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July 17, 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, June 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, June 2016

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

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The following is the second edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: the effect of the Brexit vote on the US presidential election is examined; a well known businessman and sports team owner pitches his candidacy for vice president; and Wikinews interviews the winner of the American Independent Party California primary.

Summary[]

As June began, national opinion polls showed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with a slight lead over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Despite being mathematically eliminated, Senator Bernie Sanders remained in the Democratic race. He still held close in head-to-head match ups against Clinton in delegate-rich California ahead of that state’s June 7 primary. Clinton, who won the June 4 Virgin Islands caucuses, focused her energies on Trump, delivering a speech criticizing his candidacy. Trump responded, saying the country “is gonna die” were Clinton elected president. Trump secured the holdout endorsement of House Speaker Paul Ryan and threats of a Republican establishment revolt subsided when National Review writer David A. French, the preferred presidential choice of Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, announced he would not run. However, Trump came under intense criticism, largely from fellow Republicans, when he accused the judge hearing a lawsuit over his venture Trump University, Gonzalo Curiel, of bias due to the judge’s Mexican heritage. Ryan called the comments “racist.” Trump’s former rivals John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker all denounced the comments. Lindsey Graham labeled Trump’s remark “the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy.” Senator Mark Kirk renounced his endorsement of Trump. And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an early Trump supporter and potential running mate, called Trump’s statement “inexcusable” and “one of the worst mistakes Trump has made.” Trump described Gingrich’s criticism as “inappropriate.” Shortly thereafter, Gingrich argued that Trump’s concerns were “valid and reflect a growing pattern of politicized justice.” Trump said the media and others “misconstrued” his words. Clinton speculated that Trump was using the attack to divert attention from the Trump University case.

Clinton speaks at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on June 10.
Image: Lorie Shaull.

On the eve of the California primary, Clinton won Puerto Rico. With the delegates gained from her victory as well as a few additional superdelegates, Clinton surpassed the 2,383 delegate threshold to secure the Democratic nomination. The Associated Press, NBC, and ABC all declared Clinton as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. The next day, Clinton won the California primary and also those held in New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. Sanders won the Montana primary and North Dakota caucus. Sanders remained in the race but reportedly planned to cut his campaign staff by half. He announced plans to continue his campaign through the June 14 District of Columbia primary. On the Republican side, during what was the final night for GOP primaries, Trump swept all the June 7 contests in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. In the end, Trump received a record total of 13.2 million votes in the GOP primaries. Still, his Super PAC reserved only $1.2 million in television advertisements, compared to the $108 million Clinton’s Super PAC reserved. In addition, Trump stepped back from his previous fundraising goal of $1 billion, insisting he only needed half that amount. In terms of running mates, Gingrich denied having any interest on the GOP side. For Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid backed away from his initial reluctance and endorsed the idea of Senator Elizabeth Warren filling the role. Warren took to the stump, endorsing Clinton and condemning Trump as “a loud, nasty, thin-skinned, fraud” and “wannabe tyrant.” In response, Trump tweeted his desire for “goofy” Warren to receive the vice presidential nomination and accused her of having a “nasty mouth” and “one of the least productive” records in the Senate. Other Democrats also gave their support to Clinton. President Barack Obama endorsed her candidacy as did former presidential rival Martin O’Malley. Sanders stopped short of supporting Clinton, but said he would “do everything in [his] power” to defeat Trump. On the other hand, several Republicans distanced themselves from Trump. GOP booster and Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman hinted she would endorse Clinton, and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he was leaning toward backing Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson. Romney said he could not back Trump because of Trump’s “racism … bigotry … [and] misogyny.” Trump responded that he was “the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered” and attacked Romney as “absolutely pathetic,” saying Romney “choked like a dog” during his loss to President Obama in the 2012 presidential election. Polls from June 10 showed Clinton leading Trump nationwide with leads ranging from three to eleven percentage points.

