Jun 22

Giving Trump a pardon wish list won’t solve systemic criminal justice problems, NFL-er Malcolm Jenkins says

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is exploring better alternatives to creating change within the country’s criminal justice system than providing President Donald Trump with a “VIP” list of names, he told ABC News.

On Thursday, The New York Times published an op-ed by Jenkins and three other former and current NFL players in response to Trump’s suggestion earlier this month, asking NFL players who have been demonstrating during the national anthem to instead give to him a list of prisoners whom they believe were treated unfairly by the justice system.

“I’m going to ask them to recommend to me people that were unfairly treated, friends of theirs or people that they know about and I’m going to take a look at those applications,” Trump said on June 8, adding that if he finds that they were “unfairly treated,” he will “pardon them or at least let them out.”

Jenkins told ABC News that submitting a list of names to the president is a good way to help the people he knows “directly,” but won’t do much for the “thousands of people” that were imprisoned for nonviolent offenses and don’t have “the luxury of havin’ a celebrity as a friend.”

In addition, the list doesn’t change the system that “wrongfully put them there or put them there for too long” and doesn’t address the growing population of elderly prisoners, the majority of whom aren’t being released despite posing no threat to society, Jenkins said.

Instead of providing a list to Trump, Jenkins expressed a need to “address the systemic issues” within the policing culture in order to change it.

Jenkins mentioned Kim Kardashian and the successful effort she made when asking Trump to grant clemency to Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old grandmother who was serving a life sentence on drug charges.

Johnson was reunited with her family earlier this month.

“I think what Kim Kardashian did was great, because you get a person out,” he said. “But like I said, it doesn’t change what — you have that person there who’s doin’ a life sentence for a first-time drug offense.”

Jenkins said he and former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin started the NFL Players Coalition, an organization with about 100 former and current players that focuses on eradicating social and racial injustices, specially surrounding police brutality, mass incarceration and criminal justice reform.

“The biggest thing is, we wanted to create an environment where guys can — as safe as possible — get involved in social activism and creating real change in their communities,” he said. “We also wanted to give them the tools to know how to get involved.”

The coalition has met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell “many times,” which has included taking him to different cities to meet with grassroots organizations and police departments to show him the work players have been doing in their communities, Jenkins said.

“It has everything to do with our communities, the systemic racial injustices that take part on a day-to-day-to-day basis that have been in place for centuries,” he said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Jun 22

Scoreboard roundup — 6/20/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Wednesday’s sports events:

Cincinnati 5, Detroit 3
Toronto 5, Atlanta 4
Oakland 12, San Diego 4
Baltimore 3, Washington 0

Cleveland 12, Chicago White Sox 0
N.Y. Yankees 7, Seattle 5
Houston 5, Tampa Bay 1
Minnesota 4, Boston 1
Texas 3, Kansas City 2

Philadelphia 4, St. Louis 3
Chicago Cubs 4, L.A. Dodgers 0
San Francisco 6, Miami 5
Colorado 10, N.Y. Mets 8

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Jun 22

Japanese worker docked for starting lunch 3 minutes early

iStock/Thinkstock(KOBE, Japan) — Officials in the western Japanese city of Kobe made a public apology on Thursday to a municipal employee for docking his pay after he took his lunch break three minutes early.

“It is very regrettable that this misconduct has happened. We’re very sorry,” a city official said at the press conference, according to local media.

Yet it apparently wasn’t a one-time infraction – the unnamed 64-year old employee allegedly slipped out early 26 times over seven months.

Traditionally, Japanese workers have logged particularly long hours at their jobs – leading to a national debate about work-life balance.

Prior to this incident, officials have been pushing for a new bill that would improve work-life balance among citizens.

One component of the bill would set a cap on the amount of overtime hours an employee can work a month, according to Japanese media.

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Jun 22

John Bolton heads to Moscow to plan potential Putin-Trump summit

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump may finally get his wish – a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin – as his National Security Adviser John Bolton heads to Moscow to discuss a potential meeting between the two leaders, a National Security Council spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

This would be the first formally-arranged meeting between Trump and Putin after they talked on the sidelines of two international summits in 2017, and it comes after the president’s repeated calls for stronger ties with Russia and warm words for Putin.

But those calls have unnerved U.S. allies abroad and angered critics at home, who point out Putin’s abysmal human rights record; aggression in the U.K., Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, and other countries; and interference in U.S. politics, including Trump’s own election in 2016.

