said the attack was racially motivated. "There's a sickness in our country, there's something terribly wrong, but it isn't going to be fixed by your government," the libertarian-leaning Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told a group of religious conservatives in Washington. "It's people not understanding where salvation comes from." Speaking at the same event, Texas Senator Ted Cruz did not mention the race or possible motivation of the suspected shooter, 21-year-old Dylann Roof. The young man's Facebook profile showed him wearing a jacket emblazoned with flags of apartheid-era South Africa and of the former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, both formerly ruled by white minorities. "A sick and deranged person came and prayed with an historically black congregation for an hour and then murdered nine innocent souls,” Cruz said, without referring to the race of the shooter. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a leading contender, did not mention the attack in his 20-minute speech. There is little incentive for the Republican Party to press deeply into the episode since the party's voters overwhelmingly favor expansive gun rights. Their opposition, backed by the powerful National Rifle Association, ensured Obama failed in his bid to expand background checks on gun buyers after a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. Obama acknowledged on Thursday that further efforts in Washington to tighten gun controls were likely to be futile, saying the "politics in this town foreclose" attempts to limit gun rights. Americans, too, are divided on the subject of gun control, with 48 percent supporting government restrictions and 41 percent saying they should not be regulated, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken in April. Some 61 percent of Republicans oppose firearms regulation, while Democrats support it by an equal proportion. Beyond the gun issue, the voters who will choose the next Republican nominee are overwhelmingly white - in 2012, they made up 90 percent of voters in the Republican primary contests. That means there is little incentive -- and perhaps a real downside -- for conservatives to grapple head-on with racial tensions spurred by the Charleston shootings. Some comments by voters at the event attended by Paul, Cruz and others bore that out. “I'm tired of hearing that every time someone shoots someone from another race that it's racially motivated,” said John Cartree, 78, of Columbia, Mo. (Additional reporting by Amanda Becker; editing by Stuart Grudgings.)
- The Independent
Investigating ongoing after residents complain of minor damages
- The Independent
Controversial Republican says New York progressive ‘doesn’t know anything about the economy or economics’
A US man has reportedly been arrested and charged after telling a match "I did storm the Capitol".
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“It is not an exaggeration to say that long COVID-19 is America’s next big health crisis.”
- The Independent
Top Chef host says ‘this is the nightmare of any parent’ in appeal for facts and donations for Pakistani family
- Miami Herald
In a city where three votes are required to green light projects and legislation, the election of two new Coral Gables commissioners on Tuesday will not only bring different perspectives to the dais, but help set a tone for the city’s priorities and goals.
- The State
Anthony Thompson Jr., 17, died during a confrontation with police.
Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Thursday that China hoped the upcoming ASEAN summit on member Myanmar would pave the way for a "soft landing". The in-person summit in Jakarta on Saturday is the first concerted international effort to ease the crisis in Myanmar, where security forces have killed hundreds of pro-democracy protesters since a Feb. 1 coup. The meeting is also a test for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which traditionally refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of a member state, and operates by consensus.