Trump speaks at an Arizona rally on June 18.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

The campaign took a new turn on June 12 when a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida left 49 dead. The shooter expressed allegiance to ISIS. In the aftermath, Trump tweeted appreciation for those congratulating him for “being right on radical Islamic terrorism” but said he did not want the congratulations, preferring “toughness and vigilance” instead. He attacked President Obama as someone who “doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands.” The Washington Post published an article interpreting the comment as suggesting Obama was “complicit” in the shooting. In response, Trump revoked the press credentials of the Post. On the day following the shooting, Trump delivered a speech condemning it as “an assault on the ability of free people to live their lives, love who they want and express their identity”. He criticized Clinton’s immigration policies as opening the door for Islamic radicals espousing anti-LGBT views and said he would be a better protector of LGBT rights than Clinton. In addition, he slammed Clinton and Obama for not using the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” Clinton, who denounced the shooting as an “act of terror” and “an act of hate,” said she was comfortable using the term “radical Islamism.” This prompted Trump to declare he had “shamed” Clinton into using the term. Furthermore, Clinton touted her support for a ban on assault rifles and gun ownership for those on the no fly list. Trump agreed on the last point and said he would attempt to convince the National Rifle Association, which had endorsed him, to support such a measure. With the shooting dominating news coverage, the final Democratic primary was held on June 14 in Washington, D.C. Clinton handily defeated Sanders. A Bloomberg poll of Sanders supporters showed 22% planned to vote for Trump, 15% for Gary Johnson, and 55% for Clinton. The same poll showed a 12 point advantage for Clinton over Trump, 49% to 37% with 9% for Johnson. A CBS poll showed a tighter race with Clinton leading Trump 39% to 32% with Johnson at 11%. Clinton and Trump shared high unfavorable ratings in an ABC/Washington Post poll with 55% of respondents having a negative opinion of Clinton and 70% having a negative opinion of Trump.

Dissension within the Democratic Party appeared to crest in mid-June. Sanders finally admitted “it doesn’t appear that I’m going to be the nominee” and said he planned to vote for Clinton in the general election. This came even as reports showed Sanders was not being considered for the vice presidential nomination. According to The Wall Street Journal the individuals being vetted for the position were Senator Warren, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Senators Tim Kaine, Sherrod Brown, and Cory Booker, as well as Congressmen Tim Ryan and Xavier Becerra. Meanwhile, Trump’s June struggles continued as the DNC opposition research file on him was hacked, reportedly by the Russian government, then leaked and published on Gawker. Trump accused the DNC of orchestrating the hack itself to publicize “misleading and/or entirely inaccurate” information. Next, a number of prominent Republicans endorsed Clinton, including former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, both members of the George W. Bush administration. Congressman Mike Simpson claimed there were many other Republicans who would privately vote for Clinton over Trump without saying so publicly. Reports of an anti-Trump delegate coup at the Republican National Convention were published in The Washington Post. Trump denied this as a media-crafted hoax. Additionally, Federal Election Commission reports showed the Trump campaign short on cash with only $1,289,507 available. Citing need for a change, Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski replacing him with Paul Manafort. Combating the dissension within the party, national co-chairman Sam Clovis went on CNN, demanding Republicans “to get behind the presumptive nominee …[or] just shut the hell up.” The outlook for the Trump campaign improved with the vote in the United Kingdom to exit from the European Union. Trump publicly backed the exit, which was hailed as a populist reaction similar to the movement behind Trump. Trump, who was in Scotland at the time opening a golf course, explained the vote as the UK taking “back their country. That’s a great thing.” At the end of June, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed Trump trailing Clinton by only one point nationwide, 39% to 38%, with Johnson at 10% and presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein at 6%. By June 30, a Rasmussen Reports poll showed Trump with a four point lead over Clinton, 43% to 39%. In the Real Clear Politics average at the close of June, Clinton led Trump 44.6% to 39.8%.

Brexit’s impact on the US presidential election[]

In June, the United Kingdom voted to exit from the European Union, resulting in the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron. This historic turn of events, termed the Brexit, had ramifications of international import. Particularly, the moment became one of political significance in the United States due to the involvement of both President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Comparisons of the anti-establishment Brexit movement were made with the anti-establishment campaign of Trump. Seeking professional analysis, Wikinews looked to political science to better understand the potential impact of the Brexit vote on the 2016 US presidential election.

Last April, President Obama inserted himself into the politics of Brexit, urging Britain to remain in the European Union. He wrote an editorial for The Telegraph and held a press conference with Prime Minister Cameron in which he warned that if Britain divorced itself from the EU, it would go “to the back of the queue” in terms of a trade agreement with the United States. In contrast, Donald Trump argued in favor of Brexit, connecting it to the larger issue of immigration. Commentators noted the goals of the Brexit movement aligned with Trump’s protectionist views on trade and support for immigration restriction. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, a leading proponent of Brexit, was himself compared to Trump.

