Daily News Roundup

July 17, 2019

Tuesday, JULY 16

As US President Donald Trump declared he did not have a racist bone in his body, the House of Representatives voted to condemn him for his verbal attacks against four minority Democratic congresswomen.

The vote was symbolic aimed at shaming Trump and his fellow Republicans who stood by him.

Tempers flared in the hours leading up to the vote that mainly split along party lines, the culmination of three days of outrage sparked by a Trump tweetstorm that diverted attention from all other business in Washington.

Trump had told the group of congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

All four lawmakers – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – are US citizens. Three were born in the United States.

Democrats, who have a majority in the House, passed the symbolic resolution of condemnation on Tuesday evening, which said the House “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimised and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of colour.”

Four Republicans joined the Democrats to support the measure.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has struggled at times to work with the progressive newcomers in her caucus, staunchly defended them in the debate.

“These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting and these comments are racist,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi’s comments put the House into a two-hour limbo after Republicans argued she went too far in her comments and broke debate rules.

Trump had earlier responded to the mounting backlash by tweeting, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body!”as he urged fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives to stand with him and vote against a symbolic measure condemning the racially charged attacks on the group of Democratic politicians known as “the squad”.

But it was Republican politicians who were in the spotlight as they were forced to either vote against their party’s leader, who has strong support among conservatives, or effectively defend him.

“Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Mr Trump tweeted in response.

The comments earned a swift rebuke from Ms Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted: “You’re right, Mr. President — you don’t have a racist bone in your body. You have a racist mind in your head, and a racist heart in your chest.”

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New Zealand police have been called to a railway station sushi bar in the capital Wellington to remove a pair of little penguins.

The animals, standing  about 25 centimetres tall and weighing about  1 kilogram were pulled from under a fridge and “temporarily detained” before being released into Wellington Harbour

One of the birds had been intercepted by police several days earlier on a busy inner-city street a few blocks fro0m the habor.

It is believed the birds, described as “waddling vagrants” by local police, may have been attracted by the smell of fish in the food truck at Wellington’s busiest train station.

“Police responded and with some help from members of the public released the penguin, described as ‘little and blue’, back into the sea,” police said.

PHOTO: Constable John Zhu got a quick selfie before the penguins were released back into Wellington Harbour.(Facebook: Wellington District Police)

Jack Mace, of the Department of Conservation, said penguins had previously been found nesting under houses where they had “set up shop” with a mate.

“But certainly the busiest railway station in Wellington is an unusual one,” he added.

“What they are looking for is a tight place that they can hide in and be safe from most of the predators that they would have faced.”

Little penguins, also known as blue penguins and little blue penguins, are native to New Zealand.

Once common across New Zealand, they are now mainly found on smaller islands away from human settlement.

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Three men who killed eight people, including two Australians, in the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack of 2017 were lawfully killed by police after ignoring clear warning shouts, an inquest has found.

The decision comes after two months of harrowing testimony at the Old Bailey in London from witnesses, family members of the victims and law enforcement officials.

Jurors concluded the attackers “ignored clear warning shouts” from the police.

On the night of June 3, 2017, the three attackers — Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba — ploughed down pedestrians in a rented van before embarking on a knife attack at Borough Market.

The rampage lasted 10 minutes, during which time the three men killed eight people and injured 48 others before being shot and killed by specialist firearm police.

Among those killed were two Australians — 21-year-old Sara Zelenak and 28-year-old Kirsty Boden — a nurse who was killed as she tried to save another victim in the attack.

Newly released amateur video shows unarmed London police and members of the public coming face to face with the attackers moments before they were shot and killed.

“Straight away, I see that he has a vest, or suicide belt,” PC Bartzos Tchorzweski told the BBC.

“You just have no tools to fight with that kind of danger, so we made a decision to withdraw.”

Screams of “run” are heard on the video and show police officers retreating as they call for back-up from armed officers.

“I guess we are police officers, so we have to do something,” Mr Tchorzweski said.

PHOTO: One of the London Bridge attackers was pictured with canisters strapped to his body when apprehended by police.(Instagram: Gabriele Sciotto)

“Firearms officers have to know where to go, so at least we have to know where they are.”

Two bakers are also seen in the video, armed with a plastic crate and broom, ready to confront the attackers.

Soon after, armed police arrived and fired dozens of shots, killing the terrorists.

Police feared the men may have tried to detonate the suicide vests they were wearing. However, the vests later turned out to have been fake.

Following the inquest’s decision, Police Commissioner Cressida Dick credited the “extraordinary” bravery of the first responders and the public.

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