Trump himself floated a possible meeting last Friday when speaking to reporters, saying that it “may” happen and that, “It’s much better if we get along with them than if we don’t.” Now, with Bolton traveling to Moscow, there are reports that the two sides are looking at a July meeting, possibly in a third-party country like Austria, which has a right-leaning populist leader that both Trump and Putin support.

The visit would come around Trump’s attendance at an annual major NATO summit, after he attended last year’s meeting and blasted the Western military alliance’s European members for not spending enough on defense. While supporters say the tough words are needed to galvanize Europe to care about defense, critics see it as undermining trust in the alliance, essential to its success.

It also comes as he continues to call for Russia to be readmitted to the G7 nations. Russia was expelled from the G8 in 2014 for its illegal seizure of Crimea and incursion into eastern Ukraine. But Trump blamed former President Barack Obama for the crisis in Crimea and said it was Obama’s personal animus that led to Russia’s suspension: “I think President Obama didn’t like him,” Trump told reporters last Friday.

Now, key allies like Germany, France, and the U.K. – which suffered a Russian chemical weapons attack on its soil earlier in March – are growing alarmed that Trump is disrupting America’s traditional alliances in favor of strongmen like Putin and Kim Jong Un, whom Trump has repeatedly praised as “very talented” and capable of “turn[ing] that country into a great, successful country.”

Trump vs. his administration on Russia

Even while Trump’s rhetoric has caused concern, he and his supporters argue he is tougher on Russia, taking into account what his administration has done.

That’s mostly true, with a series of steps that have pushed back on Russia, including some the Obama administration wouldn’t take.

In December, Trump’s administration decided to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons, and his State Department has consistently criticized Russia for leading, arming, and supporting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. While the Obama administration increased aid to Ukraine, and rallied European partners to slap Russia with international sanctions, it never crossed the line into providing lethal support.

The Trump administration has kept those sanctions in place, and senior officials have said they will remain so until Russia withdraws from eastern Ukraine, abides by the peace deals it pledged to support – known as the Minsk agreements – and returns Crimea to Ukraine.

After Russia retaliated for U.S. sanctions by forcing the U.S. to shrink its diplomatic missions in Russia, Trump responded by “thanking” Putin “because we’re trying to cut down on payroll,” again stoking outrage. But his administration then expelled a number of Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian facilities in New York and Washington and the Russian consulate in San Francisco – reportedly a major spy hub for the country.

In March, a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned, allegedly by Russian agents, in Salisbury, U.K., and the administration again expelled Russian diplomats and closed the consulate in Seattle, as other U.S. allies in Europe and elsewhere took similar measures.

But Trump was reportedly upset that the U.S. did the heavy lifting and expelled the most diplomats, and days after the expulsions, Trump called Putin to “congratulate” him on his reelection, despite aides urging him not to do so and the elections being largely seen as fraudulent.

On the world stage, Trump’s record is also a mixed bag. He has ordered airstrikes against Russian ally Syrian President Bashar al Assad for chemical weapons use and expanded domestic energy production and the sale of U.S. liquefied natural gas to counter Russia’s energy strong-arming of European neighbors. But he’s also slapped tariffs on U.S. allies in Europe and Canada and accused them of cheating America, driving the kind of wedge that Russia has long been seeking.

What’s at stake in a summit?

Putin and Trump’s critics expect the same outcome of a Trump-Putin summit then – that Trump would reverse some of the tougher actions his administration has taken and further damage America’s western alliances.

In particular, given Trump’s effusive praise of Kim Jong Un after their summit, there’s concern that Trump will seek a good personal relationship with Putin, at a price to U.S. national security.

“What I worry about in this particular meeting is the peculiar style of President Trump in meeting with autocratic leaders around the world… [that] he’ll seek a good relationship, a friendly relationship and we’ll see all kinds of praise for President Putin, like he did with the North Korean leader, without any results, and that to me does not serve American national interests,” former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul told France 24 television.

On Russian state television, there was speculation that he could recognize Crimea as part of Russia, something U.S. officials have vociferously denied.

