Thursday, February 02, 2017
MONTREAL POLICE ARREST MAN ACCUSED OF ONLINE HATE SPEECH TARGETING MUSLIMS.
Montreal police arrest Kirkland man accused of online hate speech targeting Muslims-Provincial police came across remarks while monitoring social media sites, then notified Montreal police-CBC News Feb 01, 2017 8:39 AM ET
Montreal police have arrested a Kirkland man accused of making hateful social media comments targeting Muslims.The man was arrested overnight at a home on de Shediac Street, near de Berne Street in Kirkland.Const. Raphael Bergeron said members of the Sûreté du Québec came across the alleged remarks while monitoring various social media sites.They transmitted the information to Montreal police. Investigators were questioning the man, whose name has not been released.It is still unclear what charges he may face, or whether he will appear in court Wednesday or be released on a promise to appear.Montreal police Chief Philippe Pichet said Tuesday that since Sunday night's attack at a Quebec City mosque, there has been a spike in reports of hate-related comments.The force is hiring 55 people whose jobs will include monitoring social media sites for hate speech.
Canada 'trash radio' under fire after Quebec mosque attack-[AFP]-Clément SABOURIN-YAHOONEWS-February 1, 2017
Quebec City (AFP) - After a shooting rampage at a Quebec City mosque, the Canadian province's popular conservative talk radio hosts have come under fire for allegedly spreading intolerance and hate.Critics say the talk shows fuel a divisive climate that allows extreme ideologies to take root and flourish -- a charge that has taken on heightened relevance after a gunman with far-right sympathies opened fire on Muslim worshippers, killing six and wounding eight more.While not pointing a finger at any specific person or organization, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard emphasized Tuesday that "words do matter."Residents of Quebec City tend to vote more conservatively than the rest of the province.Some say that radio stations like local FM93 and Radio X -- which are respectively the region's second and third-most listened to, with a combined 30 percent market share -- simply reflect their audience's views.But others say the shows stoke dangerous beliefs."These are right-wing talk radio stations with little substance but a lot of opinions," said Stephane Leman-Langlois, a criminologist at Laval University, where the alleged shooter studied.These "trash radio" stations, as they have become known locally, "contribute to legitimize increasingly adversarial discourse against minorities in general and Muslims in particular," he told AFP.Leman-Langlois said they tout "white supremacy, white victimology and repeat over and over that Quebec is in grave danger."Station managers did not respond to requests for an interview.But Sylvain Bouchard, a host on FM93, said, "We must fight disinformation, and we failed to do this enough."There is no indication the suspect arrested in connection to the attack at the Quebec City mosque on Sunday listened to these radio stations.His online activities, however, suggest that he supports political leaders including US President Donald Trump and French far-right politician Marine Le Pen.Muslims in the Canadian province lay the blame for rising Islamophobia squarely at the foot of local right-wing talk radio.Some stations "have made it their mission to increase distrust and hate of Muslims," said Mohamed Yangui, head of the Islamic cultural center and mosque that was attacked.For more news videos visit Yahoo View, available now on iOS and Android.- 'Spokesperson for racism' -"Their comments are often over the top and blundering," said Leman-Langlois, recalling a one-hour episode last fall in which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was said to be an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood determined to Islamize Canada."There is really an examination of conscience to do on the part of these radio stations."His words echo media research group Project J, which has called on the stations to take a hard look at themselves and reflect on how they cover communities -- "Muslims in particular."The organization has highlighted the under representation of visible minorities in Quebec media, for example, compared to the rest of Canada.Calls have also increased to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications agency, which regulates the industry, to take a hard line.The CRTC has at times warned radio stations, and some hosts have been sued for defamation, but the stations themselves keep broadcasting.Since the mosque shooting, these radio stations have said they deplore violence.But on Tuesday morning, Radio X's broadcast quickly degenerated, decrying that the far-right's political agenda had come under siege from the left.The host accused "leftists of rejoicing" over the opportunity to use the attack to thrash conservatives' views.But for Mohamed Ali Saidane, who lost a friend to the shooting, some of the radio hosts "have become spokespeople for racism.""The general climate remains negative," he said.
