Black Americans laud Juneteenth holiday, say more work ahead
Black Americans rejoiced Thursday after President Joe Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday, but some said that, while they appreciated the recognition at a time of racial reckoning in America, more is needed to change policies that disadvantage too many of their brethren.
“It’s great, but it’s not enough,” said Gwen Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Kansas City. Grant said she was delighted by the quick vote this week by Congress to make Juneteenth a national holiday because “it’s been a long time coming.”
But she added that “we need Congress to protect voting rights, and that needs to happen right now so we don’t regress any further. That is the most important thing Congress can be addressing at this time.”
Israel strikes Gaza after Hamas fires incendiary balloons
Israel launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip late Thursday for a second time since a shaky cease-fire ended last month’s 11-day war. The strikes came after activists mobilized by Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers launched incendiary balloons into Israel for a third straight day.
There were no immediate reports of casualties from the strikes, which could be heard from Gaza City. Israel also carried out airstrikes early Wednesday, targeting what it is said were Hamas facilities, without killing or wounding anyone.
The military said fighter jets struck Hamas “military compounds and a rocket launch site” late Thursday in response to the balloons. It said its forces were preparing for a “variety of scenarios including a resumption of hostilities.”
Top general ‘shocked’ by AP report on AWOL guns, mulls fix
Shocked by an Associated Press investigation into the loss and theft of military guns, the Pentagon’s top general signaled Thursday that he will consider a “systematic fix” to how the armed services keep account of their firearms.
The AP’s investigation reported how some of the missing guns have been stolen and later used in violent street crimes, while many others have vanished without a clue from the military’s enormous supply chains.
In all, AP identified at least 1,900 guns that the four armed services recorded as lost or stolen during the 2010s. Most came from the Army. Because some of the service branches provided incomplete data -- or none at all -- that total is a certain undercount.
Scotch whisky makers welcome suspension of costly US tariffs
Scotch single malt whisky makers breathed a sigh of relief Thursday after the United States agreed to suspend tariffs on one of Scotland’s main exports in the wake of the resolution of a long-standing transatlantic trade row over subsidies to aircraft companies Boeing and Airbus.
President Donald Trump imposed the 25% tariffs on select products of the European Union, including Scotch single malt whiskies, in October 2019 as part of the trade dispute. While the U.K. is no longer an EU member, it belonged to the bloc when the tariffs were introduced.
Earlier this week, the U.S. and the EU reached an agreement to end the aerospace dispute, paving the way for a 5-year suspension of tariffs. Parallel talks were held between the U.S. and the U.K. over the tariffs.
Weird ‘living fossil’ fish lives 100 years, pregnant for 5 years
The coelacanth — a giant weird fish still around from dinosaur times — can live for 100 years, a new study found.
These slow-moving, people-sized fish of the deep, nicknamed a “living fossil,” are the opposite of the live fast, die young mantra. These nocturnal fish grow at an achingly slow pace.
Females don’t hit sexual maturity until their late 50s, the study said, while male coelacanths are sexually mature at 40 to 69 years. And maybe strangest of all, researchers figure pregnancy in the fish lasts about five years.
Coelacanths, which have been around for 400 million years, were thought extinct until they were found alive in 1938 off South Africa. Scientists long believed coelacanths live about 20 years. But by applying a standard technique for dating commercial fish, French scientists calculated they actually live close to a century, according to a study in Thursday’s Current Biology.
St. Louis gun-waving couple pleads guilty to misdemeanors
A St. Louis couple who gained notoriety for pointing guns at social justice demonstrators pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor charges, but the man left the courthouse defiantly pledging to “do it again” if faced with the same circumstances.
Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and was fined $2,000. Her husband, Mark McCloskey, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault and was fined $750. They also agreed to give up the weapons they used during the confrontation.
When several hundred demonstrators marched past their home in June of 2020, the couple waved weapons at them. They claimed the protesters were trespassing and that they feared for their safety.
Al Jazeera News
US Congress chips away at law used to justify Soleimani strike
The House of Representatives has voted to repeal the United States’ 2002 declaration of war against Iraq, a law used by former President Donald Trump to justify the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
Thursday’s action, coming on a bipartisan vote of 268 to 161, now must be approved by the Senate and will accelerate Congress’s reassessment of the US military posture in the Middle East with President Joe Biden’s backing.
The Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) had been granted to former President George W Bush in 2002 enabling the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.
‘Fear and panic’ as COVID ravages Nepali villages near Mt Everest
When Saraswati Tamang Karki fell ill with COVID-19 in a small village near Mount Everest, her family had to call on Nepalese soldiers and trekking guides to help take her to the nearest doctor.
On June 11, a group of 13 men took turns carrying the 44-year-old on a stretcher, hurrying up and down the narrow and winding dirt paths that lead from the village of Monju to the Pasang Lhamu Nicole Niquille Hospital in the nearby town of Lukla.
They made the 15-kilometre (nine-mile) trip in less than four hours, but they were too late.
Karki died just before the group reached Lukla.
International powers promise to help Lebanon’s crisis-hit army
A number of countries have promised to provide Lebanon’s army with emergency aid to prevent its collapse in the face of the deepest political and economic crisis afflicting the nation – although they did not provide details on the assistance offered.
Lebanese Army Chief Joseph Aoun told Thursday’s virtual meeting of world powers, which was organised by France, that the nation faced dire consequences if the country’s crises persisted and military salaries continued to tumble.
“How can a soldier support a family with a salary that does not exceed $90?” he said in a video, published on the army’s Twitter account.
“The situation is critical. If unmitigated, the economic and financial crisis will inevitably lead to the collapse of all state institutions including the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF),” he said.
Chinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden order
US President Joe Biden’s executive order aimed at safeguarding Americans’ sensitive data would force some Chinese apps to take tougher measures to protect private information if they want to remain in the US market, people familiar with the matter told the Reuters news agency.
The goal is to keep adversaries like China and Russia from gaining access to large amounts of personal and proprietary business information.
The US Department of Commerce may issue subpoenas to collect information about certain smartphone, tablet and desktop computer software applications. Then, the agency may either negotiate conditions for their use in the United States or ban the apps, according to people familiar with the matter.
US Supreme Court backs Nestle, Cargill in child slave labour suit
The United States Supreme Court on Thursday sided with food giants Nestle and Cargill in a lawsuit that claimed they knowingly bought cocoa beans from farms in Africa that used child slave labour.
The justices ruled 8-1 in favour of the food companies and against a group of six adult citizens of Mali who claimed they were taken from their country as children and forced to work on cocoa farms in neighbouring Ivory Coast.
The justices said an appeals court was wrong to let the group’s lawsuit go forward.
“Although respondents’ injuries occurred entirely overseas, the Ninth Circuit held that respondents could sue in federal court because the defendant corporations allegedly made ‘major operational decisions’ in the United States. The Ninth Circuit erred by allowing this suit to proceed,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a majority opinion for the court.
Officers, sergeants resign en masse from Portland’s Rapid Response Team crowd control unit
Officers who serve on the Portland Police Bureau’s specialized crowd control unit, known as the Rapid Response Team, voted to resign from the team during a meeting Wednesday night then alerted the chief’s office.
The unprecedented move by about 50 officers, detectives and sergeants to disband their own team came a day after a team member, Officer Cody Budworth, was indicted, accused of fourth-degree assault stemming from a baton strike against a protester last summer.
A team lieutenant called Chief Chuck Lovell to inform him Wednesday night after members of the team, who volunteer for the assignment, voted to resign due to perceived lack of support from City Hall and from the district attorney over the past year during more than 100 consecutive nights of protest coverage. The indictment of one of the team’s officers appeared to be the last straw.
Tropical Storm Warnings Issued For Gulf Coast Ahead of Potential Tropical Depression
A tropical or subtropical depression is expected to form in the western Gulf of Mexico, and no matter how well organized this system becomes, it poses a threat of flooding rain along a part of the northern U.S. Gulf Coast heading into Father's Day weekend. This system could also contribute to coastal flooding, dangerous rip currents and gusty winds.
Tropical storm conditions are likely along portions of the northern Gulf Coast this weekend and tropical storm warnings have been issued from Intercoastal City, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border. This warning includes New Orleans.
For now, this system is being called a Potential Tropical Cyclone by the National Hurricane Center. This designation is used by the NHC to give an early heads up to residents along the coast that winds of at least 40 mph are possible within the next two days.
Manchin Offers A Voting Bill Compromise, But Key Republicans Swiftly Reject It
An attempt by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin to float a compromise proposal on Democratic-led efforts to enact sweeping voting and election reforms was swiftly criticized by the chamber's Republican leader on Thursday.
Manchin has frustrated many voting advocates and fellow Democrats by coming out in opposition to the party's far-reaching election and campaign fundraising measure — S.1, the For the People Act — because it doesn't have bipartisan support. Instead, Manchin has backed a narrower bill named after the late civil rights icon John Lewis.
But on Wednesday, the West Virginia Democrat, who holds a crucial centrist position in the evenly divided Senate, laid out a larger series of provisions he'd support.
Manchin's pitch, which highlights how much power moderates continue to hold in thorny Senate negotiations, includes:
Horseshoe Crab Orgy Happening Off Of The Coast Of New Jersey
Strong tides from new and full moons strand thousands of horseshoe crabs along the Delaware Bay shore in Cape May County each year. And then they mate.
The Delaware Bay is home to the largest horseshoe crab spawning location in the world, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Its beaches have a sand and pebble mixture perfect for incubating horseshoe crab eggs.
During spawning, a female crab will partially bury herself in the sand while she lays a cluster of about 4,000 tiny green eggs.
11 Photos From NASA Photographer Bill Ingalls, Space Award Winner
Bill Ingalls hasn't been to the moon, but his photos over the more than three decades as NASA's top photographer could convince you otherwise.
Ingalls is the 2021 winner of the Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award announced Wednesday by the Space Foundation, a nonprofit space advocacy organization, which said his photos have contributed greatly to the public's understanding of aeronautics and its impact on humankind.
"Bill Ingalls' gifts and contributions to the global space community in capturing the people, missions and achievements of space exploration across more than three decades makes him a more-than-worthy recipient of this award," Space Foundation CEO Tom Zelibor said in a news release.
Rolling Blackouts Possible Thursday As CA Flex Alert Called
The California Independent System Operator is warning residents and businesses that rolling blackouts are possible between 5 and 10 p.m. on Thursday, as the agency issued a statewide Flex Alert.
The power grid is expected to be stressed as a multi-state heatwave drags on.
"The public's help is essential when extreme weather or other factors beyond our control put undue stress on the electric grid," said Elliot Mainzer, president and chief executive officer of the ISO. "We have seen the huge impact that occurs when consumers pitch in and limit their energy use. Their cooperation can really make a difference."
Good News Network
Instead of Skipping Graduation to Work at Waffle House, His Boss and Co-Workers Cooked up Miracles to Get Him There
As we all know, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry—and sometimes those of high school seniors do as well.
Timothy Harrison of Center Point, Alabama planned to attend his high school graduation. He’d even cleared it with his boss to take time off. But when the day of the ceremony dawned, Harrison found himself stranded.
The event was being held an hour away from home. With his family members working and no one able to drive him there, much to the surprise of his manager, Cedric Hampton, Harrison showed up for his regular 7 a.m. shift at the local Waffle House.