Thursday, 18 January 2018
USA & CANADA

USA & CANADA (175)

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Trayvon Martin: Handgun used by George Zimmerman to kill unarmed black teenager fetches £82k on auction site

Wednesday, 18 May 2016 00:00 Written by

The hotly contested auction saw around seven prospective buyers chip in offers for the the Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm handgun on the United Gun Group website

 

The handgun George Zimmerman used to kill an unarmed black teenager has reportedly fetched an eye-popping $120,000 (£82,191) following an online bidding war.

The hotly contested auction saw around seven prospective buyers chip in offers for the Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm handgun on the United Gun Group website.

 

Earlier reports suggested Zimmerman, who shot and killed Martin at his Florida home in February 2012, had scooped a whopping $138,900 (£95,136) for the firearm after bidding closed at midday today.

But after fake bidders, including one named Racist McShootface, sabotaged the auction by jacking up the price artificially, his attempts to cash in that sum were thwarted.

Alabama-based John Smith, however, was named as the eventual winner after placing his bid in the final moments, according to The Guardian .

 

 

REUTERS The handgun used in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin
The handgun used in the shooting of Trayvon Martin

 

However, reports from TMZ , who broke the the story, suggest the identity of the winning bidder is not yet known due to the auction site's rules.

The auction was branded a "national shame" by Leonard Pitts, a Pulitzer-winning columnist for the Miami Herald.

 

Trayvon Martin
Trayvon Martin was killed at his Florida home in February 2012

 

Zimmerman was at the centre of a major firearm debate in America after he was acquitted of all charges over the death of 17-year-old Trayvon at a 2013 trial.

Some of the proceeds from the sale of the gun, described as "an American Firearm icon", will be donated to Black Lives Matter, an American civil rights movement, according to Zimmerman.


Eight killed in execution-style US shootings

Saturday, 23 April 2016 00:00 Written by

 

Eight members of one family, including a teenager, were executed with a bullet to the head in rural Ohio on Friday.

Seven bodies were found at three nearby homes and an eighth was later found at a fourth site, Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader told reporters.

The victims were "all adults except for a male juvenile" who was 16 years old, he said, adding that all were members of a single family.

The authorities gave no possible motive. And, with at least one suspected gunman still on the loose, no arrests have been made.

"Each one of the victims appears to have been executed, each one of the victims appears to have been shot in the head," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.

"The preliminary determination has been made that none of the individuals committed suicide," he added, saying the shooter or shooters "are still at large. We do not know their location."

Several victims were in bed when they were shot, Reader said.

Two babies — one aged four days, the other six months — and a three-year-old child survived the shootings, he added.

The first and fourth crime scenes are separated by 30 miles (50 kilometres), the sheriff's office said.

Earlier, DeWine and Reader said in a joint statement that the first seven victims had been found "in three Union Hill Road homes in Pike County," a rural community about 80 miles east of Cincinnati.

There was no "active shooter," they said.

Schools in Pike County and surrounding areas were earlier placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure, WLWT reported.

Agents from the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation were leading the investigation, the statement said.

Ohio Governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich tweeted that the situation was "beyond comprehension."

Firearms kill some 30,000 people in the United States each year.

However, Republican lawmakers, many of whom are backed by the powerful


American Couple Found Guilty of Harvesting Organs from Ghanaian Daughter

Thursday, 31 March 2016 00:00 Written by

Matthew and Grace Huang, an Asian-American couple, were sentenced Thursday to three years in prison in a Qatar court for starving their adopted daughter to death.

The Huangs, parents to three adopted children, were accused by prosecutors of killing their daughter in order to harvest her organs.

As reported by BBC News, the charges that landed the Huangs in jail were not announced, but outside the court, Mr. Huang presented greater detail.

“We have just been wrongfully convicted, and we feel as if we are being kidnapped by the Qatar judicial system,” said Mr. Huang. “This verdict is wrong and appears to be nothing more than an effort to save face.”

Mr. Huang added, “They accused us of killing our daughter to harvest her organs. That’s how ridiculous this is. This verdict should be overturned immediately.”