Mosque shooting a challenge to Canada pluralism-[AFP]-Jacques LEMIEUX-YAHOONEWS-February 1, 2017
Montreal (AFP) - The Quebec City mosque shooting was a brutal blow to Canada's multicultural, open and tolerant society, revealing cracks in what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says is the nation's biggest strength.Police are still piecing together motives for the attack, that resulted in the deaths of six worshippers.But according to Andre Gagne, a theologian at Concordia University in Montreal and expert on radicalization, the likely hate required to spur such violence did not sprout in isolation.The shooting occurred one day after Trudeau, a fervent advocate of multiculturalism, said Canada would welcome all refugees regardless of their faith.Those comments followed President Donald Trump's 90-day ban on entry into the United States to nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries.The attack has cast a shadow over Canada's image as a safe and inclusive society. Last year it welcomed 40,000 Syrian refugees. Trudeau himself met the first arrivals with a smile and a gift of a parka.Muslims are a minority in Canada, totaling 1.1 million out of a total population of 36 million.Gagne told AFP: "There is increasing intolerance around the world, which is feeding both Islamist extremists and far right groups."He said the attack by a far right sympathizer raises questions about religion's place in society, "which nobody now wants to talk about."- 'Open our eyes' -"Many commentators have said the attack was a total surprise. But we must open our eyes. We knew well before that there were problems," commented Martin Papillon, a political science professor at the University of Montreal."It is indicative of a wider problem than the simple question of social integration," he said, adding that there were before the rampage "plenty of signs of intolerance towards the Muslim community" in this country.Paradoxically, "the members of this mosque were well integrated into Canadian society," Gagne said, noting that they all spoke French, some had lived here more than 30 years, and one was even a respected professor at Laval University."The societal fractures have always been there, and are growing wider in Quebec and in Canada, as elsewhere in the world," said Papillon.Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has rejected suggestions the attack is proof that Muslims and others cannot live together in a liberal democracy -- a bedrock of Canada's multicultural mosaic."Every society must live with demons" such as "Islamaphobia, racism and exclusion" and "if our society is not perfect it is because no society is perfect."Like the rest of Canada, Quebec welcomes migrants of different ethnicities from around the world, but arguably Canada's policy of pluralism is contested here, according to Papillon.The descendants of French colonists are still the majority in Quebec, but they constitute a minority within Canada. And some view multiculturalism as diluting their own francophone identity, which they fought to preserve over the past 400 years.The French tradition tends more to discourage, in the public arena at least, religious or other symbols that accentuate people belonging to a minority as opposed to being part of a larger nation.Trudeau proclaims the post-modern character of Canada as one that celebrates individual freedoms and universal values that unite its citizens."Diversity is our strength and, as Canadians, religious tolerance is a value that is dear to us," the prime minister said Monday after the mosque shooting.The shooting highlights a disconnect between this non-Quebec Canada, where symbols of religion and ethnic identity are worn proudly in parliament, and Quebec, which broke with its Catholic past last century and embraced secularism akin to that which emerged in France.Over the past three years, for example, a debate has raged in Quebec over whether to legislate a ban on wearing ostentatious religious symbols in the public service, pitting nationalists against pluralists."We must take off our rose-colored glasses and admit that we are still grappling with these difficult questions" and will continue to do so "as long as we fail to try to understand one another," Gagne concluded.
WORLD POWERS IN THE LAST DAYS (END OF AGE OF GRACE NOT THE WORLD)
EUROPEAN UNION-KING OF WEST-DAN 9:26-27,DAN 7:23-24,DAN 11:40,REV 13:1-10
EGYPT-KING OF THE SOUTH-DAN 11:40
RUSSIA-KING OF THE NORTH-EZEK 38:1-2,EZEK 39:1-3
CHINA-KING OF THE EAST-DAN 11:44,REV 9:16,18
VATICAN-RELIGIOUS LEADER-REV 13:11-18,REV 17:4-5,9,18
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.(WORLD TERRORISM,MURDERS)(HAMAS IN HEBREW IS VIOLENCE)
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence (TERRORISM)(HAMAS) through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her,(HAGAR) Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael;(FATHER OF THE ARAB/MUSLIMS) because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
12 And he (ISHMAEL-FATHER OF THE ARAB-MUSLIMS) will be a wild (DONKEY-JACKASS) man;(ISLAM IS A FAKE AND DANGEROUS SEX FOR MURDER CULT) his hand will be against every man,(ISLAM HATES EVERYONE) and every man's hand against him;(PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM BEING BEHEADED) and he (ISHMAEL ARAB/MUSLIM) shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.(LITERAL-THE ARABS LIVE WITH THEIR BRETHERN JEWS)
