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22 Nov

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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DoJ lawyers expected to fly to Minneapolis as protesters and family demand authorities release footage of police officers involved in case

Jamar Clark

Jamar Clark was killed a week ago. Minnesota’s governor has said: ‘I will urge that the tapes be released, as soon as doing so will not jeopardize the Department of Justice’s investigation.’ Photograph: Courtesy of the Family

US Justice Department attorneys were expected to fly to Minnesota on Sunday, to investigate the killing of an African American man that has prompted protests and calls for the two Minneapolis police officers involved to be prosecuted.

A key issue during the lawyers’ visit will be whether authorities should release to the public videos of the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark a week ago.

Federal and state authorities have resisted releasing the footage – from an ambulance, mobile police camera, public housing cameras and people’s cellphones – because they said it does not show the full incident and making the recordings public would compromise their investigations.

Minnesota governor Mark Dayton said on Saturday that he had asked Clark’s family and representatives of the Black Lives Matter group protesting his death to meet with the federal government lawyers.

“I will urge that the tapes be provided to the family and released to the public, as soon as doing so will not jeopardize the Department of Justice’s investigation,” Dayton said after meeting with the family and leaders of the protesters.

Dozens of demonstrators huddled around bonfires early on Sunday in frigid temperatures at an encampment outside a Minneapolis police station that they have said will not be dismantled until their demands are met.

Minneapolis civil rights activist Mel Reeves said the primary goal of the protests is to see the officers involved in the death of Clark prosecuted based on statements of people who say they saw the shooting. He said the officers should face charges and “go through the same procedures that we do. We think they’re guilty, but let the court decide.”

Both officers involved in the shooting, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, have been placed on standard administrative leave. Authorities haven’t said who fired the fatal shot.

Police have said the officers were responding to an assault call and found the 24-year-old Clark interfering with paramedics. Authorities say there was a struggle. The head of the Minneapolis police union has said Clark was shot after reaching for an officer’s gun. Protesters have said they don’t believe that version of events…………

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Trump and Carson back use of waterboarding in fight against Isis

Technique widely denounced as torture is ‘peanuts compared with what they are doing to us’, says real estate mogul as he does not rule out independent run

Donald Trump speaks in Birmingham, Alabama.

Donald Trump speaks in Birmingham, Alabama. Photograph: AL.COM /Landov / Barcroft Media

Donald Trump and Ben Carson, the two enduring frontrunners in the race to become the Republican party’s presidential candidate, have both indicated they would bring back waterboarding and other forms of “enhanced interrogation” that were dropped by the US government, having widely been denounced as a form of torture.

In the latest ratcheting-up of rhetoric in the fallout from the Paris terror attacks, Trump told ABC News on Sunday he would “absolutely bring back” waterboarding in the fight against Islamic State militants.

“They don’t use waterboarding over there,” he said, “they use chopping off people’s heads, they use drowning people – they put people in cages and drown them in the ocean then lift out the cage.”

The real estate billionaire added that he thought waterboarding was “peanuts compared with what they are doing to us – what they did with [US journalist and Isis hostage] James Foley when they chopped off his head.”

Later in the same ABC show, Carson, a former neurosurgeon, was asked if he would support Trump’s call to bring back the controversial interrogation technique. He said: “I agree that there’s no such thing as political correctness when you are fighting an enemy who wants to destroy you.”

The significance of the remarks from Trump and Carson within the conservative debate following the Paris attacks that killed 130 people was underlined by a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that had the two outsiders holding tight to their commanding national lead over all other Republican presidential candidates.

In a finding virtually unchanged over the previous month, Trump was on 32% support among registered Republicans and Carson on 22%. They were followed by the only other contender on double figures, the Florida senator Marco Rubio, on 11%.

