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Protesters demand firing of Utah cop who pulled gun on child
Sat, June 15, 2019 02:04 EDT
WOODS CROSS, Utah (AP) — About 100 protesters gathered outside a police agency in northern Utah to demand an officer who pulled his gun on a 10-year-old child last week be fired.
The crowd carried Black Lives Matter signs Friday evening and others protesting the incident, including one that said “Hey Cops! Don’t pull guns at our kids.”
The officer’s actions drew criticism after Jerri Hrubes said the white police officer pulled his gun on her son, DJ, who is black, while he was playing on his grandmother’s front lawn June 6 in a state where African Americans make up just 1.4% of the population, according to U.S. Census figures.
Black Lives Matter in Utah founder Lex Scott said her group was inspired to organize the protest after learning the officer would stay on the job.
“I do believe it was a hate crime,” Scott said. “That child was targeted because of his skin color.”
Woods Cross Police Chief Chad Soffe said last Monday that officials don’t intend to fire the unidentified officer. He said the officer used good judgment and mistook the boy for a potential suspect during a pursuit of armed suspects.
“We want to learn from this, we don’t want people to be traumatized by our efforts to protect the community,” Soffe said.
Hrubes has said her son had no toys or objects in his hands. The officer told DJ to put his hands in the air and get on the ground and told him not to ask questions. After Jerri Hrubes confronted the officer, he got in his car and left, she said.
Soffe said the officer was part of a group chasing suspects after authorities received reports of a shooting and were told the suspects were black, Hispanic or Polynesian, he said.
Scott’s group was joined Friday evening by members of other civil rights advocacy groups, including, Utahns Against Police Brutality and Mormon Women for Ethical Government, though the latter group has not demanded that the officer be fired.
Heather White, an attorney working with the police department, said Friday that the Utah Department of Public Safety will investigate the Woods Cross police officer and evaluate whether he acted with racial bias or unnecessary force and whether any crimes were committed.
Protesters called for more police officer accountability and better training for how to deescalate situations and identify bias.
A lawyer working with Hrubes said the mother is pleased that the state will investigate. But Scott and another protester said they are concerned the investigation won’t be fair.
“I’ve seen hundreds of investigations, and guess who’s never found guilty? The police,” Jacob Jensen of Utahns Against Police Brutality told the crowd.
Scott said “police tend to investigate themselves and find themselves innocent. It’s a conflict of interest. It’s not OK.”
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Saudi crown prince says kingdom isn’t seeking war in region
By AYA BATRAWY | Sun, June 16, 2019 03:48 EDT
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in remarks published Sunday that the kingdom is not seeking war in the region, but warned it will not hesitate to confront threats to its security.
His comments came just days after the U.S. blamed Iran for suspected attacks on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, denouncing what it called a campaign of “escalating tensions” in a region crucial to global energy supplies. The U.S. alleges Iran used limpet mines to target the tankers, pointing to black-and-white footage it captured that American officials describe as Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops removing an unexploded mine from the Kokuka Courageous.
Iran has rejected the U.S. claim that it was responsible for Thursday’s attacks, saying it stands ready to play an active and constructive role in ensuring the security of strategic maritime passages.
Iran has also been accused of being behind the May 12 attacks on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Two of those vessels belonged to Saudi Arabia.
In his first public comments since the start of these incidents, the powerful Saudi prince, who is also defense minister and oversees all major levers of power in the country, said the attacks “confirm the importance of our demands of the international community to take a decisive stance” against Iran’s behavior.
“The kingdom does not seek war in the region, but we will not hesitate to deal with any threat to our people, sovereignty and vital interests,” he said in an interview with the Arabic newspaper, Asharq al-Awsat.
He accused rival Iran of using militias to destabilize the region. He also touted U.S.-Saudi relations as “essential to achieving regional security and stability.”
“The problem is in Tehran and not anywhere else,” he said. “Iran is always the party that’s escalating in the region, carrying out terrorist attacks and criminal attacks either directly or through its militias.”
In recent days, Yemeni rebels known as Houthis claimed responsibility for a missile strike on a Saudi airport in the city of Abha that the kingdom said wounded 26 passengers. The Houthis also carried out a drone strike last month on a key Saudi oil pipeline.
Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of arming and training the rebels, which the kingdom has been at war against in Yemen since early 2015.
“The choice before Iran is clear. Do you want to be a normal state with a constructive role in the international community or do you want to be a rogue state?” the crown prince was Quote: d as saying.
His comments mirrored those made by his father, King Salman, at emergency summits held in Mecca last month that drew heads of state from Arab and Muslim countries to address the sharp rise in tensions with Iran.
Thursday’s apparent attacks in the Strait of Hormuz forced the evacuation of all 44 sailors aboard the two vessels. On Saturday, Associated Press journalists saw the crew members of the Norwegian-owned oil tanker MT Front Altair arrive at Dubai International Airport, after spending two days in Iran.
The Front Altair, which caught fire after the apparent attack, limped into anchorage Sunday off the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates, near the port city of Khorfakkan.
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The Latest: Yemen’s Houthi rebels launch Saudi drone attack
Sat, June 15, 2019 11:07 EDT
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on developments in the Persian Gulf (all times local):
Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they’ve launched a new drone attack against Saudi Arabia. The kingdom says it shot down one Houthi drone.
The Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel announced the attack late Saturday night. Yahia al-Sarie, a Houthi spokesman, said their drones targeted airports in Jizan and Abha in Saudi Arabia.
Early Sunday, the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said it shot down a drone near the Abha regional airport.
A statement from spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki did not address the Houthi claim regarding a drone attack on Jizan.