- The Independent
Police identify Mojave desert murder victims from 1980 cold case and link deaths to man in prison for other killings
Woman’s search for biological parents leads police to identify victims
- The Independent
148 bills to give GOP lawmakers more power over elections could be ‘death knell’ for democracy, officials warn
From ‘hijacking’ results to ‘micromanaging’ elections, new report reveals how Republicans are trying to strip oversight to gain permanent control
- The Telegraph
Anas Sarwar has admitted it is a “fair” to call him a hypocrite after he unveiled plans for an attack on private education despite sending his own children to a fee-paying school. Scottish Labour’s manifesto, published Thursday, calls for the charitable status of private schools to be revoked and for any public sector backing for them to end. The document states that such a policy would serve as “a contribution towards achieving a more socially just and inclusive society”. Mr Sarwar, the party leader, sends his own children to Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow, which he also attended, and currently charges annual fees of up to £12,924 per pupil. Asked whether he was a “hypocrite and humbug” for sending his own sons to a private school despite his own party presenting them as a force for social injustice, the father-of-three admitted criticism of him was valid. “I'm open about the fair question and the fair criticism that people make around the decision that my wife and I made for our children,” he said. “I want every child to have opportunity and that's why we put our education comeback plan at the heart of this manifesto. “There are different forms of inequality and prejudice that my children will face that other children won’t face, [but] that still means I accept the criticism around the choice I've made for my children's education.” Mr Sarwar also insisted that his support for the Union was “unequivocal” dispute pledging to “double down” on his attempt to win back support from pro-independence voters in the final fortnight of the Holyrood campaign. The manifesto includes a commitment not to support an independence referendum, warning a repeat vote would cause economic instability and “constitutional turmoil”. Mr Sarwar claimed the “political bubble” was wrong to focus on the constitution and that, despite failing to so far make a breakthrough in opinion polls, his plan to appeal across the constitutional divide was working. He was introduced at the manifesto launch by a business owner from Glasgow who said she was a lifelong SNP voter before switching to Labour. “I'll consider each issue on its merits,” Mr Sarwar said about potentially offering support to Nicola Sturgeon's SNP in the next parliament. “But does that mean I'm equivocating on the constitutional position? Absolutely not. I don't support independence, and I don't support a referendum.” Labour rebranded its manifesto a ‘national recovery plan’ and proposes handing every adult £75 to spend on high streets and offering state subsidised holidays in Scotland to boost the ailing tourism industry. The party did not propose immediate increases to income tax, however. It said if there is a need to raise revenues in the next term, rates should rise for those earning £100,000 or more. The better off could also be hit if Labour gets its way on council tax, which the party said should be scrapped and replaced with “a fairer alternative based on property values and ability to pay”.
- The Independent
‘Do. Not. Come. For. Stacey. Abrams.’
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a 13-month low last week, suggesting layoffs were subsiding and strengthening expectations for another month of blockbuster job growth in April as a re-opening economy unleashes pent-up demand. While the labor market recovery is gaining speed, red flags are emerging in the housing market, the economy's star performer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Realtors warned that expensive homes could become a permanent feature of the market, worsening inequality.
- The Independent
John Kerry criticises Donald Trump for pulling out of Paris accord ‘without any facts, without any science’
Climate envoy said US now working to ‘restore America’s credibility’ as Biden announces ambitious emissions targets
An instrument in the Perseverance rover produces oxygen from the planet's carbon dioxide atmosphere.
- Reuters Videos
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): “D.C. residents are Americans and they deserve the equal rights our national ideals promised them.”The House of Representatives on Thursday voted along party lines to make the District of Columbia the 51st U.S. state.By a vote of 216-208, the Democratic-controlled House approved the initiative.But not without some heated debate… as all House Republicans voted against the move.REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): “HR 51 provides no guarantee to the American people that they will not be on the hook for funding the new state for years, if not decades. This bill is nothing more than an attempt to ignore the constitutional process and gain an advantage in the U.S. Senate.”Since the majority of Washington, D.C. residents lean Democratic, as a state, it likely would elect two Democratic senators… altering the balance of power in the Senate.But Democrats argued statehood would right the wrongs of DC’s slogan: “taxation without representation”… Giving the right to vote-in members of Congress to more than 700,000 American citizens.Half of whom - as New York lawmaker Mondaire Jones pointed out - are Black.“One Senate Republican said that D.C. wouldn’t be a ‘well rounded working class state.’ I had no idea there were so many syllables in the word ‘white.’"Jones slammed Republican opposition to statehood for the nation’s capital, suggesting racism was at play:“One of my House Republican colleagues said that DC shouldn’t be a state because the district doesn’t have a landfill. My goodness, with all the racist trash my colleagues have brought to this debate I can see why they're worried about having a place to put it."Republicans quickly objected to Jones’ words. And he was asked to withdraw them."Mr. Speaker, that's fine."But, Jones didn’t end there…“These desperate objections are about fear. Fear that in D.C., their white supremacist politics will no longer play.”Republicans, accusing Democrats of a "power grab" to advance a "far-left" agenda, are expected to block the bill in the Senate, where 60 of 100 members need to agree to advance most legislation.