Even more pointedly, Trump had a massive lead when those who leaned Republican were asked whom they trusted to deal with the threat of terrorism. He garnered a 40% trust rating. The next leading candidate, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, was on 18%…………………

rubio

 

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Soldiers and armoured vehicles could stay on Belgian capital’s streets into next week amid fears of imminent Paris-style attack in the heart of the EU

and in Brussels

The Belgian capital remained on lock down on Sunday with soldiers and armoured vehicles patrolling the city. Officials say several terrorists remain at large and Brussels is under threat. The city’s metro system has been closed since Saturday, as have many shops, museums and shopping malls. Professional football and many music events have also been cancelled

Several terrorists remain at large in Brussels and threaten to commit a “very dangerous act”, a senior official has said, as the Belgian capital enters its second day with soldiers and armoured vehicles continuing to keep the city in lockdown.

The mayor of one of Brussels’ municipalities said the area was still facing a grave threat, adding that suspects linked to the Paris terror attack that killed more than 130 last week remain on the run.

Schaerbeek’s mayor, Bernard Clerfayt, said on Sunday: “There are two terrorists in the Brussels region that could commit very dangerous acts.” The Belgian interior minister, Jan Jambon, added “several suspects” tied to the Paris attacks could be at large in the country.

Belgium’s national crisis centre on Saturday raised the threat alert in the Brussels region to level four, which indicates a “serious and immediate threat”. Clerfayt said it was necessary to try to anticipate and prevent any such acts and their consequences. He said: “As long as this threat is present, we must be very attentive.”

Officials said several men were being sought by security authorities amid speculation that a series of cells may be planning attacks in the heart of the EU.

The city’s metro system remained closed on Sunday. Officials were due to meet at noon to decide whether to relax the stringent measures, which have seen public transport restricted, shops shut, shopping malls shuttered, professional football cancelled, concerts called off and music venues, museums, and galleries closed.

A series of scares over suspect packages also raised tensions.

Belgian authorities are searching for Salah Abdeslam, identified as a key organiser of the gun and bomb attacks that killed 130 people in Paris nine days ago. Belgian media have reported sightings of Abdeslam, a 26-year-old Frenchman, in or around Brussels……………………..

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US politics

White House asks supreme court to rule on executive immigration action

Donald Trump distances himself from endorsement of tracking Muslims in US

Democrat John Bel Edwards wins runoff to become Louisiana governor

Marco Rubio rejects Donald Trump’s proposals on Muslim refugees

Marco Rubio: US troops must help subject Isis to ‘humiliating defeats’

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Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson’s creationism often appears to pander to a conservative base – a way to win culture wars and, more importantly, elections

Republican Presidential Candidate Ben Carson Speaks At Sunday Church Service In Iowa<br>DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 16: Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson (C) speaks during church services at Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church on August 16, 2015 in Des Moines , Iowa. Ben Carson attended Sunday church services before campaigning at the Iowa State Fair. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Ben Carson’s idea of “political bias” is when people don’t think the Bible has scientific accuracy. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

There is an appeal to creationism for certain people: it lies in the ability to submit to a myth without reflection, debate or real understanding. But the ultimate goal in promoting it as a point of legitimate pedagogical inquiry appears to be to coerce the obedience of a superstitious civic collective under a socially and politically regressive leadership.

And now it’s being used in this election cycle to counter intellectual and academic freedom in educational institutions.

Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson have both expressed their support of creationism and denial of evolution, with Carson attributing the teachings of evolution to “the Adversary”, Satan. Carson has promised that, if he becomes president, he would make the US Department of Education withdraw federal funding from institutions that show “extreme political bias”.

Carson’s example of “extreme political bias”? One lone professor who asked students to write “Jesus” on a sheet of paper and stomp on it. Carson omitted to add to his inflammatory account that the professor used the exercise to prove to his communication students that stomping on the word “Jesus” would be a marked example of a failed intercultural communication strategy.

There are legitimate ways to discuss the Bible critically and aesthetically; in the academic context, that can take the form of courses in literature, philosophy, comparative religion and even law. Like other scriptures, biblical stories are exemplary texts of literature that promise many benefits for the alert reader. But there is no valid reason to use creationism where more rigorous methods of scientific inquiry are superior.

The Republican presidential candidates’ public obsession with creationism, though, isn’t really about education. It’s about cementing their Christian credentials with the influential evangelical voting block by announcing their opposition to all that is not heterosexual, Christian and not “speaking American” — whatever that means.

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