Along with the prison sentence, the couple has to pay 15,000 Qatari riyals, or $4,100, in fines. After serving their sentences in Qatar, the couple will be deported. The defense team has been granted 15 days to appeal the sentence and have plans to put that in to motion.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Huang were arrested in Qatar’s capital city, Doha, back in January 2013, after the death of 9-year-old Gloria (pictured above with her two brothers). The Huang family adopted Gloria from Ghana and have two other adopted children (pictured) also from Africa.

The Huang family arrived in Qatar, after the husband reportedly moved the family to the country for work. Their other children are residing with family back in America.

Via their website, the Huang family claims that Gloria’s death happened as a result of an eating disorder she developed while living in Ghana, but Qatar police officials determined that the Huang family was harvesting the girl’s organs although a second postmortem investigation reportedly revealed that no evidence of organ tampering was found.

Shockingly, this is not the only case dealing with organ harvesting. In 2011, Catholic Online reported on African refugees, attempting to relocate to Israel, having their kidneys and livers removed while they were alive and then being left to die. Then a Somali girl was reportedly smuggled out of her country to Britain for her organs, according to the New York Post, last October. Her case was of particular significance because it was the first time that authorities saw a child being trafficked specifically for her organs.

Another high-profile organ-harvesting, kidnapping case involved the “humanitarian organization” Zoe’s Ark. Back in 2007, Chad’s President Idriss Deby accused the organization of trying to kidnap 103 children and take them to France for illegal adoptions and organ-harvesting. At the time, President Deby told NPR, “Clearly, their goal was to kidnap and steal these kids from their parents, and sell them to pedophile organizations in Europe, or kill them and sell their organs.”


The Americas' Welcomes Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President Foreign Affairs & the Diaspora.

Saturday, 26 March 2016 00:00 Written by

.Once again Prof Isa Odidi-Canada and Francis John USA congratulate you on your appointment as the newly appointed and most suitable Senior Special Assistant to the President Foreign Affairs & the Diaspora.  

 

This is in furtherance of your selfless services to humanities, before, now and in continuation of your goodwill towards Diaspora. The appointment came at a better time for you to complete all pending diaspora issues which are well known to you.

Meanwhile, Americas are more than eager to work with you at any given time, in more than the following areas and when you make yourself available. While appreciative of President Muhammadu Buhari's intent towards Diaspora are very numerous.  Meanwhile, find below  a few expectations:

·         We enjoin a thorough communication cutting across all geopolitical groups, ethnicity and professionalism

·         Create effective communications (most particularly directed to you) will help with short term or interim solutions.

·         Improve on $21 billion Diaspora yearly remittance by creating incentives.

·         Technocrats and Professional be persuaded to take their businesses home and woo investors.

·         Must fix timeframe, structure and logistics to Diaspora Commission and Diaspora voting by 2019 fixed

·         Specifically, publicly task Diaspora, spell it out.

·         Facilitate the representation of Diaspora in African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

·         Establish Diaspora Bureau, Diaspora Information Data Bank, Diaspora Volunteers, Diaspora Bank, Annual Diaspora Summit, Diaspora Chamber of Commerce, Diaspora Desk at all levels.

All these and many more will make your tenure in office, the most successful. A legacy we are sure you will earn you more than expected accolades like: Mama Diaspora – Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa – The Wonder Worker!

Several diaspora discussions are in progress cutting across the globe with: Ghana: Neseer N Yakasai, Asia: Korode Oluwagbenga, United Kingdom: Eric Onokif, William John, Temitayo Bowyer, Canada: Dr. Kay Alabi, President/CEO  Visible Minority Radio and TV Network (VMRTN), Michael Kehinde Abiodun (Publisher; OASESNEWS), North Cyprus: Amorous Taiwo, Jordan: Abdulganiyu A Adagiri, Saudi Arabia: Abbas Ahmed, Russia: Dr. Mohammed Sagir, South Africa: Engr. Babarinde, USA: Lanrewaju Lawal, Dr. Francis Ugbolu, Iyke Harrison, Mesi Ada Usiade, Ngozi Orabueze, France: Ibifunro Thomas Tatua, Ireland: Jacob Out, Mustapha Garba. These personalities are consistently talking about Agriculture, Alternative Energy, Waste Management and Mining investors pull to Nigeria, reason why listening ears are given.