- Business Insider
SpaceX is launching 4 astronauts into space on Friday. Here's how the journey will go - from liftoff to splashdown.
SpaceX astronaut flights to and from the International Space Station are becoming routine. But these missions are still high-stakes.
- The Daily Beast
Amit Dave via ReutersThe COVID-19 crisis in India has hit a new low as corrupt scammers are now prowling social media for desperate patients who are willing to pay a premium for hospital bed space and black market drugs. 50 Million People Allowed at Superspreader Festival so Modi Can Secure the Hindu VoteVideo of an undercover sting operation in the Indian city of Rajkot showed a hospital worker selling a hospital bed to a desperate woman whose relative needed critical care. “I won’t take anything less than Rs 9,000,” the worker said, which is about $120. “You will get the bed in 30 minutes.” The family negotiated down to Rs 8,000 and the man called someone inside the hospital who finalized the deal. Within an hour, the sick patient is whisked through a back door of the hospital, skirting the 50 or 60 waiting cars in front. So desperate is the need for coveted hospital space that scenes like this are reportedly playing out across the country as overwhelmed hospitals grapple with a tsunami of patients, critical supply shortages, and an obvious lack of vigilance. Indian Hospitals Run Out of Oxygen After Foreign Sales BoomPolice uncovered the deal after following the initial exchange on social media, where many patients are pleading for help. Hospitals have also used social media platforms to plead for supplies like oxygen and drugs. India, which is the world’s largest producer of generic drugs, has also reached a critical shortage of remdesivir and favipiravir, which have both had moderate success in treating COVID-19 patients. Raman Gaikwad, an infectious diseases specialist at Sahyadri Hospital in the western city of Pune, told the Indian Express that remdesivir manufacturers were ordered to cease production in January because of a decrease in infections. When the latest wave hit, they were left with severe shortages. “One solution to this crisis was to create a stockpile of antiviral drugs when cases were low,” Gaikwad told the paper. “But that did not happen.”A network of activists, including YouTuber Kusha Kapila, have joined together to try to source and share information on hospital bed availability, pharmacy supplies, and food delivery to help people stay away from price gougers on the black market. One of the activists told AFP that there is a new request for help every 30 seconds. An investigation carried out by media outlet India Today trailed a black market ring selling remdesivir for six times the market price. Payments had to be made in cash and the patients were told the drug—which the World Health Organization has said doesn’t even work—would be smuggled out of the hospital. Patients were given injections upon delivery of the cash. On Thursday, India reported a record-breaking 314,000 new COVID-19 infections, the most recorded anywhere in the world since the pandemic began."Covid-19 has hit this country with a ferocity not seen before...but not unexpected either". WARNING - this is a very distressing but necessary report from @yogital, Fred Scott and Sanjay Ganguly on the human catastrophe unfolding in #Delhi. Please watch #CovidIndia #BBCNewsTen pic.twitter.com/A5Pi1nwd0n— Nicola Careem (@NicolaCareem) April 21, 2021 Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Business Insider
LIFTOFF: SpaceX launches 4 astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour, its first time reusing a spaceship on a crewed mission
The Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station launched aboard the same Falcon 9 rocket booster that carried the astronaut mission before it.
- The Independent
Al Sharpton says Minnesota needs ‘air freshener’ for ‘stench of police brutality’ at Daunte Wright’s funeral
Daunte Wright’s family, as well as local and national leaders, all gathered on Thursday to mourn the 20-year-old who was killed by police