Anti-Brexit street art of Donald Trump embracing Boris Johnson.
Image: Matt Brown.

The most immediate impact of Brexit on the United States came just after reports of the 52 percent to 48 percent vote, when stocks tanked. Markets rebounded somewhat since, though uncertainty remains. Hillary Clinton attacked Trump for the consequence. Her foreign policy advisor Jake Sullivan argued that “Trump actively rooted for this outcome and the economic turmoil in its wake”. Clinton ran an ad in which she accused Trump of benefiting financially from a market downturn. Trump labeled the ad “disgraceful” and claimed she was “trying to wash away her bad judgment call on BREXIT with big dollar ads.”

Trump’s head-to-head polling numbers against Clinton increased somewhat after the June 23 vote. Trump rose in the Rasmussen Reports survey from a five point deficit before to a four point lead after. In Gravis, Trump cut Clinton’s four point lead in half. However, deficits for Trump remained unchanged for the Economist/YouGov and the Reuters/Ipsos polls.

Pollster John Zogby of Zogby Analytics expects Trump’s position to improve as a result of Brexit. He tells Wikinews, the vote “strengthens populism and gives Trump supporters some wind at their back.” As for Clinton, he foresees difficulties due to the closeness of the race and the perception of Clinton as “the rep of the elites at a bad time to be so.”

Political scientist John McCormick, a professor of European Union politics at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, mostly agrees. Though the Brexit impact is difficult to predict, McCormick explains to Wikinews that “some of the forces that led to Brexit are also behind the popularity of Donald Trump, and in that sense Brexit has opened the door a little wider to the possibility of a Trump presidency.”

“A lot of people voted for Brexit because they resented the manner in which they thought establishment politicians had ignored their needs, or were fearful of more emigration, or disliked the effects of globalization, or had bought into populist warnings about the growing domestic threats of Islamist extremist terrorism”, says McCormick, “So people here are going to be voting for Trump for many of the same reasons they voted for Brexit in the UK, and in that sense the vote will have an effect on the November election.”

McCormick also believes further economic disturbance could result from Brexit, which could itself have an effect on the election as US voters head to the polls.

Amid talk of secession in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and London, the UK Conservative Party was to select a new Prime Minister to oversee Brexit and attempt to unify the kingdom. The selection was thought likely to be made in October, just a month ahead of the US presidential election.

Cuban makes vice presidential pitch[]

With the National Basketball Association concluding its season in June, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has a new sport to follow. As he revealed last August in a chat on his social media app Cyber Dust, “5 weeks till training camp […] [b]ut until then Donald Trump watching is a sport.” Though Cuban, a fellow businessman and billionaire, then praised Trump’s unconventional candidacy as “probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time”, and even offered himself as a possible running mate, he has since grown critical of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, questioning his wealth, temperament, and business acumen. The marked change has led to speculation about Cuban’s own political aspirations. In May, members of the #NeverTrump movement approached him about running for president as an independent, which he rejected. He did, however, open himself to running as the running mate for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, punctuating that possibility with a statement that he is leaning toward voting for her over Trump in November. As the 2016 Democratic National Convention approaches, Cuban has continued to express his interest in the position.

Cuban in 2005.
Image: James Duncan Davidson/O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Cuban addressed the vice presidency on the May 22 edition of Meet the Press, proclaiming that, if offered, he would join Clinton’s ticket on the condition she “go more to the center” politically. He explained, “I like the fact that Senator Clinton has thought-out proposals.” Nevertheless, he has criticized Clinton for having “no personality”, “no charisma”, and for making “horrible mistakes” as Secretary of State, mentioning the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Nevertheless, Cuban says he is willing to look past all that, believing the main issue is “whether or not I can add value and whether or not I can impact any perspective and hopefully have a positive impact on the country”.

James Pethokoukis, writing for The Week, explains how Cuban can add value to a Democratic ticket. Describing Cuban as charismatic and well spoken, Pethokoukis says Cuban would neutralize Trump’s appeal as an outsider candidate while making the Democratic ticket “more palatable” to disaffected Republicans. Though the nomination of a centrist businessman could upset progressives, Pethokoukis feels Cuban’s middle-class Pennsylvania background could provide a compelling story for the majority of the electorate.

“Basically, Cuban is Trump”, writes Pethokoukis, “without all the bigotry … and without the insane policies … and with probably more dough.”

Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics disagrees with Pethokoukis’s premise. “To me, the first rule of vice presidential selection is ‘first, do no harm'”, he explains to Wikinews, “Cuban would be a risky choice for Clinton that does not provide an obvious benefit[…] One of Clinton’s benefits in this election is that, compared to Trump, she seems qualified for the job and serious enough for the job. Picking Cuban doesn’t really help her make that argument.”

Dan Judy of North Star Opinion Research agrees, commenting to Wikinews that Cuban has “virtually no chance” of becoming Clinton’s running mate because, “he’s a political novice who doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of shoring up Hillary’s left flank, appealing to independents, or being a governing partner. Cuban’s a colorful, outspoken guy, and I think he’s just having fun. I don’t think he has any real political ambitions.”

Clinton insiders also say Cuban has no chance. However, Clinton herself is appreciative of Cuban’s “openness,” announcing on Meet the Press that she is “very interested” in considering “successful businesspeople” who have not held elected office.

Still, Cuban has continued to make media appearances touting himself as a potential vice presidential candidate. He even went on the attack against a front-runner for the position, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, arguing she is too far left and that if she were selected, he would probably vote for Trump. In addition, Cuban recently boasted to TMZ that Clinton “needs me” for the position.

At the end of June, Cuban met with former President Bill Clinton, husband of Hillary, at a casual dinner party where politics were discussed.

Clinton is expected to choose a running mate before the July 25 National Convention commences in Philadelphia. Senators Warren, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro are among the favorites to receive the vice presidential nomination.

California American Independent Party primary winner speaks to Wikinews[]

Though most of the media attention of the June 7 California primary focused on the Democratic and Republican races, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump winning each, respectively, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and the American Independent Party (AIP) all held primaries as well, owing to the fact that each has attained the status of political party in the state; a designation reserved for parties that can show they have registered members totaling greater than 0.33% of registered voters in the state, and maintained with either keeping registered voters at that percentage or holding 0.067% of registered voters while winning at least two percent of the vote in a statewide election. The largest of these third parties, the AIP, had seven participants in its primary. Wikinews reached out to the victor, Alan Spears, an attorney from Cedar Glen, California.

██ Alan Spears

██ Arthur Harris

██ Robert Ornelas

██ Wiley Drake

██ J.R. Myers

██ James Hedges

██ Tom Hoefling

The AIP is a paleoconservative group formerly affiliated with the Constitution Party. It opposes same-sex marriage, abortion, and supports the construction of a fence along the US–Mexico border. Though the party has an estimated half million registered members, three percent of all registered voters in California, a Los Angeles Times poll shows 73% mistakenly joined the party believing they were registering as Independent. As a result, these voters could only vote in the American Independent Party primary.

According to the latest count, 42,241 voted for the candidates on the ballot in the primary. Ballot Access News speculated Donald Trump won the primary since more than two thirds of voters wrote-in candidates, the majority believed to have been for Trump, but these votes were not counted. Of the candidates on the ballot, Spears won with 8,103 votes (19.2%). Former Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineering technician Arthur Harris came in second with 7,216 (17.1%). 2012 AIP vice presidential nominee and hip hop artist Robert Ornelas finished third with 7,164 (17%). Fourth place Wiley Drake, a pastor and TV host, edged fifth place J.R. Myers, chairman of the Alaska Constitution Party, by one vote, 5,476 to 5,475 (roughly 13% apiece). Prohibition Party presidential nominee James Hedges came in sixth with 4,462 (10.6%). Surprisingly, the AIP’s 2012 presidential nominee Tom Hoefling came in last place with 4,345 votes (10.3%). The results of the primary are nonbinding. The AIP is to nominate its 2016 presidential ticket at its convention August 13–14.

Spears, who uses the slogan “Let’s Restore America’s Greatness,” proclaims on his candidate statement provided to the California Secretary of State, “[w]e [Americans] are at war with Islam!” He focuses his presidential campaign on the issue of Islamic terrorism, advocating the use of “overwhelming force” to combat it. Additionally, he believes the US government “must deal with anarchists hiding behind the First Amendment who seek to destroy our institutions,” and supports an eradication of the “Deep Dark Web.”

With Wikinews, Spears discusses his primary victory, the AIP nomination, ballot access, and what he hopes to accomplish with his campaign.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What is your reaction to winning the California American Independent Party presidential primary in June? Do you believe this victory will help you secure the AIP presidential nomination?

