US News

US Justice Dept. to Investigate Baltimore Police

The Justice Department will investigate possible civil rights violations by the Baltimore Police Department  following the death of a black man while under police custody, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Friday. The investigation will look for unconstitutional policing practices within the city, such as patterns of excessive force or improper stops and searches. “Our goal is to work with the community, public officials, and law enforcement alike to create a stronger, better Baltimore,” said Lynch. "Ultimately, this process is meant to ensure that officers are being provided with the tools they need – including training, policy guidance and equipment –…
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Baltimore Mayor Seeks Federal Probe of Police

Baltimore will ask the Justice Department to investigate whether the city's police department employs a pattern of excessive force or discriminatory policing after the death of an African-American man from injuries suffered while in police custody, the mayor said Wednesday. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's request for a probe into possible civil rights violations by the city's police department comes a day after new Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited the city. She said Lynch understands the urgency of her request. The investigation will look into police "patterns and practices" and potential violations of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches and…
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Officials Look for Links Between IS, Texas Attack Gunmen

authorities are trying to determine if there are any connections between the Islamic State group and two gunmen who attacked a contest in Texas where cartoonists drew pictures of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Investigators have been looking at Twitter accounts linked to one of the men as well as electronic devices used by both. Federal authorities confirmed Wednesday a Twitter account belonging to Elton Simpson, one of the gunmen killed Sunday at the event, posted a final tweet about 20 minutes before the shooting that said: "May Allah accept us as mujahideen," or holy warriors. Among the hashtags used by…
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Baltimore Riots Shut Down Baseball, Businesses, Schools

Baltimore is struggling to return to normal following a night of violence, with schools and other key parts of city life shut down. The city's Major League Baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles, used social media to announce its second game postponement Tuesday, after canceling a game Monday night against the Chicago White Sox. "After consultation with MLB & state & local officials, tonight's game between the Orioles & the White Sox at Oriole Park has been postponed," said the Orioles' official Twitter account. Some offices and businesses also opted to close, including the Baltimore campus of the Social Security Administration,…
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Obama: ‘No Excuse’ for Riots in Baltimore

President Barack Obama Tuesday said there's “no excuse” for Monday night's violence in the eastern city of Baltimore and called for those who looted and burned buildings "to be treated as criminals." Riots erupted in the city after the funeral for 25-year-old Freddie Gray, an African-American man who died in police custody earlier this month. Obama said what happened Monday in Baltimore "distracted" from the multiple days of peaceful protests that were focused on what he described as "entirely legitimate concerns" over Gray's death. "There's no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday," Obama said, making his…
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US News

Obama and Castro Meet on Saturday

PANAMA CITY— The White House says President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, are expected to "see each other" on Saturday, in a historic encounter at the Summit of the Americas in Panama. The president's deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, told reporters in Panama City Friday that the two leaders would meet during the summit but that no formal bilateral talks are scheduled at this time. A senior White House official told VOA the two presidents spoke on Wednesday, before Obama left the United States for Jamaica and Panama. Jorge Leganoa, deputy director of Cuba's state-run National…
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Two New York City Women Arrested in Alleged Bomb Plot

Two New York City women have been charged with trying to build a homemade bomb to launch a terrorist attack in the United States. A federal criminal complaint made public Thursday says Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui were arrested on charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. Prosecutors say undercover investigators determined the women were plotting to attack police, government or military targets based on their "violent jihadist beliefs." Authorities say the public was never in danger. The complaint alleges that the defendants possessed propane gas tanks and instructions on how to transform them into explosive devices. According…
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US Military: Human Remains Found in Florida Helicopter Crash

military officials say rescuers have found human remains in the search for an Army helicopter that crashed off the Florida coast with 11 soldiers on board. A spokesman at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida said debris from the wrecked Black Hawk was discovered early Wednesday after the helicopter failed to return to base Tuesday night. Passengers on the helicopter included seven Marines and four crewmen. The Marines were part of a special operations unit based out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, while the aircrew and helicopter belonged to a Hammond, Louisiana Army National Guard unit, base spokesman Andy…
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US Efforts to Arm Syrian Rebels Suffer Setbacks

Meredith Buel efforts to provide weapons to moderate rebels in Syria are suffering setbacks as al-Qaida-linked militants force the collapse of mainstream insurgent groups fighting the Syrian military. Analysts say the developments underscore the risks of a new Pentagon program to train and equip moderate rebels. Recent gains in Syria by the al-Qaida affiliated Nusra Front represent a blow to strategy of identifying and arming groups to oppose the Syrian military, analysts say. An onslaught by Nusra fighters forced the Hazzm movement to collapse in recent days as the moderate rebels fled their headquarters in Aleppo Province. Hazzm was once…
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Kerry Calls for US War Powers to Fight IS

Secretary of State John Kerry called on Congress to approve President Barack Obama's war powers request during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Wednesday "Our nation is strongest when we act together -- and we simply cannot allow this collection of murderers and thugs to achieve its ambitions," Kerry said, noting that the Islamic State militant group has captured large portions of land in Iraq and Syria threatening  "the death or submission of all who oppose it" and "the incitement of terrorist acts across the globe." Key members of Obama's national security team testified before a Senate committee hearing…
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