By Harriet McLeod CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - A white man was arrested on Thursday on suspicions he killed nine people at a historic African-American church in South Carolina after sitting with them for an hour of Bible study in an attack U.S. officials are investigating as a hate crime. The mass shooting set off an intense 14-hour manhunt that ended when 21-year-old Dylann Roof was arrested in a traffic stop about 220 miles (350 km) north of Charleston, South Carolina, where the shooting occurred, officials said. Wednesday's mass shooting at the almost 200-year-old Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, comes after a year of turmoil and protests over race relations, policing and criminal justice in the United States. A series of police killings of unarmed black men has sparked a renewed civil rights movement under the "Black Lives Matter" banner. Four pastors, including Democratic state Senator Clementa Pinckney, 41, were among the six women and three men shot dead at the church nicknamed "Mother Emanuel," which was burned to the ground in the late 1820s after a slave revolt led by one of its founders. "The fact that this took place in a black church obviously raises questions about a dark part of our history," said U.S. President Barack Obama. "Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun." The United States has seen a series of mass shootings in recent years, including the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults. Democratic efforts to reform the nation's gun laws, protect by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, failed after that incident. GIFT OF A GUN A man who identified himself as Carson Cowles, Roof's uncle, told Reuters that Roof's father had recently given him a .45-caliber handgun as a birthday present and that Roof had seemed adrift. "I don't have any words for it," Cowles, 56, said in a telephone interview. "Nobody in my family had seen anything like this coming." Roof was armed with a handgun but surrendered peacefully at his arrest, said Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen. In a Facebook profile apparently belonging to Roof, a portrait showed him wearing a jacket emblazoned with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and of the former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, both formerly ruled by white minorities. Many of his Facebook friends were black. Roof was arrested on two separate occasions at a shopping mall earlier this year for a drug offense and trespassing, according to court documents. Roof's mother, Amy, declined to comment when reached by phone. "We will be doing no interviews, ever," she said before hanging up. Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of Pinckney, told MSNBC that a survivor told her the gunman reloaded five times during the attack despite pleas for him to stop. "He just said, 'I have to do it. You rape our women and you're taking over our country," Johnson said. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said her office was investigating whether to charge Roof with a hate crime motivated by racial or other prejudice. Under federal and some state laws, such crimes typically carry harsher penalties, but South Carolina is one of just five U.S. states not to have a hate-crimes law. RISING RACIAL TENSIONS Demonstrations have rocked New York, Baltimore, Ferguson in Missouri and other U.S. cities following police killings of unarmed black men including Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and Michael Brown. A white police officer was charged with murder after he shot Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, in the back in April in neighboring North Charleston. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which researches U.S. hate groups, said the attack illustrates the dangers that home-grown extremists pose. "Since 9/11, our country has been fixated on the threat of Jihadi terrorism. But the horrific tragedy at the Emanuel AME reminds us that the threat of homegrown domestic terrorism is very real," the group said in a statement, referring to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. There have been 4,120 reported hate crimes across the United States, including 56 murders, since 2003, the center said. Other victims included three church pastors: DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49, Sharonda Coleman Singleton, 45 and Reverend Daniel Simmons, 74; Cynthia Hurd, a 54-year-old employee of the Charleston County Public Library, and Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70, Tywanza Sanders, 26, and Myra Thompson 59, an associate pastor at the church, according to the county coroner. "This is going to put a lot of concern to every black church when guys have to worry about getting shot in the church," said Tamika Brown, who attended one of several overflow prayer vigils held at Charleston churches. Police in Charleston responded to multiple bomb threats around the city through the course of the day on Thursday. Three people survived the attack. "It is a very, very sad day in South Carolina," Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, in a tearful statement. That grief rang hollow for some civil-rights activists, who noted that the state capital in Columbia still flies the Confederate flag, the rallying symbol of the pro-slavery South during the Civil War. "The reality that racism is alive and well and that we have a problem with guns," said Clayborne Carson, founding director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. "People will throw up their hands and say 'how terrible' and the governor of South Carolina will put the Confederate flag of the state at half staff and then will get back to passing more laws that allow people to carry guns." (Additional reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Brian Snyder in Charleston; Julia Edwards in Washington; Emily Flitter and Alana Wise in New York; David Adams in Miami; Letitia Stein in Tampa, Florida; Randall Hill in Charleston, South Carolina; Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by James Dalgleish and Lisa Shumaker)
- The Independent
Liz Cheney has been ousted from her position in the House Republican Party leadership. The party removed Ms Cheney from her post as conference chairwoman by a voice vote because of her opposition to Donald Trump’s election lies. The motion to remove the Wyoming representative was put forward by Virginia Foxx and supported by GOP leader Kevin McCarthy.
