Ireland votes resoundingly to repeal abortion ban

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Ireland votes resoundingly to repeal abortion ban

Dublin, Ireland (CNN)Ireland has voted an emphatic “Yes” to amend the country’s constitution to enable legislation that would allow women to have an abortion in a historic and emotionally charged referendum.

With a high turnout of 64.13%, 1,429,98, or 66.4%, voted for the amendment Friday and 723,632, or 33.6%, against, according to the country’s Referendum Commission. The results that were announced Saturday defied earlier projections that it would be a tight race.
Only one county voted no — the rural and religiously conservative Donegal in northwest Ireland.
The vote signifies a resounding victory for the government of Leo Varadkar, the Prime Minister, or Taoiseach as the office is called in Ireland.
“Today is a historic day for Ireland,” Varadkar said at a press conference. “A quiet revolution has taken place, and today is a great act of democracy.”
“A hundred years since women gained the right to vote, today we as a people have spoken,” he said. “And we say that we trust women and respect women to make their own decisions and their own choices.”
He noted that people in “almost every county, almost every constituency, men and women, all social classes and almost all age groups” voted to repeal the amendment. “We are not a divided country,” he said.
Chants of “Yes we did” rose from the crowd as the Referendum Commission’s Returning Officer Barry Ryan announced the final results.

"Yes" supporters wait for the final results Saturday at Dublin Castle.

It was a scene of jubilation as some supporters burst into tears. Others began laughing as they hugged one another and asked each other, “Can you believe we did this?”
Emma Gallagher, 22, began crying as she heard the final results.
“I feel safe now, I feel comfortable,” she told CNN. “It felt for a long time women didn’t matter. … Now we know that we matter.”
Rene Wogan, 66, held Gallagher’s hand and told her, “It was all for justice. You’re forwarding the flag on for women.”
Thousands of people packed the square in front of Dublin Castle as abortion rights politicians, including Varadkar, also joined the celebration.
He told Sky TV he expected legislation to be voted through by the end of the year.
“I feel enormous relief and great pride in the people of Ireland who didn’t maybe know what they thought until they were finally asked the questions,” Ailbhe Smyth, a longtime women’s rights activist, told CNN.
“It has been a long and very hard road, but we never lost sight of this because it’s so central to the existence, and the selfhood and personhood of women to have that control of our own bodies.”

A woman from the "Yes" campaign reacts after final results were announced Saturday at Dublin Castle.

The Eighth Amendment, which was added to the constitution following a referendum in 1983, banned abortion in Ireland unless there was a “real and substantial risk” to the mother’s life.
Repeal of the amendment has completed a circle of sweeping social reforms in the European Union nation that fly in the face of the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church, from contraception to divorce, and most recently same-sex marriage.
Roscommon, in the rural interior, the only county to say no to same-sex marriage, also voted yes in the abortion referendum.
Thousands of Irish working abroad returned to Ireland to cast their vote.
Those opposed to abortion vowed Saturday to take their fight now to the Irish Parliament, where lawmakers will have to bring about legislation allowing for terminations in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy — and later in cases where there is a risk to the mother’s life or the fetus is not expected to survive.
Dr. Ruth Cullen, spokeswoman for the anti-abortion LoveBoth campaign, conceded defeat Saturday before the count had finished.
“We will hold the Taoiseach to his promise that repeal would only lead to abortion in very restrictive circumstances. He gave his word on this, now he must deliver on it. No doubt many people voted for repeal based on the Taoiseach’s promises in this regard,” Cullen said at a press conference Saturday.
The death of an Indian dentist ignited the abortion rights campaign in Ireland. Savita Halappanavar, 31, died in 2012 because of complications from a natural miscarriage after abortion was denied to her.

Repeal supporters leave notes at a mural of Savita Halappanavar, whose death sparked the campaign.

Voters over 65 were the only age group overall not supporting the repeal of the amendment.
Ireland’s vote will likely put pressure on Northern Ireland to change its abortion laws, too. Despite Northern Ireland being part of the UK, the 1967 Abortion Act legalizing abortions never applied there, and even victims of rape and incest are forced to travel to mainland Britain if they want a termination.

Rex Tillerson Blasts Trump About Him Being An Habitual Liar

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Rex Tillerson may be gone, but he hasn’t forgotten.