We are facilitating your Townhall meeting at New York to be successful, scheduled for this Friday March 25, 2016 at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.  Taking place at LaGuardia Plaza Hotel by LaGuardia Airport, the address is: 104-04 Ditmars Boulevard East Elmhurst. Proud to say, It's one of our own organizing the Townhall meeting. Many more of these meetings are encouraged with a spread to nook and crannies of each country as to holding meetings in one place - all the time.

Please check out your calendar, Kansas City is open to host you between May 12th to 15th. This will coincide with the upcoming 1St Diaspora Mega Convention, meanwhile, arrangements are in top gear and some of your trusted confrères are in the planning committee.

 

Francis John, Kansas City - Missouri

+816.359.8527


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Hot-looking woman wraps her feces and places it in her purse during date after man’s toilet did not flush

Saturday, 26 March 2016 00:00 Written by

A woman of Canada, went on social media to share her horrific story after using a man’s bathroom during her date.

The woman who identified herself as Makala from Toronto and goes by the Twitter name Blotty, said that she was invited for a date to a man’s home.

During the date, Makala said that she needed to use the bathroom, but it turned into a nightmare when the toilet did not work properly. 

Makala wrote about her embarrassing situation on Twitter, and she shared a photo of her conversation with her sister while trying to figure out how to save herself from being humiliated.

“I am a confident, calm and self-assured woman so I felt comfortable using his bathroom,” she wrote.

However, she said that she soon found “this was a mistake” because his toilet didn't flush properly.

“I panicked, and flushed it a million times, making it worse,” she said. When she realized that she has been in the toilet for too long, she became frantic.

There was one single piece that refused to go down. “So in that moment, something came over me,” she wrote.

Makala said she took toilet paper and wrapped the feces in a few layers and placed it into her purse.

When she came out, she was scared that the poop will smell or fall out of her purse. She wrote to her sister and asked what to do.

She told her sister: “He's in love with me, but I can never face him again.” Her sister advised her to go outside and pretend to be smoking, and discard the waste.

Makala said that before they went outside, the man went to use the bathroom and she heard him flush. She realized that he must have fixed the toilet.

She then took her purse into the bathroom and flushed the feces. The Twitter posts went viral and was shared many times.
 

Donald Trump Makes Another Anti-Muslim "Hate" Comment

Saturday, 12 March 2016 00:00 Written by

Republican front-runner in the American Presidential race, Donald Trump, has once again lashed out at Muslims in a recent interview with CNN.

"I think Islam hates us, "We have to get to the bottom of it, There is a tremendous hatred of us ."the billionaire told CNN's Anderson Cooper when asked whether the religion was at war with the West.

"And we can't allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States," he added.

Trump had in December caused uproar after he said there will be a complete ban of muslims entering the U.S if he were elected president.

 

US drone attack 'kills 150 Shabaab' militants - BBC

Tuesday, 08 March 2016 00:00 Written by

A United States drone strike has killed more than 150 Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, the Pentagon says.

The US attack was executed on March 5, a day before more than 2,000 weapons were seized on a Somalia-bound boat by the Australian Navy on Sunday, two blows likely to cripple the terror militia.

The Australian Navy suspected the weapons were for arming the Al-Shabaab terror group.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said the strike hit Raso training camp where a "large-scale" attack was being planned against US and Amisom troops in the country.

"We know they were going to be departing the camp and they posed an imminent threat to US and [African Union] forces," Captain Davis said.

"Initial assessments are that more than 150 terrorist fighters were eliminated," he added.

Mr Davis said the strike, on Saturday, targeted a camp about 120 miles (195km) north of the capital, Mogadishu.

The camp had been under surveillance for some time ahead of the drone strike, according to Mr Davis.