Spears: I was shocked and pleasantly surprised I won the AIP’s California June 7th Primary. It wasn’t by much of a margin, and the totality of the Party’s votes were minuscule, but I feel I did make a VERY conservative statement. I pray that it will [help secure the nomination]!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Are you attempting to appear on the ballot in other states? If so, where? If not, why?

Spears: I haven’t a clue how to get on the primary ballots in other states, and I believe it is too late at this juncture.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What do you hope to accomplish by running for president?

Spears: My ultra-conservative politics are essential to the survival of the Republic. Trump spews rhetoric, but until quite recently his words lack meaning. He has little insight into foreign policy and military matters. God, how I wish I could trade positions with him! I am “on record” The Voter’s Self Defense System with policy positions, have spewed much ultra-conservative drivel at www.Facebook.com/aesracingltd, and try to find time to blog to my website at Home – Alan E. Spears, Esq – Independent Presidential Candidate You may vet me at www.Alan Spears.com.



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December 12, 2015

UK\’s \’ban Trump\’ petition passes half-million mark

UK’s ‘ban Trump’ petition passes half-million mark

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

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Image: Gage Skidmore.

A petition on the UK government’s website, calling for US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump to be barred from entering the country, has now passed a half-million signatories becoming the most-popular petition ever posted on the site. The signatories include a majority of UK MPs.

The petition was originally submitted late November by campaigner Suzanne Kelly from Aberdeen, preceding Trump’s remarks which prompted the overwhelming response. Kelly, saying her attention was drawn due to concerns over Trump’s golfing developments in the area, noted, “I never in my wildest dreams imagined it would get so many signatures”. Locally, Robert Gordon University have stripped an honorary degree from Trump, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon removed him from the GlobalScot network of business ambassadors.

Following the tycoon’s call for a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, an NBC/WSJ survey found the majority of adults in the United States disagree with him. The remarks also prompted global criticism of Trump.

London mayor Boris Johnson said the demand made him “unfit to hold the office of the president of the United States”. French Prime minister Manuel Valls stated on Twitter, “Mr. Trump, like others, fuels hatred […] our only enemy is radical Islamism.” The director of the American university in Cairo‘s Kamal Adham Center for Television and Digital Journalism, Hafez Al Mirazi, said: “What we are getting now is really terrible […] Stuff that only the Ku Klux Klan and others would say.” Kassem Allie, from the Islamic Center of America, accused Trump of evoking fear “reminiscent of Nazi Germany“.

In contrast, a humorous petition calling on NASA to “send Donald Trump into Space and Leave Him There” on the change.org site has exceeded 30,000 signatures. Autumn Boehle from Michigan, who started the petition last Wednesday, says, if the petition garners sufficient signatures, she will provide a link where people can: “donate to make this happen. It wont be cheap, but it will be worth while.”

The petition to ban Donald Trump from the UK, having passed 100,000 signatures, is now eligible for debate in the House of Commons.



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December 9, 2015

Petition calls for Trump UK ban

Petition calls for Trump UK ban – Wikinews, the free news source

Petition calls for Trump UK ban

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

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A petition reached over 300,000 signatures today urging Donald Trump, considered the front runner to become the Republican Party‘s candidate for President of the United States, be banned from entering the United Kingdom. This follows Mr Trump’s comments that Muslims should be blocked from entering the US.

Donald Trump defended his policy on Tuesday of banning Muslims from the US
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Also, Scotland‘s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, removed Trump from his role as business ambassador for Scotland.

On Monday, Mr Trump said he wants a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US” until the country can understand “what the hell is going on” with regard to terrorism. He said in a statement that a large number of Muslims show “great hatred towards Americans”.

Trump’s comments on Monday came days after a shooting in San Bernardino, California by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, in which fourteen people were killed. US President Barack Obama said in an address from the Oval Office on Sunday the attack was an act of terrorism.

Donald Trump’s statement has been widely criticised, including by members of his own political party. Republican Matt Moore said the policy is a “bad idea” and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said “this is not Conservatism”.

Democrat candidate for President Hillary Clinton described Trump’s comments as “shameful”. Secretary of State John Kerry argued Trump’s statement would not help in the ongoing fight against Islamic State (IS), saying his remarks were “not constructive”.

Trump argued that his policy idea is “no different” to that of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policy which saw large-scale confinement of Japanese US citizens in internment camps following Japan’s attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Mr Trump also said the policy should not be implemented on Muslims currently living within the US.

