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Obama: America ‘Not Even Close’ to Heal People-Police Divide

The meeting was called in response to harrowing events last week that have many Americans anxious and upset

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American President meeting with black community in White House. Image Source: www.washingtontimes.com
  • The president said he wanted to bring people into the room with different perspectives to listen to each other
  • After the White House meeting, the president said the good news is that progress has been made in many police departments across the country
  • The conversation on race took place on the same day funerals were held in Dallas for three of the five police officers killed last week

WHITE HOUSE– After a meeting at White House with leaders in law enforcement and prominent members of the black community, President Barack Obama said that America is still nowhere close to healing the decades-long build-up of mistrust between the two sides.

“We’re not there yet, we’re not even close to being where we want to be,” Obama said. “We’re not at a point yet where communities of colour feel confident that their police departments are serving them with dignity and respect and equality and we’re not there yet where police departments feel adequately supported at all levels.”

Obama meets prominent members of the black community. Image Source: time.com
Obama meets prominent members of the black community. Image Source: time.com

A large and diverse group participated in the exchange of ideas, including Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, NAACP President Cornell Brooks, other elected officials, police chiefs from several major cities, activists representing the Black Lives Matter movement, and several faith leaders.

The president said he wanted to bring people into the room with different perspectives to listen to each other.

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The meeting was called in response to harrowing events last week that have many Americans anxious and upset. Two black men were shot by white police officers at point-blank range in the states of Louisiana and Minnesota; five white police officers were then shot at a rally in Texas protesting against those shootings, by a black gunman who said he wanted to kill white people.

After the White House meeting, which went on much longer than planned, the president said the good news is that progress has been made in many police departments across the country. He said Wednesday’s conversation would build off his administration’s “Task Force on 21st Century Policing,” and would share solutions from communities that have already found ways to build trust and reduce racial disparities.

Dallas Shootings. Image Source: indianexpress.com/
Dallas Shootings. Image Source: indianexpress.com/

But he added this sober assessment: “There is no doubt police departments still feel embattled and unjustly accused. There is no doubt that minority communities – communities of colour – feel it just takes too long to do what’s right. The pace of change is going to feel too fast for some, too slow for others.”

Because this is a big country, he added:  “I think it is fair to say we will see more tension between police and communities this month, next month, next year, for quite some time.”

The president said progress on preventing shootings like last week’s incidents will not happen overnight because the roots date back not just decades, but centuries. He said “what we can do” is to set up a series of respectful conversations to make sure we hold ourselves accountable for getting better.

“As a country,” Obama said, “we have to sit down as a country and just grind it out.”

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Image Source: www.dailynews.com
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Image Source: www.dailynews.com

The meeting did, though, produce a list of priorities that Obama said everyone at the table agreed on, which included working with police departments to improve training and de-escalation techniques and creating a “system of accountability” that would grant citizens greater access to data on law enforcement actions.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the conversation on race was extremely urgent, and that although not everyone agreed on everything, the activists, police officers and elected officials present were able to re-establish a sense of common humanity.

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Several participants spoke of a breakthrough moment, saying every single person had a chance to speak, and people felt like they were truly being heard by those normally on the opposite side of the divisive issue of race and law enforcement. Mayor Garcetti said a breakthrough moment for him was when one of the Black Lives Matter activists turned to a police officer and told him he was sorry for the loss of five police officers shot in Dallas last week by a sniper.

John Cornyn. Image Source: politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com
John Cornyn. Image Source: politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com

The conversation on race took place on the same day funerals were held in Dallas for three of the five police officers killed last week. In the U.S. Senate, Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas introduced legislation that would make it a federal crime to kill a police officer. In a statement, Cornyn said:  “As our country continues to grieve following last week’s tragedy in Dallas. We must come together in support of those who risk everything to keep us safe.” (VOA)

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Donald Trump Planning to meet Putin during his Asia tour

Donald Trump's first trip to Asia is the longest international tour.

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US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump. wikimedia commns
  • US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he expected to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his Asia tour.

“I think it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin, yeah. We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders,” Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One before landing at the Yokota Air Base in Japan, Efe reported.

Putin is scheduled to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, which Trump will also attend as part of his long Asia tour.

The North Korean nuclear threat is expected to dominate Donald Trump’s meetings in Japan and the next two stages of his tour, South Korea and China, where he will have a highly anticipated sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The remainder of the tour will be more focused on economic issues, with Trump scheduled to take part in the APEC meeting in Da Nang and then in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and the East Asia Summit in the Philippines.

Donald Trump’s first trip to Asia is the longest international tour by a US head of state since the one then-President George H.W. Bush embarked on in 1992.

Bush became ill at the end of that trip, famously vomiting on the Japanese prime minister’s lap at a formal dinner before fainting.(IANS)

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US Shares List of 20 Terrorist Groups Operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan with Pakistani Authorities

Top on the list is the Haqqani Network which, the US claims, has safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and uses them to launch attacks into Afghanistan.

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According to media reports, US has shared list of terror groups operating in Pakistan with authorities in Islamabad. Wikimedia

Washington, November 2, 2017 : The White House retains a list of 20 terrorist groups that it claims are operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan and is believed to have shared this list with Islamabad, the media reported on Thursday.

However, the list was not given to Pakistani authorities by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he visited Islamabad last week, diplomatic sources told Dawn news.

The White House list includes three types of militant groups: those who launch attacks into Afghanistan, those who attack targets inside Pakistan and those who are focused on Kashmir.

Top on the list is the Haqqani Network which, the US claims, has safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and uses them to launch attacks into Afghanistan.

Pakistan strongly rejects the charge, saying that there were no such safe havens inside the country.

The US also identified Lashkar-e-Taiba as one of the largest and most active terrorist organisations in South Asia.

The other militant groups in the list include Harakatul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Jundullah, Lashkar-i-Jhanghvi and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. (IANS)

 

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John F. Kennedy’s Assassination : Trump Promises to Release all Documents

Trump said he is doing this for reasons of full disclosure, transparency and in order to put any and all conspiracy theories to rest.

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President John F. Kennedy's hand
President John F. Kennedy's hand, visible through the foreground convertible's windshield, reaches toward his head within seconds of the firing of the fatal shot as first lady Jacqueline Kennedy holds his forearm, with the motorcade proceeding along Elm Street past the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. VOA

Washington, October 29, 2017 : US President Donald Trump has promised to publish all documents on John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 to guarantee transparency and end any conspiracy theory on the event.

“After strict consultation with General Kelly, the CIA and other agencies, I will be releasing ALL JFK files other than the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living,” Trump said on his Twitter account, Efe news reported.

“I am doing this for reasons of full disclosure, transparency and in order to put any and all conspiracy theories to rest.”

Trump had on Thursday authorised the National Archives to release 2,891 previously unpublished documents on the historic landmark, but decided to retain some of them because of what official sources described as CIA and FBI pressures.

ALSO READ Trump Delays Release of Hundreds of John F Kennedy Assassination Files, Citing National Security

“I have no choice –today– but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our Nation’s security,” Trump said in a memo on Thursday.

However, Trump gave his agencies six months until April 26, 2018, to review the reasons for their decision to keep certain documents related to John F. Kennedy’s assassination hidden and to minimize censored extracts so that they could be published as soon as possible.

He was not satisfied with his agencies’ insistence on keeping some materials secret and decided to give them more time to review them with the idea of publishing more documents, although the White House has not given a clear timeline for the next release. (IANS)