The Houthis say they launched a cruise missile that struck the Abha airport Wednesday. Saudi Arabia says that attack wounded 26 people.
6:40 a.m. Saturday
The U.S. military says Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops tried but failed to shoot down a U.S. drone over the Gulf of Oman earlier this week to disrupt surveillance of an attack on an oil tanker.
In a statement released Saturday, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command says the drone had been observing the motor tanker Front Altair as it was on fire. Several minutes later, a modified Iranian SA-7 surface-to-air missile tried to bring down the drone.
The spokesman, Lt . Col. Earl Brown, says subsequent analysis indicates the missile was a likely attempt to disrupt the drone’s surveillance of a second oil tanker, the Kokuka Courageous.
The U.S. has blamed Iran for what it described as an attack with limpet mines on the two tankers last Thursday.
Iran has summoned the British ambassador after London agreed with the U.S. conclusion that Iran attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Saturday’s report by the official IRNA news agency reports that Iranian diplomat Mahmoud Barimani in a meeting with Ambassador Robert Macaire strongly protested Britain’s “blindly and hastily following” the United States in accusing Iran. The Iranian side also sought a “correction” on the Britain’s stance.
The British Foreign Office on Friday said in a statement that it concluded “it is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military,” the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, attacked the tankers on Thursday.
The U.S. immediately blamed Iran for the attack. Tehran has denied being involved and accused America of promoting an “Iranophobic” campaign against it.
Crew members of the Norwegian-owned oil tanker that was attacked in the Gulf of Oman have landed in Dubai after two days in Iran.
Associated Press journalists saw the crew members of the MT Front Altair on Saturday night after their Iran Air flight from Bandar Abbas, Iran, landed in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The Front Altair caught fire after the attack Thursday, sending a thick cloud of black smoke visible even by satellite from space.
The U.S. has blamed Iran for the attack, saying they suspect another limpet mine attack on oil tankers by Iran. Tehran has denied being involved and accused America of promoting an “Iranophobic” campaign against it.
The United Arab Emirates’ top diplomat says evidence his country possesses indicates that recent attacks against oil tankers inside UAE waters were “state-sponsored.”
Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Cyprus on Saturday, didn’t name the state, but said his country wants to work with other nations to prevent a further escalation of tensions in the region.
On Friday, the U.S. military released video footage it said suggested that Iran wanted to hide evidence that it was behind the attacks. Iran has denied involvement.
Al Nahyan said after talks with Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides on Saturday that the U.A.E. presented this evidence to the U.N. Security Council in a “very technical, open and transparent” manner.
He said the UAE’s conclusion is that these were “state-sponsored attacks.”
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Funeral held for West Point cadet who died in training
Sun, June 16, 2019 12:12 EDT
NEW YORK (AP) — A West Point cadet killed during a training exercise has been laid to rest at the academy’s cemetery.
The funeral for Christopher J. Morgan was held Saturday at the United States Military Academy.
WABC-TV reports speakers included former president Bill Clinton. Morgan’s father had been part of the president’s security detail.
West Point’s Commandant of Cadets, Maj. Gen. Steve Gilland, called the 22-year-old “an exemplary classmate and teammate” and said the young man from West Orange, New Jersey, was “tremendously proud to be a cadet.”
Morgan was killed last week when a tactical truck overturned on the way to a military training camp. Nineteen cadets and two soldiers operating the vehicle were injured in the accident.
At West Point, Morgan studied law and was on the Army’s wrestling team.
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Guam Catholic group protests recruitment of abortion doctors
Sat, June 15, 2019 06:51 EDT
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A Catholic group has protested the governor of Guam’s plan to recruit abortion providers to the U.S. territory where no doctors are currently willing to terminate pregnancies.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero’s recruitment idea has drawn criticism and support from residents, the Pacific Daily News reported Friday.
The Democratic governor told The Associated Press she is concerned women could be forced to seek unsafe and illegal procedures after the last abortion provider retired last year.
One resident told the Pacific Daily News that recruiting an abortion doctor will make Guam a better place.
“If the governor makes it happen, it’ll truly show that she meant it when she said she’ll make Guam a better place,” said 20-year-old Kimmi Yee, who was born and raised on Guam. “I’d be glad to know that women have the ability to choose and will be able to do it safely.”
A Catholic anti-abortion group protested the recruitment idea at the governor’s office on Friday.
Patricia Perry, co-chair of the group, sent invitations encouraging people to attend a prayer rally.
“If the governor is not convinced, we’ll do other measures to further our cause,” Perry said. “We will not stop until all abortion is outlawed and all anti-life laws will be abolished.”
Part of the invitation reads, “Say no to recruiting doctors who will kill our unborn children! Say yes to recruiting doctors who help us save lives!”
Jayne Flores, the director of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, said she is meeting with Public Health officials to talk about a plan to recruit a doctor to provide abortion services. The administration is also working to provide greater access to birth control to reduce unwanted pregnancies.
The archdiocese on the heavily Catholic island said in a statement it was appealing to the governor to change her position.
“The fact is that human life begins at conception and the Roman Catholic Church affirms and promotes this truth. There is no other moral or logical place to draw the line,” the Archdiocese of Agana said.
Arsha Abellera, who has lived on Guam for the past decade, said the administration’s plan to recruit a doctor to provide abortion is long overdue.
“It is the government’s job to protect women and their right to choose,” she said. “A woman’s body is her house and whatever she does with it shouldn’t be anyone’s business.”
Government records show about 250 abortions a year were performed on Guam from 2007 to 2017, the Pacific Daily News said. No abortions have been reported in the past 12 months.