- The Independent
CIA's fake inoculation cover before bin Laden killing led to vaccine drop-off in Pakistan, new report says
Taliban leapt at the opportunity to use the CIA’s operation to radicalise people in the region
- Associated Press
The number of unaccompanied children encountered on the U.S. border with Mexico in April eased from an all-time high a month earlier, while more adults were found coming without families, authorities said Tuesday. Authorities encountered 17,171 children traveling alone, down 9% from 18,960 in March, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but still well above the previous high of 11,475 reported in May 2019 by the Border Patrol, which began publishing numbers in 2009. Overall, the Border Patrol’s 173,460 encounters with migrants on the Mexican border in April were up 3% from 169,213 in March, the highest level since April 2000.
- The Independent
Republicans accuse Democrats of ‘rigging’ elections as divided Senate to consider voting rights bill
Amy Klobuchar says ‘stakes could not be higher’ as deadlocked committee vote signals battle ahead on For The People Act and filibuster
- The Independent
Indian workers lured to New Jersey and forced to work 12 hours a day at $1.20 an hour to help build Hindu temple, says lawsuit
The workers were alleged threatened with pay cuts and arrests if they spoke to outsiders
- The Independent
The families have been pushing the international community to take action since last summer’s protests
- The Independent
‘You are saying things that are not correct’, says infuriated NIAID director
- The Independent
He claimed in 2019 that windmills cause cancer
Sule Square sits on land owned by the country's military, according to a United Nations report.
- Reuters Videos
Two children could be seen leaping from the third floor of the four-storey School Number 175 to escape as gunshots rang out, in a video filmed by an onlooker that was circulated by Russia's RIA news agency.Calling the attack a big tragedy for the whole country, Rustam Minnikhanov, the head of the wider Tatarstan region, said there was no evidence that anyone else had been involved."We have lost seven children...four boys and three girls. And 16 people, 12 children and four adults, are in hospital," Minnikhanov told state TV. "The terrorist has been arrested. He's a 19-year-old who was officially registered as a gun owner."Kazan is the capital of the Muslim-majority region of Tatarstan and located around 450 miles (725 km) east of Moscow.
- The Independent
Republican who backed Arizona ‘audit’ based on Trump’s election lies now says it ‘makes us look like idiots’
‘Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point,’ says Arizona State Senator Paul Boyer
- The Independent
Republicans in the Senate Rules Committee rejected an amendment to the For The People Act that would ban states from restricting volunteers from handing out food or water to people standing in line to vote. The amendment was proposed by Senator Jon Ossoff of Georgia – where Republicans have recently passed a law that criminalises giving out food and water to voters at the polls – as part of his Voter Access to Water Act. Republicans have claimed that allowing people to hand out food and water would encourage electioneering at the polls, which is already illegal.
NEW YORK (Reuters) -U.S. stocks slumped on Wednesday and benchmark Treasury yields jumped after data showed consumer prices unexpectedly rose by the most in nearly 12 years in April, prompting bets on earlier interest rate hikes. Moments after data showed the U.S. consumer price index jumped 0.8% last month, outpacing a 0.2% forecast, the dollar spiked, and by midday had further extended its gains as expectations of rising real interest rates lifted the currency. The gyrations in financial markets underscored concerns among some investors that the Federal Reserve could be wrong in its prediction that inflation pressures in the United States are "transitory", and that the central bank may have to raise rates sooner than it currently expects.
- The Independent
Secret Service agents are prohibited from dating the people they are protecting
- Business Insider
Top Stories this AM: A beauty guru gets sued; Uber's in the 'Champions League' tax dodgers; treating your date to Tesla stock
Kelly Rocklein says she worked for YouTuber James Charles for six months in 2018 and claims he openly used the N-word around her. She's suing for back pay and wrongful termination.
- Idaho Statesman
“We’re gonna need a bigger beach!”