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,(SATAN) son of the morning!(HEBREW-CRECENT MOON-ISLAM) how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I (SATAN HAS EYE TROUBLES) will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.(AND 1/3RD OF THE ANGELS OF HEAVEN FELL WITH SATAN AND BECAME DEMONS)
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.(ISLAM MURDERS IN THE NAME OF MOON GOD ALLAH OF ISLAM)
EUobserved-EU flirts with hypocrisy in criticising Trump's refugee ban By Nikolaj Nielsen-feb 1,17-euobserver
BRUSSELS, Today, 11:00-The EU rightly spoke out against Donald Trump's entry ban on asylum seekers from Syria. But its own track record leaves much to be desired.EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday (30 January) that the EU would continue to host refugees."It's our identity: we celebrate when walls are brought down and bridges are built," she said in a tweet.Her comments appeared the same day a young man from Pakistan suffocated to death in a tent at the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. He was trying to keep warm. It was the third death at the camp in a week.The misery of people is well documented in so-called hotspots set up by the EU in both Italy and in Greece. The conditions are so bad that many, including Syrian refugees, have volunteered to return to Turkey from the Greek islands.The EU blames the Greek government. The Greek government blames EU states for not relocating asylum seekers and for sealing off the Western Balkan route.When Hungary erected a wall on its border with Serbia, the European Commission said it was a national issue. When a Syrian refugee protested against the barrier, Hungarian authorities gave him a 10-year prison sentence.The EU talks endlessly about solidarity. But in reality, solidarity does not exist except among the nameless volunteers on the ground. And some of those are risking jail for their efforts. One Danish woman went on trial for people-smuggling after giving a family of refugees a ride to Copenhagen. A similar case is unfolding in Sweden.Only around 10,000 people have been relocated from Italy and Greece to other EU states. The two-year scheme, which ends in September, had called for 160,000.Many more have been kicked out. Almost 11,000 people were sent home last year, a four-fold increase compared with 2015 when 3,565 migrants were returned in 66 operations.Both EU commission and member states now appear to oppose issuing humanitarian visas for people in need.Germany may stand out as an exception after welcoming some 1 million in 2015.-Disgrace-But the fact that the world's richest nations are unwilling to properly care for the thousands stranded in Greece and on its islands is a disgrace. The task has largely been delegated to volunteers, NGOs and international aid organisations.With populist parties gaining ground in the Netherlands, France and Germany, the anti-immigrant discourse has also gone mainstream. Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte last week told Muslims to "act normal, or go away".France's conservative presidential contender Francois Fillon has promised to erect national borders and German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere wants zones outside Europe to screen applicants before arrival.De Maiziere's proposal is gaining traction.The plan is to offshore the problem to war-torn Libya. The job is already under way in a handful of other African states and Afghanistan. This is the EU's invisible wall.Last week, the EU commission announced a €200 million migrant deal with Libya and other north African states. It includes more training for the Libyan coast guard and navy and more surveillance in a country whose detention centres, according to leaked memos from the German government, are death traps.Catherine Woollard, secretary general of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), has shed doubt on the plan."By supporting the Libyan coastguard, Europe wants to dispense with its obligation to provide protection. But what 'protection' will be provided when they are returned to Libyan soil - and the migrant centres it hosts?" she said.Malta, the EU rotating presidency, says a migrant deal signed last year between Turkey and the EU could be a blueprint for Libya. The EU Turkey deal slowed the flow of people leaving for Greece.But Libya has no functioning government and is largely run by warlords, despite the UN having the recognised GNA government in Tripoli.Around 5,000 people died trying to reach the EU last year.Most drowned while crossing the Mediterranean from Libya. Many more have been rescued and brought to Italy. But once onshore, another struggle begins.-Italian police-Last year, Amnesty International documented cases of torture by the Italian police in their effort to meet EU commission demands to fingerprint every arriving asylum seeker.On the Italian border with Austria, Musa Diakite, a 35-year old from Mali, broke down and cried in despair when he told this website his dignity was in shreds.Diakite's application for asylum was rejected. Unable to return home and without any rights, he wandered about aimlessly. "I don't want to sleep in the streets, I can't do it," he said.He is one of many in a Europe that has turned its back on people in need of help.