Kassem Allie from the Islamic Center of America, accused Trump of evoking fear “reminiscent of Nazi Germany and Stalin“. The Pentagon expressed concern Trump’s demands could be counterproductive in the fight against IS, saying it “bolsters Isil’s narrative”.

Mr Trump also said on Tuesday that police in London are “afraid for their lives” in some areas because of radicalisation in the city. These comments were rebuffed by the United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron who said Trump was “simply wrong” and Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the claim was “ridiculous”.



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June 28, 2013

Stephen Lawrence police corruption allegations lead to calls for investigation

Stephen Lawrence police corruption allegations lead to calls for investigation

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Friday, June 28, 2013

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Home Secretary Theresa May
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The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence met with Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May to discuss the investigation of claims that the police attempted to collect evidence from the Lawrence family in order to smear them. Theresa May had previously announced Monday the allegations would be investigated as part of two ongoing inquiries, but representatives of the Lawrence family demanded an independent public inquiry into the events.

Doreen Lawrence said in the meeting May had said “all options are open”. Lawrence said the inquiry “should be open and not behind closed doors so that we can hear once and for all exactly what was going on after Stephen was murdered […] I think unless we have a public inquiry that goes through the whole thing, we will never get to the bottom of it”.

Stephen Lawrence was stabbed in London in 1993 by a gang of white teenagers while he waited for a bus. Lawrence’s killers were not convicted for eighteen years; failures in the police investigation led to an inquiry led by Sir William Macpherson that found the police to be “institutionally racist”.

The allegations regarding the Lawrence investigation were revealed on Monday by The Guardian and Channel 4‘s Dispatches programme, who interviewed Peter Francis, a former undercover officer with the Special Demonstration Squad.

While a member of the undercover squad, Peter Francis posed from 1993 to 1997 as an anti-racist campaigner and infiltrated a number of left-wing protest groups. Francis claims anti-racist campaigning after the death of Stephen Lawrence was considered by some in the Metropolitan Police to be a potential source for rioting and public disorder similar to the riots in Los Angeles riots in reaction to the treatment of Rodney King by police.

Francis said “there was almost constant pressure on me personally to find out anything I could that would discredit [the Lawrence family] campaigns.”

Stephen Lawrence’s father, Neville, expressed anger at the police over the allegations that they set out to collect evidence to smear his family: “It is unthinkable that in the extremely dark days and months after my son’s murder that my family were subject to such scrutiny”.

Neville Lawrence also called for an independent inquiry: “I understand that the home secretary has announced that she will extend the inquiries of Mark Ellison QC and Operation Herne, I would like to make it clear that I find this completely unsatisfactory.” He added: “I am convinced that nothing short of a judge-led public inquiry will suffice and I have no confidence that the measures announced today [Monday] will get to the bottom of this matter.”

Stephen Lawrence’s mother Doreen said she was “surprised and shocked” by the idea that the police were collecting intelligence on the Lawrence family: “They put all the resources into monitoring what the family and what the campaign was doing rather than investigating Stephen’s murder”.

David Cameron has expressed support for the Lawrence family: “Let’s be clear, these are absolutely dreadful allegations and we can only think of the Lawrence family, who have suffered so much already from the loss of their son. To hear that, potentially, the police that were meant to be helping them were actually undermining them — that’s horrific”. Cameron said he hopes investigations in to the allegations will happen “rapidly”.

London mayor Boris Johnson also expressed disapproval with the alleged actions of the police: “I cannot think of anything more despicable than the police attempting to smear Stephen Lawrence’s family. If there was a campaign to discredit those seeking justice, we need to know what the orders were and who gave them. We need to know whether there was any criminal activity, and we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of criminal proceedings.”

Greater Manchester Police have announced they are conducting inquiries into allegations that Special Branch police in Manchester sent a request for information on those participating in the Macpherson Inquiry.



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August 31, 2012

Ukraine beats Great Britain women\’s sitting volleyball in straight sets at 2012 Summer Paralympics

Ukraine beats Great Britain women’s sitting volleyball in straight sets at 2012 Summer Paralympics

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2012 Summer Paralympics

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Newest 2012 Paralympic stories
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  • 15 August 2013: Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Deborah Font
  • 11 August 2013: Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Marta Gómez

Friday, August 31, 2012

Team GB fans make their presence felt
Image: Laura Hale.

Both teams at the net
Image: Laura Hale.