- The New York Times
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden took office in January with little interest in pursuing an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, for understandable reasons. President Bill Clinton hosted an Israeli-Palestinian summit during his first year in the White House. President Barack Obama appointed a Middle East peace envoy on his second full day in office. And before his swearing-in, Donald Trump vowed to secure an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal “which no one else has managed to get.” All of them failed to achieve a peace deal, as did President George W. Bush, who took up the cause later in his presidency. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times Even before the recent explosion of violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip, analysts agreed that prospects for a successful negotiation continued to look hopeless in the near term, with neither side prepared to make concessions the other would demand. Biden and his senior advisers have largely accepted that status quo. Determined to shift the focus of American foreign policy to China from the Middle East and seeing no reliable partner in an unstable Israeli government led by an embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has pursued hard-line positions toward the Palestinians, Biden has issued familiar endorsements of a two-state solution while making little effort to push the parties toward one. But as spiraling riots, rocket attacks on Tel Aviv, Israel, and airstrikes on the Gaza Strip threaten to escalate into a major conflict, calls are growing in the Democratic Party for Biden to play a more active role. Some liberals urge him to more firmly challenge Israeli settlement activity, which makes a peaceful resolution with the Palestinians harder to achieve. “The problem with the Middle East is that you can try to turn your back on it, but it won’t turn its back on you,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and a former special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Biden administration officials on Tuesday publicly called for both sides to show restraint. In recent days, U.S. officials have also pressed Israeli and Palestinian officials in private conversations to avoid inflaming tensions, and issued a successful plea for the postponement of an Israeli court ruling on the eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem that helped lead to recent clashes in the city. Indyk said he did not blame Biden’s approach of “conflict management, rather than conflict resolution,” given the dim prospects for peace after Trump’s presidency, which culminated with a heavily pro-Israel peace plan last year that the Palestinians rejected on arrival. But Indyk said that Biden must now become more active, and he urged the swift appointment to the empty post of American ambassador to Jerusalem. Indyk also noted that the president had not yet spoken with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. He also said the administration should reopen a consulate in East Jerusalem, which had been the United States’ main point of contact with Palestinians before it was closed under Trump. “They need to establish a dialogue with the Palestinians,” Indyk said. The White House disclosed Tuesday that Biden and Abbas had exchanged letters after the 2020 election. U.S. officials have also had private, lower-level contacts with Palestinian officials, including Abbas’ senior adviser, Hussein al-Sheikh. Other Democrats urged Biden to exert more pressure on Israel’s government over settlement activity and territorial claims that they say are making the prospects for an agreement with the Palestinians virtually impossible. “If you stand back and the process of creeping annexation is allowed to continue unchecked, it is going to result in this kind of moment,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the liberal pro-Israel advocacy group J Street. “You can wish this off your priority list, but this is a conflict with very deep-seated problems, and they need attention. And if you leave it untended, it’s going to catch fire, and people are going to get hurt again,” Ben-Ami said. “We are inches away from this blowing out of control.” The Democratic Party has moved to the left on Israel in recent years, partly because of Netanyahu’s strong alliance with Trump and other Republican leaders, and also because many of its younger activists and members of Congress are more openly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than those of Biden’s generation. After the State Department said last week that it was “deeply concerned” about the potential eviction of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem, some Democrats rebuked the Biden administration for failure to act more assertively to stop the Israelis. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland wrote on Twitter that “this is not a moment for tepid statements.” At a briefing Monday, Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, was asked about a tweet by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who said that the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, in a defense of the proposed evictions, had endorsed “ethnic cleansing.” Price said the claim was “not something that our analysis supports.” Some analysts said that even if Biden shared the assessment that more pressure on Israel’s government would be effective, he might be wary of further exacerbating tensions with Israeli leaders anxious about his top priority in the Middle East: an effort to restore the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials have long opposed. Biden also took office at a moment of enormous political flux, with Israel in the midst of several failed efforts to form a lasting government and the Palestinians headed toward elections — since postponed, another source of the current unrest — that complicated efforts to devise a clear U.S. policy. Netanyahu is struggling to hold on to power, and U.S. officials say the influence of Abbas over Palestinian protests and violence, driven by militants and social media, is close to zero. Biden also has memories from his days as vice president of Obama’s call for an Israeli settlement freeze and territorial concessions, which had little effect on policies over the long term but drew fierce political blowback from Republicans and some Democrats who said Obama failed to understand Israel’s security needs. Republicans continue to exploit tensions in the Democratic Party over Israel policy. On Tuesday, Trump issued a statement charging that Biden’s “lack of support for Israel is leading to new attacks on our allies.” But it was unclear what support Trump felt the United States was not providing, given that his own statement of support for Israel’s “right to defend itself” matched Biden administration talking points. Many Democrats, including Biden officials speaking privately, say that Trump is a key cause of the current problems. Halie Soifer, the chief executive of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said that Trump, who fulsomely supported Netanyahu’s pro-settlement policies and defied warnings of Palestinian unrest in moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, “was willing to intervene in Israeli domestic politics and elections to pursue his political agenda, regardless of its impact on the region or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Soifer said that Biden deserved credit for being a supporter, during the Obama administration, of Israel’s so-called Iron Dome anti-rocket system, which has been defending Israeli cities from incoming fire. “Our priority is on restoring calm. Our priority over the longer term may move toward playing some sort of mediating role between Israelis and Palestinians,” Price, the State Department spokesman, told reporters Monday. “But given circumstances on the ground right now — and even before this current flare-up — we’re just not in a position, I think, to see meaningful progress,” he added. “And our policy has recognized that.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- Business Insider
The US just authorized Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine for teenagers, making it the first COVID-19 shot OK'd for 12- to 15-year-olds
US health officials have said they will be ready to start giving the shot to children immediately.
BEIJING (Reuters) -China's factory gate prices rose at the fastest rate in three and a half years in April as the world's second-largest economy gathers momentum after strong first-quarter growth, but economists downplayed the risks to inflation. China's producer price index (PPI), a gauge of industrial profitability, rose 6.8% in April from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said, faster than a 6.5% rise tipped by a Reuters poll of analysts and a 4.4% rise in March. However, the consumer price index (CPI) rose by a mild 0.9% on year, held down by weaker food prices, and analysts said the rising costs from soaring producer prices were unlikely to be fully passed on to consumers.
- The Independent
Senate to consider sweeping federal election legislation as Republicans endorse dozens of bills to limit ballot access in nearly every state