This didn’t start yesterday': Quebec's history with Islamophobia and the problem nationwide-Terri Coles-Yahoo Canada NewsFebruary 1, 2017
The deadly shooting at a Quebec City mosque is highlighting concerns about rising Islamophobia in the province, after years of polls showing growing anti-Muslim sentiment and proposed laws targeting religious garb.“Muslims are fearful, they are concerned. Over the last ten years or so we’ve seen the rise of Islamophobia,” imam Yūsuf Badāt of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto told Yahoo Canada News.The Islamophobia seen in Quebec is part of a broader history discrimination in Canada, says Michelle Hartman, an Islamic studies professor at McGill University.“There is a specific local context to Quebec, and we have a lot of things here that foster and give rise to racism and Islamophobia … But they’re also not specific,” Hartman said.For example, the racism and exclusion of Muslims is akin to police carding of Black and brown people in Toronto or the residential school system for Indigenous people, she says.-Recent history with Quebec and Islam-Thousands protested in Quebec in 2013 against a proposed charter of values that would have forbidden public employees from wearing conspicuous religious symbols like hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes, or larger-than-normal crucifixes.And Bill 62, introduced in Quebec last year and currently in committee, would prohibit anyone receiving public services or working in the public sector to wear a face covering like a niqab. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has called Bill 62 “a deeply troubling law that would infringe basic rights and cannot be justified in a free and democratic society.”Similar laws in Europe have been tied to a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment and even personal attacks. When France introduced a ban on veils covering the face, some say incidents of Islamophobia rose, in particular those targeting women. And when some French communities banned burkinis, videos of Muslim women being publicly singled out for discrimination cropped up online.The problem goes beyond government policy. A survey done by the Quebec Human Rights Commission in 2015 found that 48.9 per cent of respondents were bothered by “being attended to” by a woman in a hijab. According to data from the Minister of Public Security in Quebec the number of annual hate crimes in the province was 257 in 2014-15, compared to 198 in 2010-11.The often-changing nature of hate groups makes them difficult to track but a study released last February found that there were dozens across the country at any one time, with most located in the populous provinces of Ontario and Quebec.-Moving forward-Days after the attacks in Quebec City, there is fear and apprehension among Muslims in Canada, Badāt says. And Montreal police reported Tuesday that there has been a spike in hate crime calls since Sunday’s shooting.Just as some legislators have played a role in stoking Islamophobia with their words, they can have a part in countering it, Badāt says.“In terms of government I think it’s high time that they need to establish some legislation around Islamophobia, because it’s real,” he said. M-103, a motion calling on the government to look into reducing Islamophobia and other systemic discrimination is scheduled for debate in the House of Commons in February.But Badāt says he and other Muslim leaders are also heartened by the support he has seen from Canadians since the Quebec City attack. Coming together combats the ignorance that fosters hate, he says.“This is an opportunity to collaborate and work together and make efforts to understand each other,” Badāt said.Part of that work is looking not just at Quebec and Islamophobia itself, Hartman says, but at discrimination across the country. She says rhetoric about an open and inclusive society needs to be reflected in government policy — such as the rules for refugee admission or in our immigration system.“This didn’t start yesterday, or even 2012 or 2007. It’s a much longer and deeper problem,” Hartman said.
Security fund deadline extended after mosque shooting-Dene Moore-National Affairs Contributor-Yahoo Canada News-February 1, 2017
The federal government has extended the application deadline for funding that helps improve security for communities at risk of hate crimes, in the aftermath of a deadly terrorist attack on a Quebec City mosque.The Security Infrastructure program provides up to $100,000 for non-profit organizations to strengthen security. The Jan. 31 deadline has now been pushed back to March 31.Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced the extension in his statement on the Quebec City mosque shooting on Monday.“The call for applications under the Security Infrastructure Program was scheduled to close tomorrow. The Department of Public Safety will extend that deadline, so that places of worship, community centres, and educational institutions have a chance to re-examine their security infrastructure – and consider bolstering it,” he said.Introduced in 2007, the fund provides up to a total of $1 million per year, on a 50-50 shared basis with at-risk organizations. To date, though, 202 non-profits have received a total of $4.1 million – far short of the total that’s available through the program.“This program helps ensure community members can practice their faith, culture, and activities peacefully, without fear of harm,” Jean-Philippe Levert, spokesman for Public Safety Canada, said in an email response to Yahoo Canada News.