London, England— The Paralympic host nation’s women’s sitting volleyball team lost to Ukraine earlier today at London’s ExCel—South Arena 2, in straight sets, before a crowd of enthusiastic supporters. Ukraine won the first set 25-9, the second 25-20 and the third 25-14.

In the second set, Great Britain managed to keep the game competitive by forcing Ukraine to make more use of the full court. They went from being behind 14-8 to being down 20-17; at which point, Ukraine took a time out. Ukraine managed to stay ahead despite a challenge from Great Britain in the second set, which saw the score get to 23-20.

Following the game, both teams were loudly cheered as they exited the court. This was followed by a demonstration of the sport by the Lord Mayor of London Boris Johnson and British actress Barbara Windsor, with the arena commentator noting Johnson is a surprisingly good player.

The game was the first for Great Britain in the country’s history, having never qualified a team before. Players on the team are drawn from several clubs around the nation, with Julie Rogers, Jessica Frezza and Andrea Green coming from the Loughborough Lions, Victoria Widdup, Martine Wright and Claire Harvey usually playing for the London Lynx, Samantha Bowen, Jessica O’Brien and Amy Brierly playing for the FDSW Celtic Dragons, and Emma Wiggs and Nicole Hill playing for Portsmouth. They will play their second match of pool play tomorrow when they face the Netherlands.

Ukraine, the top ranked European side in the competition, entered the tournament having finished second at the Intercontinental Cup earlier in the year where they beat Russia, Slovenia, Brazil and Great Britain. Ukraine’s second match is against the Netherlands on Sunday.



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December 15, 2010

Police officer and community support officer stabbed in west London, England

Police officer and community support officer stabbed in west London, England

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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Image: Dani_7C3.

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The Metropolitan Police Service has confirmed that a police officer and a police community support officer were stabbed in the west of London, England. The officers were stabbed at a bus stop in the Ealing Broadway region of the city about 1505 UTC while examining bus tickets. The man stabbed the two in an attempt to evade arrest.

Cquote1.svg Shocked by the stabbing of a police officer & a PCSO in Ealing. No place for this on the streets of London Cquote2.svg

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

The pair were subsequently transported to hospital by ambulance. The police community support officer was seriously injured, having been stabbed in the arms. However, he was not thought to have suffered life-threatening injuries. The police officer was stabbed in the neck. His injuries were considered life-threatening.

The alleged attacker, a 30-year-old male, was arrested at the scene of the attack. According to reports, he was wanted by the police for recall to prison. When it became clear that he was going to be arrested, he drew a knife and stabbed the two.

Koon Midam, a witness to this incident, commented: “The man was asked to show a valid ticket and went into a violent rage. Very quickly the problem escalated as he drew his knife and made a few quick slashes. It was more of a shock for the first few moments and then there were the cries, the Pc dropping to the floor and the man lashing out again.”

Another male witness described the events. “I could see two policemen sprinting to the back of a police car to retrieve a green first aid kit,” he said. “They rushed back to assist a policeman who had blood on him. I then noticed another policeman who was walking slowly and then collapsed on the pavement. His arm fell to his side. As I drove away I also noticed a number of policemen pinning a man to the ground. He was shouting. What disturbed me most of all was the amount of blood on the pavement, it was clear that someone was very seriously injured.”

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, has uploaded a message to the social networking website Twitter regarding this incident. In the tweet, Johnson states: “Shocked by the stabbing of a police officer & a PCSO in Ealing. No place for this on the streets of London”.



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October 30, 2009

Vigil for hate victims takes place in London

Vigil for hate victims takes place in London

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Library image of a candle

A silent vigil for the Victims of hate crime is taking place in Trafalgar Square, London this evening.

The vigil follows recent homophobic attacks including those on Ian Baynham and James Parkes. London Mayor Boris Johnson, in speaking of tonight’s vigil said, “Londoners have become increasingly concerned about the number of homophobic attacks and the recent death of Ian Baynham was particularly appalling. My thoughts are with his friends, family and everyone affected by hate crime.”

The vigil also comes following the publication of crime statistics showing that the level of homophobic attacks in the UK had risen. Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson acknowledged the concerns of many citizens regarding the increase in homophobic attacks. “My sincere condolences to Ian Baynham’s family and friends. This was a dreadful crime and we are, and will continue to do everything we can to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.”