Speaking to soon-to-be graduates of the Virginia Military Institute on Wednesday, Tillerson dropped this truth bomb:
“If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”
Woof.
Double woof.
You may remember that Tillerson was removed as Secretary of State by President Donald Trumpafter a remarkably tempestuous year in office — a period of time during which relations between the two men grew badly strained.
Things were never really the same after reports surfaced last fall that Tillerson had called Trump a “moron” in a Pentagon meeting in the summer of 2017. Tillerson didn’t deny using that word, although he sought to shame the press for even covering it. Which means, of course, that he said it.
Then there was the time when Tillerson directly refused to provide Trump cover following the President’s “both sides” comments about the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“The President speaks for himself,” Tillerson remarked at the time.
You may also remember that President Trump said more than 3,000 things that were either misleading or totally false during his first year in office — a rate of more than six mistruths a day, according to the Washington Post. Or that Trump administration senior counselor Kellyanne Conway famously/infamously coined the phrase “alternative facts” to explain away Trump’s false claims about the size of his inauguration crowd.
Now. Tillerson and his people will helpfully note that he never mentioned Trump’s name in the speech, and that the address was meant as a broad call to fight for truth rather than a narrowly cast shot at the President of the United States.
Don’t believe them.
Tillerson is no dummy. He knew what he was doing. The use of the phrase “alternative realities” is no accident. Neither are these lines from the Tillerson speech:
“A responsibility of every American citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not, what a fact is and is not and begin by holding ourselves accountable to truthfulness and demand our pursuit of America’s future be fact-based — not based on wishful thinking, not hoped-for outcomes made in shallow promises, but with a clear-eyed view of the facts as they are, and guided by the truth that will set us free to seek solutions to our most daunting challenges.”
It is impossible to read that paragraph and not have the image of Donald Trump conjured up in your mind. Im-possible.
That’s just want Tillerson wanted — and yet more proof that revenge is a dish best served cold.

At least 9 killed in 3 church explosions in Indonesia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

At least 9 killed in 3 church explosions in Indonesia

Indonesian bomb squade examine the site following a suicide bomb outside a church in Surabaya early Sunday.

(CNN)Suspected suicide bombers struck three different churches in Indonesia on Sunday morning, killing at least nine people and injuring scores more, police say.

Forty people — including two police officers — were taken to hospital with injuries following the attacks in Surabaya, a port city on the east coast of Java Island, East Java Police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said.
Police officers near the scene of hte blast at Santa Maria church in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia.

The explosions targeted the Santa Maria Catholic Church, the Indonesian Christian Church and the Pentecost Central Church. The St. Maria explosion killed four people and two people were killed at each of the other two churches, the spokesman said. Another person later died at a hospital.
St. Maria was the site of the first blast, which occurred at 7.30 a.m. local time Sunday (8.30 p.m. Saturday ET), before blasts at 7.35 a.m. and 8 a.m., state-run news agency Antara quoted him as saying.
“Right now there are only three locations. Do not believe in misleading information that (the bomb) exploded in five locations or any others,” the police spokesman added.
“We suspect it is a suicide bomb attempt. We have identified one victim,” he said.
The police spokesman declined to give more details on the victims.
Police have closed off all three locations as they work to identify the victims.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi tweeted her condolences to the bombing victims with the hashtags #UnitedAgainstTerrorism and #WeAreNotAfraid.
Police have not identified the attackers.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country. In recent years it has been fighting against radical extremism as ISIS attempts to recruit members within the country.

32 Killed As Dam Bursts On Rose Farm In Kenya

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

At least 32 killed as dam bursts on rose farm in Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya (CNN)At least 32 people have died after a dam burst in northern Kenya after weeks of torrential rain, officials said Thursday.