"There was a sense that the operational phase was about to happen," he said.

He said the group had neared the completion of specialist training to conduct "offensive operations", but did not give any details about the alleged plot.

AUSTRALIAN NAVY

More than 2,000 weapons including assault rifles, rocket launchers and machine guns were found hidden under fishing nets in a Somalia-bound boat, Australian Navy officials said Monday.

The HMAS Darwin navy ship seized the weapons from the vessel during normal patrol of the Middle East-Eastern Africa coast waters.

Sunday’s recovery of the weapons could signal a continual but clandestine attempt by the Shabaab to keep their supply of arms despite a global operation against the terror group.

On Monday, Australia’s Vice Admiral David Johnston who is also the Chief of Joint Operations for the multi-nation patrol operation called Combined Maritime Forces, said the seizure of weapons could be significant even though there was no revelation of their origin.

KDF OPERATIONS

In February this year, the Kenya Defence Forces raided Al-Shabaab training camps in two attacks, killing 53 terrorists including the group's deputy leader in the first attack, and killing 20 other terrorists in the second attack at the Sidimo camp.

The first attack killed Al-Shabaab's deputy emir, the second in command and heat of its intelligence wing, the Amniyaat, Mahad Karate, also known as Abdirahim Mohamed Warsame.

The raid happened on February 8, but details of the attack at an Al-Shabaab base between Buale and Sukow were delayed to allow for forensic confirmation to ascertain its leader was among those killed.

The second attack was conducted on February 18. KDF ground troops raided an Al-Shabaab camp in Sidimo, killing 20 terrorists, among them explosives expert Maalim Sheriff.

They found 16 AK-47 rifles, six improvised explosives, two pistols, eight rocket propelled grenades and assorted ammunition.

Sustained operations have been ongoing since the attack at a KDF camp in El-Adde.

“Karate had gone to the camp to preside over the passing out of an estimated 80 Alamnyat recruits who had completed their training and were due for deployment to carry out terrorist attacks. It is confirmed that 42 recruits were killed and others sustained injuries,” said military spokesman David Obonyo.

Karate is believed to have played a key role in the El-Adde attack

Al-Shabab, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, was pushed out of Mogadishu by African Union peacekeeping forces in 2011 but has continued to launch frequent attacks in its bid to overthrow the Western-backed government.

The group has said it carried out a string of recent attacks including a twin bombing at a busy restaurant in the Somali city of Baidoa last month.


Trumpisms: Political Insults Erode Voters' Faith

Saturday, 27 February 2016 00:00 Written by

At heart, politics is a war of words. And sometimes, the pithiest phrases make the biggest impact.

As Donald Trump's primary campaign has shown, snappy insults can boost a candidate's stature among supporters, a factor that may play out more strongly than ever in social-media echo chambers. Unfortunately, political one-liners may also lead voters to have less faith in the political process, and in politicians more generally, experts say.  

With another Republican primary debate coming tonight (Feb. 25) and on March 3, the candidates will likely strive to produce the most memorable quotes of the night. This sort of attention seeking is particularly important in a crowded field, like that of the Republican primary, said Jacob Neiheisel, a political scientist at the University of Buffalo in New York.

"Anything you can do to garner free media or any kind of attention whatsoever is probably not the worst thing," Neiheisel told Live Science. [Quiz: Bizarre Presidential Elections]

Political insults

The insults of this primary season have been particularly memorable, if not always mature. "You are the single biggest liar," Trump told Sen. Ted Cruz at the Feb. 13 debate. "Adults learn not to interrupt each other," Cruz snapped at Trump at another point in the evening. Trump, for his part, has made insulting people the central point of his campaign. In less than 48 hours in mid-February, Trump wrote on Twitter that Fox News host Megyn Kelly should "get a life," called Sen. Lindsey Graham a "dumb mouthpiece" and mocked Jeb Bush for wearing contacts instead of glasses.