Mark Healy, one of the organisers of the vigil, was quoted by BBC News as saying “If we forget about these victims we could become complacent and fail to learn from the past.” adding that

“Whenever someone is attacked, pain and suffering is not just caused to them, but also to their family and the wider community. We hope the vigil will also inspire young people to tackle issues of equality in the community.”

The vigil is being organised by Facebook group 17-24-30, who take their name from the London nail bomb attacks on Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho in 1999. Confirmed attendees include London Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes and comedienne Sandi Toksvig. A letter from Stuart Milk, nephew of the late Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician elected in California, will be read out. The Gay Men’s Chorus will also be performing.



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July 7, 2009

Tributes paid to the victims of the July 7 2005 London bombings

Tributes paid to the victims of the July 7 2005 London bombings

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ambulances at Russell Square, London after the July 7, 2005 bombings.

A permanent memorial for the victims of the July 7, 2005 London bombings has been unveiled in Hyde Park, London, England. Today is the fourth anniversary of the bombings, when 52 people were killed by suicide bombers on board three Underground trains and a bus.

52 stainless steel columns standing 3.5m (11.5ft) tall were inaugurated in the presence of Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Bowles, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Minister for London, Tessa Jowell.

Each column represented “a unique person and a unique grief” according to the Minister for London.

Jowell continued, “Each one casts a shadow just as they do – each one standing tall and proud just as they did, and each one will in an individual way absorb and reflect light just as they did.”

A 1.4 tonne stainless steel plaque with the names of the people killed was also unveiled.

Prince Charles laid a wreath on behalf of the nation. The Duchess of Cornwall left a floral tribute for the families of the victims.

The families themselves laid roses and then met the prince and the duchess.



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July 4, 2009

Wife of British Prime Minister attends gay pride parade in London

Wife of British Prime Minister attends gay pride parade in London

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sarah Brown, wife of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown, attended an annual gay pride parade in London on Saturday. Organizers of the event met with Sarah and Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street.

Sarah Brown in 2008
Image: White House photo by Chris Greenberg.

The Associated Press reported that five hundred thousand individuals attended the event, which was organized by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups. Sarah was seen in the march holding a pink Union Flag while marching on Regent Street and Oxford Street and through the city’s shopping district. Drag queens wearing large blond wigs and Union Flag attire marched behind her.

Cquote1.svg This Government is committed to standing at your shoulders in the fight for equality… Cquote2.svg

—Gordon Brown

Prime Minister Brown stated that “massive strides towards equality” had occurred in Britain, such as civil partnerships for homosexual couples. “This Government is committed to standing at your shoulders in the fight for equality and we are guided by one very simple principle when it comes to LGBT rights: you can’t legislate love,” said Brown. Boris Johnson, mayor of London, addressed march attendants through video, and stated “how proud” he felt to be supportive of the pride parade.

Peter Tatchell, an Australian-born British human rights activist, said that civil partnerships were “a form of sexual apartheid”. Tatchell marched during the pride parade carrying a sign that read “Gordon and Sarah can marry, gays can’t. End the ban on gay marriage,” and said he would request Sarah Brown speak with the Prime Minister regarding permitting homosexual couples to get married in the same manner as their heterosexual counterparts, as opposed to civil partnerships.



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January 29, 2009

Sir Paul Stephenson to head London\’s police

Sir Paul Stephenson to head London’s police

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Metropolitan Police headquarters, New Scotland Yard
Image: ChrisO.

The British government has announced the appointment of Sir Paul Stephenson to head London’s Metropolitan Police Service.

Stephenson said his priorities as Commissioner would be knife crime and teenage murders. The Times quoted him as telling reporters that his agenda “is about solving crime, securing our streets, convincing all our communities that we are on their side and delivering the policing they want and being intolerant of violence in any form”.

The vacancy at the Met arose when the then-new Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, expressed a lack of confidence in Sir Ian Blair. While Johnson has no direct say in who acts as Commissioner, the lack of confidence made Blair’s position untenable and he announced his resignation in October 2008 to take effect in December. The media has assumed there was a two-horse race to succeed Blair, between his deputy Stephenson and Northern Ireland’s police chief Hugh Orde. Some elements of the media had assumed that Stephenson was out of the running following the arrest of Tory MP Damien Green as part of a leak enquiry. Stephenson had authorised the arrest.

Stephenson joined Lancashire police in 1975. He rose to become assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside police, then returned to Lancashire and became Chief Constable in 2002. He joined the Met as Deputy Commissioner in 2005 and has been filling the Commissioner’s role since December of last year.



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