The Kenya Red Cross estimated that up to 500 families have been hit by the disaster, which took place in Solai, near the Rift Valley town of Nakuru, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) northwest of the capital of Nairobi.
The Patel Dam burst its banks after heavy rains at around nine pm Wednesday, sweeping away homes, according to Lee Kinyanjui, the governor of Nakuru County.
Kinyanjui told CNN that those affected by the dam, which is on a commercial farm, are “mostly workers and small-scale farmers.”
“It’s a big farm that employs a majority of the people living in the village. They are in horticulture, coffee, tea among others. The farm has existed for over two generations,” he added.
In an earlier post on Twitter, Kinyanjui said the water had caused “huge destruction of both life and property.”
He said Nakuru County was working with the Kenya Red Cross in a search and rescue operation.
Kinyanjui said foodstuff and other items have been donated to displaced families and a center set up for families to report missing members.
Euloge Ishimwe, head of communications for the Africa region of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said in a statement, “A multi-agency search and rescue is ongoing where Kenya Red Cross is part of the team.
“The Kenya Red Cross is further moving materials to construct temporary shelter for the displaced families alongside providing first aid services, evacuation of the injured, tracing services for families and psychosocial support.”
Heavy rainfall and floods have hit East Africa in recent months, especially Kenya and Rwanda.
At least 100 people have died and nearly 260,000 have been displaced this month by flooding in Kenya, the Kenya Red Cross said.
Kenyan authorities and humanitarian organizations have airlifted stranded residents to safety and provided aid to isolated communities after weeks of heavy rain and landslides.

Trump tweets 5 key ISIS leaders captured

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Trump tweets 5 key ISIS leaders captured

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that five of the “most wanted” ISIS leaders have been captured.

Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve Army Col. Ryan Dillon tweeted on Thursday that Iraq captured five key ISIS leaders as part of Operation Roundup. The tweet did not specify when or where the five were captured, nor give any names. Dillon’s tweet said the capture was a coordinated operation between Iraqi and the US backed Syrian Democratic Forces.
“#Iraq captures 5 key Daesh leaders during #OperationRoundup. The arrest is a significant blow to Daesh & demonstrates close coordination between #ISF & #SDF in their fight to #defeatDaesh. @CJTFOIR is committed to lasting defeat of Daesh & setting conditions for stabilization,” that tweet said.
This story is breaking and will be updated.

191 Dead Horses Found On Navajo Land In Arizona

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Nearly 200 dead horses found on Navajo land in Arizona

Approximately 191 feral horses were found dead at a stock pond on Navajo land in Arizona.

(CNN)Approximately 191 feral horses have been found dead in a stock pond on Navajo land in northern Arizona, according to Navajo leaders, who attributed the death to ongoing drought and famine.

“These animals were searching for water to stay alive. In the process, they unfortunately burrowed themselves into the mud and couldn’t escape because they were so weak,” Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez said in a statement on Thursday.
Some of the horses were found thigh- to neck-deep in the mud at the stock pond in Gray Mountain, according to Nina Chester, a staff assistant for the office of the president and vice president.
Hydrated lime will be spread over the animals to speed up decomposition. They will be buried on-site, the statement said.
The Navajo community in Arizona has had to contend with a growing feral horse population ofabout 50,000 to 70,000, according to the statement.
“This tragic incident exemplifies the problem the Navajo Nation faces in an overpopulation of feral horses,” said Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye.
Horses dying at the Gray Mountain stock pond isn’t new, Navajo officials said. It’s a seasonal issue.
An intense drought hit the southwestern United States this year, creating dry conditions in northern New Mexico and southwestern Arizona, according to CNN affiliate KNXV-TV. A drought emergency was declared for the Navajo Nation in March.
Drought and dryness as of Thursday was affecting more than 6 million people in Arizona, which is almost the entire population of the state, according to the The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Integrated Drought Information System program. About 50% of the state is under extreme drought conditions.

Chinese military lasers injure US military pilots in Africa

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Chinese military lasers injure US military pilots in Africa

(CNN)Chinese personnel at the country’s first overseas military base in Djibouti have been using lasers to interfere with US military aircraft at a nearby American base, activity that has resulted in injuries to US pilots and prompted the US to launch a formal diplomatic protest with Beijing, two military officials told CNN.