“Eligible recipients include places of worship, schools and community centers. It is not limited to religious institutions.”Levert said program funds help cover the costs of minor security infrastructure enhancements such as outdoor lighting, fencing, and video surveillance.Attacks on Jewish organizations and members of the Jewish faith still dominate Canadian hate crime statistics, but such attacks have decreased in recent years while attacks on Muslims have rapidly increased.Police across Canada reported 1,295 hate crimes in 2014. That’s 3.7 incidents per 100,000 people. (For comparison, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation reported 3.2 hate crimes against Muslims alone per 100,000 people.) Of those Canadian incidents reported in 2014, 429 were motivated by religion and 611 by race or ethnicity. Of the religious hate crimes, 99 were against Muslim people or organization, while 213 were anti-Semitic. Of the race crimes, 69 were against Arabs or West Asians, compared to 238 against Blacks, according to reports from Statistics Canada. The crimes range from homicide to uttering threats and vandalism.The shifting target of hatemongers is reflected in the list of infrastructure security funding.The mosque where a white Quebec man opened fire and killed six worshippers on Sunday night was previously targeted. A pig’s head was left on the front steps last year.Last fall, someone set fire to garbage bins outside the South Nepean Muslim Community centre. It was not the first attack on the centre, which received $75,000 through the federal Infrastructure Security program to make safety improvements.Two years earlier, a man inflicted $10,000 in damages to the Assunnah Muslim Association in Ottawa, in the weeks after Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was killed by an Islamic extremist as he guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial. The Assunnah association has since received $50,000 through the fund.No one from the National Council of Canadian Muslims was immediately available to comment, but the group warned in a 2014 report of an increase in anti-Islamic hate crime.“The incidence of anti-Muslim hate crimes or incidents reported to [the National Council of Canadian Muslims], the Toronto Police, or in the media has risen sharply overall,” the report said.The murders of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo in Ottawa and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., in a deliberate hit-and-run two days earlier caused an immediate spike in attacks reported to the council, it noted. The incidents included an attack on a teenage girl by a 67-year-old man in Hamilton, Ont., and shots fired at a vehicle of five women wearing hijabs in Ottawa.
Speak loudly and carry a big stick: how Kevin O'Leary would govern Canada-[The Canadian Press]-yahoonews-February 1, 2017
OTTAWA — He's a household name in Canada and the U.S., and Kevin O'Leary intends to use audiences in both to convince Canadians he's the right man to lead this country.Millions of Americans watch his reality TV show "Shark Tank" each week, making him a household name in a country that's overhauling all of its international relationships, O'Leary said in a wide-ranging interview with The Canadian Press.Case in point: on Tuesday, O'Leary met Conservative MPs, and later glad-handed with party members whose support he needs to become leader; this morning, he was planning to be on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for the opening bell.He said he would be talking up the Canadian economy and trade in a way the current Liberal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has failed to do in the weeks since U.S. President Donald Trump was elected."This is an opportunity for me to do something I don't believe any Canadians had an opportunity to do," O'Leary said."I've built a trust over a decade with them on television, and to be able to explain our relationship in a unique way, in a way that they will trust. Trudeau? I'm better known in the U.S. than he is."Those conversations are part of a long game O'Leary said he's playing when it comes to carving out his path to victory in the Conservative leadership race, a campaign that comes to a close May 27 when members choose a permanent new leader.The moment O'Leary called his now-campaign chair to confirm he would run came just before Christmas, when the federal Finance Department issued a report predicting budget shortfalls until at least 2051, with debt levels exceeding $1.55 trillion.The thought of his two adult children buried by that kind of debt was unthinkable, O'Leary said.It's his kids — 20-year-old Trevor and 23-year-old Savannah — that seem to be serving as the touchpoints for O'Leary's nascent political campaign.He said he intends to win by targeting voters in the 18-to-35 demographic and convincing them to first join the party, and then to back him in 2019 for prime minister.His secret weapon? They've seen him on TV."There's no other candidate that connects with the young with the way I can," he said. "They grew up with me; I've been on television forever."While he's running on an economic platform first, on social issues he said he intends to be where his kids are on the political spectrum. And in 2015, neither of them voted Conservative.So when his daughter tells him that protecting and championing the rights of lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex Canadians is important, he listens, he said.And to social conservatives within the party who don't agree, or who don't want to legalize marijuana or permit doctor-assisted dying, he has a simple question: "Do you want to win a majority government?"He's already providing hints of what life might look like under an O'Leary majority government.A series of angry letters he's been trading with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who he blames for destroying the Ontario economy, is partially about setting a tone, he suggested.Any province that gets in the way of his plan to get the country to 3 per cent growth in GDP will feel the heat, he said."Call me when you fix it or suffer the consequences of a prime minister with a big stick," O'Leary said. "There's many many tools you have as a prime minister — you start at transfer payments all the way down."Since announcing he was joining the race in late January, O'Leary said his campaign has signed up 9,000 members and raised $300,000, an effort he said that dwarfs that of any of the 13 other candidates in the race.Fundraising numbers released Tuesday show Maxime Bernier raised $586,000 during the final three months of 2016, with Kellie Leitch, the next closest candidate, came in at more than $355,000.Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press.