But there are real issues in the U.S.-Russian relationship that need to be resolved, and some foreign policy hands favor meetings over continued confrontation, including McFaul. When Trump and Putin met in November in Vietnam on the sidelines of the ASEAN conference, they signed an agreement on a ceasefire zone created in southwest Syria, where U.S. and Russia continue to have tensions over the future of the country. The U.S. is also seeking Russian cooperation on continued sanctions implementation against North Korea and steps toward the country dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

Regardless of the meeting’s outcome, the president’s fiercest critics say that even by meeting with Putin at all, he’s undermining the NATO alliance.

“Trump’s plan to meet Putin immediately before or after the NATO summit is a slap in the face to the alliance, whose mission centers largely around deterring Russian aggression. And that’s probably just as Trump intended,” tweeted former National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price.

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Jun 22

New Zealand prime minister becomes second world leader in modern era to give birth

Phil Walter/Getty Images(AUCKLAND, New Zealand) — The prime minister of New Zealand has given birth to a girl.

Jacinda Ardern, 37, wrote in a personal Instagram post that her daughter arrived at 4:45 p.m. local time on Thursday, weighing in at 7.3 pounds.

It’s the first child for Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford.

“Thank you so much for your best wishes and your kindness,” Ardern wrote in her post. “We’re all doing really well, thanks to the wonderful team at Auckland City Hospital.”

Ardern became the second elected world leader in modern times to give birth in office, joining the late Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who gave birth to a daughter in 1990, according to official reports.

Ardern is planning to take a six-week leave before returning to work. Winston Peters, New Zealand’s deputy prime minister, has taken over in the meantime.

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Jun 22

75 percent of Americans say immigration is a good thing: Gallup poll

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Three-quarters of Americans say immigration is a good thing, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.

The number — 75 percent — is a “record-high” and includes majorities from all party groups, according to Gallup.

The findings are based on a poll conduced between June 1 and June 13.

Last year, 71 percent of those polled said they believe immigration is a good thing, while just 19 percent considered it a bad thing.

Since Gallup began taking the poll in 2001, the majority of Americans have viewed immigration as a positive thing for the U.S. in all but one year — in 2002, when they conducted the poll about nine months after the 9/11 terror attacks.

This year Gallup tested alternative wording on the question, given attempts by the Trump administration to cut back on legal immigration, it said. The poll asked half respondents how they felt about “legal immigration,” while the other half was given a question that did not specify a particular type of immigration.

Gallup found that Americans are more likely to support legal immigration, with 84 percent of the people polled describing “legal” immigration as a good thing.

The Trump administration has enacted a “zero-tolerance” policy approach to border protection, which has resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents upon crossing the border in recent months.

Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to end the practice, but Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen described the immigration crisis as a “national security issue” today.

“Obviously we are all focused in recent weeks on unaccompanied children and others who migrate across but unfortunately our loopholes encourage that behavior,” she told a crowd at the 2018 Capitol Hill National Security Forum.

The House of Representatives is planning to vote on two pieces of immigration legislation, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections for immigrants who came into the country with their parents at a young age, according to Gallup.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Jun 22

Koko the gorilla dies: ‘She taught me so much,’ trainer says

The Gorilla Foundation/Koko.org(NEW YORK) — Koko, the western lowland gorilla who learned sign language and became a pop-culture phenomenon, has died at the age of 46, the group that cared for her announced Thursday.

The Gorilla Foundation, headed by Dr. Francine “Penny” Patterson, the animal psychologist who taught Koko sign language, announced that the famed super-simian died in her sleep Tuesday morning at the organization’s preserve in Woodside, California.

“I’m totally aware of how blessed and magical my life has been with her,” an emotional Patterson, 71, told ABC News. “She was perfect. That’s my sense. She taught me so much.”

Born on the Fourth of July in 1971 at the San Francisco Zoo, Koko was loaned to Patterson at the age of 1 for a research project at Stanford University on interspecies communications. At birth, she was given the name Hanabi-ko, Japanese for “Fireworks Child,” but she soon became widely known by her nickname, Koko.

When the San Francisco Zoo wanted Koko back for breeding, Patterson raised more than $12,000 to officially adopt the primate.

“Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy. She was beloved and will be deeply missed,” the Gorilla Foundation said in a statement.

She stayed with Patterson for the rest of her life and became renowned as one of the most intellectual apes in history, beloved by millions of people around the world.

“And she loves ’em back, even though we’re pretty flawed as a species,” Patterson said.

Through the years, Koko was visited by numerous celebrities.