The US issued a notice to airmen “to exercise caution when flying in certain areas in Djibouti,” which “was issued due to lasers being directed at US aircraft on a small number of separate occasions over the last few weeks,” according to the notice obtained by CNN.
“During one incident, there were two minor eye injuries of aircrew flying in a C-130 that resulted from exposure to military-grade laser beams, which were reported to have originated from the nearby Chinese base,” the notice said.
Two US military officials told CNN that the issue was of major concern as such activity can cause major accidents. The officials said that the State Department had lodged a formal diplomatic protest with Beijing in an effort to get China to stop the activity.
Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White confirmed the incidents later on Thursday, saying the United States has “formally demarched” the Chinese government over the incidents and has “requested” that the Chinese launch their own investigation of the situation.
“This activity poses a true threat to our airmen,” White said, later saying that the incidents had grown increasingly serious over the last few weeks.
A US defense official told CNN that the US military also believes the Chinese use similar lasers to interfere with US aircraft in the South China Sea.
Last month the US military was forced to briefly halt air operations in the East African nation of Djibouti, a critical location in the fight against terrorism, following a series of accidents involving aircraft. The halting of air operations was done at the request of Djiboutian government.
There are about 4,000 US personnel in Djibouti, based at Camp Lemonnier. The US military places a lot of importance on its ability to base forces in Djibouti given its critically strategic location near countries like Somalia and Yemen, where the US regularly targets terrorists in airstrikes.
But US officials have recently expressed concern about the growing influence of China in Djibouti, noting its establishment of its first military base there and its close economic links with the country.
Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, who oversees US Africa Command, acknowledged both challenges during an appearance before Congress in March.
“We are taking significant steps on the counterintelligence side so that we have all the defenses that we need there, there is no doubt about that,” said Waldhauser, referring to the proximity of the new Chinese base.

Mike Pence Just Gave The Criminal: Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio A Boost In Arizona

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Mike Pence just gave Joe Arpaio a boost in Arizona — and it could lead to disaster for Senate Republicans

Washington (CNN)On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence was in Tempe, Arizona, to headline an event for the pro-Trump outside group America First Policies. (That group has its own problems.) In his speech, Pence singled out former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for praise.

“A great friend of this president, a tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law,” Pence said. “Sheriff Joe Arpaio, I’m honored to have you here.”
There are a few things wrong with that statement by Pence.
First, the idea that Arpaio is a “tireless champion … (of) the rule of law” is provably false.
In 2011, a federal judge ordered Arpaio to stop stopping anyone who was not directly suspected of having committed a state or federal crime. (The lawsuit came as the result of the 2007 detention of a Mexican man who had a tourist visa.) Arpaio never acknowledged that order and continued on enforcing his own brand of immigration policy. He was found guilty of criminal contempt and was scheduled to be sentenced last fall — just as President Donald Trump stepped in and pardoned the controversial sheriff.
So, no, he is not a champion for the rule of law. He is a champion for the law as he decides it to be. Which is not the same thing.
Then there is the political dumbness of Pence’s praise of Arpaio.
At the moment, Arpaio is one of three major candidates running for the Republican Senate nomination on August 28. (The seat is open due to GOP Sen. Jeff Flake’s retirement.) Arpaio is widely regarded as the weakest of the three candidates — and someone who would begin well behind likely Democratic nominee Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.
The limited polling in the Republican primary shows Rep. Martha McSally with a clear edge but former state legislator Kelli Ward and Arpaio are still very much in contention.
An endorsement like the one Pence gave Arpaio in Tempe on Tuesday is just the sort of thing the 85-year-old former sheriff needs to build some momentum. If he is smart, he will put that Pence line of praise in every single TV and radio ad he runs between now and the end of August.
While Trump (and, by extension, Pence) are not super popular in the whole of Arizona, the President and his vice president remain very popular figures within the Republican primary electorate. If Arpaio can position himself as the Trump candidate — and the President has praised him, too — it could give the controversial sheriff a real chance at the nomination.
Which would be a disaster for Republicans clinging to a one-seat margin in the Senate. Arizona is one of only three GOP-held seats the party has to defend this November — and it can’t afford to lose it before the general election even starts.
Mike Pence knows all of that. Which makes his praise of Arpaio all the more baffling.

Armenia in political turmoil after Parliament fails to elect new prime minister

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Armenia in political turmoil after Parliament fails to elect new prime minister

Supporters of Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan attend a rally in downtown Yerevan on Tuesday.

(CNN)Armenia was thrown into political turmoil on Tuesday after Parliament failed to agree on a replacement prime minister for Serzh Sargsyan, who stepped down last week amid mass demonstrations.

