Wednesday, May 28, 2014

#HEADLINES: 9800 Troops to Remain in Afghanistan After 2014, Obama Delays DHS Deportation Review, US May Train Syrian Rebels, Michelle Obama Slams Critics of Healthy School Lunch Standards, Indigenous Brazilian Protesters Clash with Police Ahead of World Cup, Courts Challenge Native American Land Rights, Focus on UCSB Killer Criticized

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President Obama reveals plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 2016 -- The Independent
"In an attempt to turn the page on the occupation which started within a month of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Obama said 9,800 American troops of the 32,000-strong current force would be kept in Afghanistan after the US combat mission formally ends later this year.
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"But the move is likely to garner criticism at home. Before the address, Tony Blinken, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said that the US had allocated about $20 billion (£11.8 billion) on the continued military presence. Asked if such a cost was worth it, Blinken replied: 'We want to complete the job that we started." At the same time, he said "we can't be in an endless war posture.'"


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Obama delays DHS deportation review -- Associated Press
"President Barack Obama has asked his Homeland Security chief to hold off on completing a review of U.S. deportation policies until the end of the summer, senior White House officials said Tuesday, in a move aimed at salvaging any hopes for Congress to act on immigration this year.

"Obama in March directed the government to examine whether deportation practices can be made more humane, seeking to pacify frustrated immigration advocates. But that step emboldened House Republicans to argue they can't trust Obama to enforce the law, and that bypassing lawmakers through executive action would deliver a death knell to the broader immigration overhaul that Obama and Democrats are seeking."


The Coordination Committee of
Khalidiya Neighborhood
in Homs/AP Photo
AP sources: US may decide to train Syrian rebels -- Associated Press
"The White House soon may sign off on a project to train and equip moderate Syrian rebel forces, according to Obama administration officials. The move would significantly boost U.S. support for rebels seeking military help to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"President Barack Obama is considering sending a limited number of American troops to Jordan to be part of a regional training mission that would instruct carefully screened members of the Free Syrian Army on tactics, including counterterrorism operations, the officials said.

"They said Obama has not given final approval and there still were internal discussion about the merits and potential risks."




Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Michelle Obama Bites Back at Critics of Her Healthy School Lunch Standards -- TIME
"In one of the most overtly political speeches during her tenure as First Lady, Obama slammed Republicans on Tuesday for trying to weaken school nutritional standards, one of her key policy achievements.

"'This is unacceptable,' Obama said at a White House meeting with school leaders and experts. 'It’s unacceptable to me not just as First Lady but also as a mother.

"'The stakes couldn’t be higher on this issue,' she said, pointing to obesity statistics in both children and adults. 'The last thing we can afford to so right now is play politics with our kids health.'"


© Reuters
Tear Gas vs Bows and Arrows: Indigenous protesters clash at Brazil's national stadium ahead of World Cup -- The Daily Mail
"Indigenous activists were there to complain about legislation before congress that threatens to shrink the size of some reserves for indigenous groups.

"They were joined by demonstrators rallying against Brazil's hosting of the World Cup. Many Brazilians are angered about the billions being spent on the tournament, saying the money should have gone to improving Brazil's woeful public services.

"Brazil has seen almost daily protests in the weeks leading up to the World Cup, which begins on June 12."


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Courts challenge Native American land rights -- Al Jazeera English
"Native Americans once roamed the area that is now called Rhode Island. Today, the Narragansett reservation is limited to a few thousand acres, most of it swampland nestled in thick forest. And under a 1978 agreement with the Rhode Island government, what little land the Narragansetts do have is subject to state jurisdiction.

"States covet the potential tax revenues generated on Native American land. When the Carcieri ruling was issued, then-Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch gushed. "[T]his decision is a tremendous victory for the State of Rhode Island … and for the importance of states' rights across the United States of America," he said in a statement issued at the time.

"Such statements evoke the domineering paternalism that has characterised state-tribe relations. Without the regulatory and tax exemptions the land trust system confers, Native Americans cannot take control of their development, said Spears."


Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times
Focus on Isla Vista killer is criticized -- Los Angeles Times
"'It makes me sick seeing those videos over and over again,' said Moore, who went to high school with one of the victims, Christopher Michaels-Martinez. 'By continuously showing the videos and stuff, you're putting the limelight on him and not the people he killed.... I want to remember Chris.'

"In the long history of mass murder in the U.S., experts could not recall a more personal and minutely detailed explanation of motive than the one Rodger gave. Over the last few days, hundreds of thousands of people have scanned his writings and watched his videos as they try to make sense of the violence.

"Academics who study mass murder said the more coverage his screed gets, the more likely other troubled people might see acts of violence as a way to attract similar attention.

"'Knowing that people will talk about you afterward is a very important component for these mass murderers,' said Ron Avi Astor, a professor of social work and education at USC. 'It's how they'll be remembered, and it seems to be an external way their life will have meaning.'"

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