There have been tense exchanges on the Democratic side, too. After Sen. Bernie Sanders criticized Hillary Clinton for turning to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for advice, she shot back that no one knows who Sanders listens to on foreign policy, a jab at his perceived lack of expertise. Sanders quickly responded, "Well, it ain't Henry Kissinger." 

Insults may drive morning-after headlines, but it's not entirely clear what role they play in swaying voters. No one has directly studied the effects of a really sick burn on people's perceptions of candidates, Neiheisel said. [10 Historically Significant Political Protests]

There are many studies on incivility in politics, which might overlap with the headline-worthy debate insult. That research generally finds that mudslinging campaigns aren't great for the democratic process. In a 2005 study published in the journal American Political Science Review, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University in California created mock television debates for participants to watch. In some versions of the debates, the politicians (played by actors) were polite and civil. They didn't interrupt, they listened patiently to their opponents, and they acknowledged their opponents' points before providing their own answers.

In other versions, the politicians made the same arguments using most of the same words, but tried to interrupt, huffed and rolled their eyes when their opponents talked, and prefaced their answers with phrases like "you're really missing the point."

Participants who had seen the uncivil debates subsequently reported less trust in politicians, in Congress and in the entire United States political system than people who'd watched civil versions of the debates. A follow-up experiment tested galvanic skin responses, which reveal tiny changes in perspiration that signal agitation, and found that just watching a heated back-and-forth gets people hyped up, physiologically speaking. [Oh Snap: 10 Memorable Political One-Liners]

Media translations

For an outsider candidate like Trump, fomenting distrust in the political process might be a positive side effect of slinging insults. Politicians aren't just seeking to sway new voters at debates, Neiheisel pointed out — they also want to firm up their supporters and ensure those people are excited enough to vote.

"Candidates might have different objectives other than changing minds," he told Live Science.

Another question is how much control politicians have over their messages. An analysis of primary debate content published in a political science textbook in 2002 found that 75 percent of utterances in debates were about policy; 25 percent were about candidate character. Ohio University communications researcher William Benoit, who conducted that analysis, said he also found that candidates are generally more positive and policy-focused than the media, which disproportionately reports negativity and underreports on policy. It's quite possible that a policy-filled debate can be reduced to verbal jabs and jousts in news reports, skewing the public's perception of what candidates are saying, according to Benoit's research.

The latest wrench in the machinery is social media, which amplifies direct communication — and in-your-face voices like Trump's. Political science research on social media indicates that tweets and Facebook posts do have some impact on elections, but the details of what kind of tweets and posts sway voter opinion remain murky. A 2012 study on Facebook's "I voted" feature found that a get-out-the-vote message sent to 61 million users influenced 340,000 people to cast ballots who otherwise would not have made it to the polls.

However, a 2015 report by the University of Oxford's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that in the United Kingdom, at least, traditional media remains more influential in securing voter engagement than does social media. That could change, though, if the growth in social media continues, the study noted.

To the extent that candidates are comfortable slinging insults online, their tone might influence the way everyday people talk to one another about politics, Neiheisel said.

"The things that elites talk about, the candidates, filter down," Neiheisel said. "I would have to imagine that the way in which they speak to each other would probably filter out into the electorate and serve as a model for how the electorate speaks about politics."

If bomb-throwing Twitter feeds like Trump's become more normal and do influence the overall political discourse, it would represent a shift. Despite stereotypes about dueling social media trolls, a Pew Research Center study from 2014 found that people's tendency to tiptoe around politics extends to the Internet. That research used the case of Edward Snowden, who revealed information about U.S. government surveillance, to ask people how likely they were to discuss a politically divisive topic on Facebook and Twitter.

Results showed that people were actually less likely to launch a discussion online than in person, with 86 percent of people saying they'd be willing to talk about U.S. surveillance face-to-face with someone, but only 42 percent saying they'd post about the topic on Facebook or Twitter. [The 7 Craziest Intelligence Leaks in U.S. History]

Notably, most people don't seem to relish a fight: Both online and in person, people said they were unlikely to talk about Snowden or surveillance in situations in which they thought their audience would disagree with them. So far, at least, it seems that the American public is less combative than the candidates they vote for.


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