U.S. Senate delays vote on Trump EPA pick after Democrats boycott-[Reuters]-YAHOONEWS-February 1, 2017
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican U.S. senators on Wednesday delayed a committee vote on President Donald Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency after the panel's Democrats boycotted the meeting, saying that nominee Scott Pruitt doubts the science of climate change.The boycott in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee delayed the transition to a new administrator for the agency. Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat, said he could not support Pruitt, a Republican and the attorney general of Oklahoma, for a public health position because he "denies the sum of empirical science and the urgency to act on climate change."At a confirmation hearing held by the panel earlier this month Pruitt, who has sued the agency he intends to run more than a dozen times on behalf of the oil-drilling state Oklahoma, expressed doubt about climate change science. But he said he would be would be obliged for now to uphold the agency's 2009 "endangerment finding" that carbon dioxide emissions harm public health.Republicans decried the move by the Democrats. "This is simply a senatorial temper tantrum," said Senator Dan Sullivan, a Republican.John Konkus, a spokesman for Pruitt's confirmation team, said Democrats and the former EPA administration had "put politics and rhetoric ahead of their core work and ahead of the welfare of the American public."In 2013, Republican senators on the panel boycotted then-President Barack Obama's second term pick for the agency, Gina McCarthy, saying they were "completely unsatisfied" by her answers to more than 1,000 written questions they had asked her. She was eventually confirmed.(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Bill Trott)
U.S. Senate panel suspends rules, backs Price, Mnuchin for Cabinet-[Reuters]-By Susan Cornwell-YAHOONEWS-February 1, 2017
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee suspended committee rules and confirmed U.S. Representative Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services and banker Steven Mnuchin to be Treasury secretary Wednesday on a straight party line vote, sending the nominations to the Senate floor.Under pressure from their political base to block President Donald Trump's nominees, Democrats stayed away from the meeting for a second day running. This normally would have stopped action, but Republicans plowed ahead by voting to suspend the rule that required at least one Democrat to be present for business to be conducted.Republican members of the committee, who were all present, then approved the nominees 14-0. The nominees are considered likely to be confirmed by the Republican-majority Senate."We took some unprecedented action today due to some unprecedented obstruction on the part of our colleagues," said the panel's chairman, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who was furious over the Democrats' no-show. He said he had obtained approval from the Senate parliamentarian for the move suspending the rule.Democrats were also unhappy."It's deeply troubling to me that Republicans on the Finance Committee chose to break the rules in the face of strong evidence of two nominees' serious ethical problems," the Finance Committee's top Democrat, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, said in a statement.The Democrats said Tuesday they were boycotting Finance Committee proceedings because they wanted more information on Price's stock trades in an Australian medical company and reports that Mnuchin's former bank, OneWest, used automated "robo-signings" of foreclosure documents, which apparently contradicted statements the nominees had made to senators.Senate Democrats on Wednesday boycotted another committee vote on Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who has expressed doubts about the science of climate change. That session ended without any committee action.Republicans accused the Democrats of deliberately stalling the functions of Trump's new administration. "They (the Democrats) had tons of information (about Price and Mnuchin)," Hatch said. "It's another way of roughing up the president and his choice of nominees."But Democrats have come under pressure from liberal activists who want them to counter Trump at every turn, especially after his order last week blocking immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. It sparked a wave of protests in major U.S. cities.One group that has been running television ads against Mnuchin blasted Republicans for the vote."Steven Mnuchin is such an illegitimate, compromised nominee that Republicans had to change the rules to force through his nomination," said Kait Sweeney, press secretary of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.(additional reporting by Susan Heavey and David Lawder; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Alan Crosby)
Air strikes hit Red Crescent offices in Syria, monitoring group says-[Reuters]-YAHOONEWS-February 1, 2017
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Air strikes hit Syrian Red Crescent offices in the northwestern city of Idlib after midnight on Wednesday, injuring several staff and causing extensive damage, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.It was not clear which air force the jets belonged to or whether they had taken off from inside Syria or crossed its borders, the British-based Observatory said.Russian and Syrian warplanes have been carrying out raids against Syrian insurgents in Idlib province, a rebel stronghold, but since the new year U.S. air strikes have also targeted militants in Idlib formerly affiliated to al Qaeda.Among those wounded in Wednesday's raid was the director of the local Red Crescent branch, the Observatory said.(Reporting by John Davison, editing by Larry King)
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