She became friends with Leonardo DiCaprio. She taught Mr. Rogers the sign for love and cradled the children’s TV show host in her lap. She once grabbed William Shatner by the testicles after he entered her cage and repeatedly told the animal he loved her. Koko also caused actor and comedian Robin Williams to crack up laughing by raising his shirt and tickling him.

“To look into the eyes of a 300-pound gorilla and have her tell you what she’s thinking is truly humbling,” actress Betty White said after visiting Koko in 2012.

In 2016, Koko even jammed with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea.

“This is the greatest thing that could happen,” Flea said after he handed Koko his bass and she plucked it. “This is a day that I will never forget in my life.”

The gorilla was featured in multiple documentaries, including “Koko: A Talking Gorilla” that was screened at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival.

Koko was also featured on the cover of National Geographic magazine twice.

She became so famous she learned how to autograph photos for fans.

The Gorilla Foundation said that through Patterson’s tutelage, Koko learned more than 1,000 words in sign language and came to understand more than 2,000 words spoken to her in English.

While she never had offspring of her own, in 1983 Koko “adopted” a kitten, a gray male Manx named “All Ball.” When the cat was hit by a car and killed in 1985, Koko grieved for months and once signed “sad bad trouble” when asked about the kitty.

She even helped Patterson pen a children’s book about “All Ball” titled, “Koko’s Kitten.”

In 2015, the staff at the Gorilla Foundation surprised Koko with a box containing a litter of kittens. Koko picked out two, naming them “Ms. Gray” and “Ms. Black” and used sign language to communicate to her trainer that the kittens were her babies.

“Koko’s capacity for language and empathy has opened the minds and hearts of millions,” the foundation said in its statement.

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Jun 22

‘I acted to protect my family and others’: Pastor who shot Walmart gunman dead

KOMO-TV(OAKVILLE, Wash.) — The pistol-packing pastor who gunned down a man allegedly on a carjacking rampage that left three people shot in Tumwater, Washington, on Father’s Day, says he acted to “protect my family and others.”

David George, a pastor at an Assembly of God Church in Oakville, Washington, and a paramedic for the town’s fire department, broke his silence after being cleared of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of Tim Day, 44, who police said was on a one-man crime spree.

“I carry a firearm for the same reason I carry a first aid bag, hoping never to have to use them but always being prepared nonetheless,” George, 47, said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

At times George was overcome with emotion as he spoke of the “tragic and shocking” event that occurred on Sunday outside a Walmart store in Tumwater.

“I acted on Sunday to protect my family and others from the gunman and his display of obvious deadly intent,” George said. “This is in accordance with both my training as an emergency responder and calling as a pastor, husband, father, and grandfather.”

He said he was shopping at the Walmart with his wife, daughter, and granddaughter around 5 p.m. on Sunday when he heard gunshots inside the store.

Tumwater Police Department spokeswoman Laura Wohl told ABC News that Day, who had already shot and wounded two people in a series of carjackings, entered the store and proceeded to the sporting goods section where he fired at a locked ammunition display case, removed some ammunition and exited the store.

George said that when he heard the gunshots he quickly rounded up his daughter and grandchild and got them out of the store.

“I did not see my wife and so I continued to look for her as people began to realize the situation and run out of the building,” George said. “At no time did I draw my firearm in the building.”

He said that while searching for his wife, the gunman walked past him “waving and pointing his gun” as he continued to walk out the exit.

Wohl said that once in the parking lot, Day allegedly accosted Rick Fievez and his wife, who works at the Walmart store, and ordered them at gunpoint to give him their car. He shot Rick Fievez twice when he did not comply, Wohl said.

George said he has a permit to carry a concealed weapon and has significant training in the use of firearms.

“As a volunteer firefighter, I have also received active shooter training. In addition, I am also a credentialed range safety officer. I train regularly to be proficient with the firearm I carry and to do so in a safe and responsible manner,” George said.

George said he and another armed citizen followed the gunman out of the store. He said the gunman began moving in the “direction that I thought my family to be” after Day had shot Fievez.

“At this point, I left cover and moved to intercept the gunman,” George said. “When the gunman began threatening another person for the use of their car, I moved in order to have a safe shot at the gunman. He entered the vehicle, which I considered an even bigger threat and fired to stop the shooter.