Protest leader Nikol Pashinyan, 42, was the sole candidate in the parliamentary vote, but failed to get a majority backing.
Shortly after the vote, Pashinyan told thousands of supporters at a rally in the capital Yerevan that their struggle was far from over, and called for a strike the next day.
“Our counter-move against the action of the Republican faction will be very rapid. Tomorrow total strike is declared,” Pashinyan said, according to state-run Armenpress. “We block all the streets, communications, subway and the airports starting from 8:15. Our struggle cannot end in a failure.”
Nikol Pashinyan addresses supporters in downtown Yerevan.

Pashinyan needed 53 votes to be elected, but received 45, Armenpress reported. According to the news outlet, if Pashinyan is not elected in the second round, Parliament will be dissolved.
As the vote took place, thousands of Pashinyan’s supporters flooded into Yerevan’s Republic Square, watching the Parliament session on giant screens.
Many had hoped Pashinyan would fill the power vacuum left after Sargsyan resigned, following weeks of anti-government protests.
A Pashinyan supporter in Yerevan, ahead of the vote.

The European Union urged civility.
“It remains crucial that all parties involved, including the law enforcement agencies and those exercising their right of freedom of assembly and expression, avoid confrontation and show restraint and responsibility, as has been the case in recent days,” the EU said in statement on its website.
Pashinyan led the protests after Sargsyan was appointed Prime Minister on April 17. Sargsyan had previously served as Armenian president for 10 years, and the thousands of protesters who hit the streets of Yerevan saw his latest appointment as an unconstitutional power grab.
Under constitutional changes Sargsyan promoted in 2015, the prime minister became more powerful than the president, leading to concerns of authoritarian rule descending on the small former Soviet republic, which borders Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran and Georgia.
As the protests entered their 11th day, Sargsyan stepped down as Prime Minister.
His deputy, Karen Karapetyan, was then named acting Prime Minister at an emergency Cabinet meeting.
Armenian policemen detain an opposition supporter during a rally in Yerevan on April 21.

Pashinyan, of the opposition Civil Contract party, cut a rebellious figure during the protests. His black cap, camouflage T-shirt and bandaged hand, reportedly injured on barbed wire, were in stark contrast to the suited Prime Minister Sargsyan.
televised meeting between the two leaders at the Marriott Hotel in Yerevan two weeks ago dramatically broke down when the Prime Minister walked out.
Shortly after, Pashinyan was arrested at an anti-government rally, but was released last Monday before the announcement that Sargsyan would resign.
Former Armenian Prime Minister  Serzh Sargsyan during the televised meeting with Nikol Pashinyan last month.

According to Laurence Broers, an associate fellow at the Chatham House think tank’s Russia and Eurasia program, discontent with Sargsyan had been brewing for years.
Armenians have seen their country, once the poster child for democratization after the collapse of the Soviet Union, stagnate in the hands of an entrenched oligarchy while many citizens choose to leave, Broers said.
Broers doesn’t ascribe sole credit to Pashinyan for the latest protests, but said the opposition figure “has been very successful in harnessing that desire and that energy for change.”
The crunch now, Broers said, is whether Pashinyan can turn his hand to coalition-building skills.

Kanye West just said 400 years of slavery was a choice

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Kanye West just said 400 years of slavery was a choice

(CNN)Tuesday brought us two Kanyes.

The first was a man who opened up about his mental health, his family, and his art in a nearly-two hour interview with radio host Charlamagne Tha God.
The second was a Kanye who appeared at the TMZ headquarters where he had this to say:
When you hear about slavery for 400 years … For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.
The rapper went on to add:
You were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.
Provocative statements are second nature to the 40-year-old rapper. And this week he’s been making headlines left and right, including proclaiming his love for President Trump.
But when he made his off-handed remark about slavery, TMZ employee Van Lathan took him to task for it.

An employee confronts him

“While you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you’ve earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives,” Lathan said. “We have to deal with the marginalization that’s come from the 400 years of slavery that you said for our people was a choice.”
Lathan added, “Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled, and brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something to me, that’s not real.”

Kanye tries to explain

As his words lit Twitter on fire, Kanye tried to explain what he meant. Here is his series of tweets Tuesday evening:
[T]o make myself clear. Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will. My point is for us to have stayed in that position even though the numbers were on our side means that we were mentally enslaved.”
And then Kanye quickly made it about Kanye:
[T]he reason why I brought up the 400 years point is because we can’t be mentally imprisoned for another 400 years. We need free thought now. Even the statement was an example of free thought. It was just an idea. [O]nce again I am being attacked for presenting new ideas.