“After being hit, the gunman tried to exit the vehicle and fell to the ground. I moved to clear the gunman, yelling to him to drop the gun and show me his hands,” George said. “I determined the gunman was incapacitated and unable to respond at this time.”

He then heard Rick Fievez’s wife yelling for help. He said he rushed to his car, retrieved his first aid bag and went to treat Rick Fievez, who police said was shot twice by Day.

“I responded as my duty and training instructed,” said George, an emergency medical technician for the Oakville Fire Department.

Rick Fievez’s son, Kyle Fievez, said his father was the most seriously injured of the three victims Day allegedly shot. Rick Fievez, 47, remains in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Kyle Fievez said he has spoken with George by phone and thanked him for saving his father’s life.

“I would definitely say, ‘he’s a hero,'” Kyle Fievez told ABC News.

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Jun 22

Trump administration may house up to 20K migrant children at US military bases

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Trump administration is considering housing up to 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children on U.S. military bases, according to a U.S. official.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made the request to the Department of Defense (DOD), and Congress has been notified, the official said.

The story was first reported by The Washington Post.

Last month, ABC News reported that HHS officials were touring four U.S. military bases to see if they could be used to house migrants in the event that other facilities reached capacity. Those bases were Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas, Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, and Little Rock Air Force Base in Little Rock, Ark.

While officials have completed their tours of those installations, no final determination has been made as to where the unaccompanied migrant children would be located.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters that DOD would support the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) if requested.

“We have housed refugees, we have housed people thrown out of their homes by earthquakes and hurricanes. We do whatever is in the best interest of the country,” Mattis said.

HHS has used facilities on U.S. military bases to house migrants in the past.

In 2014, the department used bases in Texas, Oklahoma, and California to house 7,000 unaccompanied migrant children after HHS facilities reached capacity.

Mattis has already signed a memo allowing up to 4,000 National Guard troops to assist DHS with the security of the U.S./Mexico border. About 2,000 troops, mostly from the National Guards of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, are serving there now — but as support services to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, not in a law enforcement capacity.

Several governors have pulled their small contingencies of Guard troops from participating in the southern border security mission in protest over the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance policy” on immigration that forcibly separated migrant children from their families.

On Wednesday, President Trump signed an Executive Order, ending the forced separation of children, so that families who cross the border illegally will now be detained together.

Mattis told reporters on Wednesday that the withdrawal of Guard troops was not having an immediate impact on the border security mission.

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Jun 22

Family of unarmed teen shot dead doesn’t ‘want him to have died in vain’

Antwon Rose/Facebook(PITTSBURGH) — The family of an unarmed teenager shot and killed by police while he was fleeing a traffic stop doesn’t “want him to have died in vain,” a family attorney said.

Antwon Rose, 17, who was African-American, was shot dead by an East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, police officer Tuesday after the teen and two others were pulled over in a car believed to have been connected to an earlier shooting that night.

The deadly shooting was caught on cellphone video, which is being reviewed by authorities.

Rose’s family is “devastated” and “stunned,” family attorney Fred Rabner told ABC News Thursday morning.

Rabner described Rose as a “beautiful” and “kind” teenager who worked with young children at a gymnastics gym as well as at a local Domino’s Pizza.

“This is not someone who was in trouble ever,” Rabner said. “This is not a family that was anything but doting and loving about their son.”

“It doesn’t seem to me that there is any justification ever for shooting an individual who is fleeing in the back,” Rabner said, adding that the officer was standing “poised” and appeared to shoot from 15 to 30 feet away.

Demonstrators took over local streets during a downpour Wednesday, holding “Black Lives Matter” signs, blocking traffic and confronting officers.

At the peaceful protest was Rose’s cousin Theresa Lynn Rose Monroe, who said the family is distraught and demanding answers.

“It’s senseless,” she told ABC News. “He wasn’t a threat. And I just don’t understand why — why does it got to keep happening?”

The deadly incident began with a separate shooting about 15 minutes earlier, when someone in a passing car shot and wounded a 22-year-old man. The victim also returned fire at the passing car, police said.

“Witnesses described the vehicle involved in the shooting, and the description was broadcast” to officers, police said.

An East Pittsburgh police officer spotted a car matching the description — a silver Chevy Cruze — and pulled the car over at 8:40 p.m., police said. The driver was ordered out of the car and directed to the ground, but Rose and another individual in that car fled on foot, police said.

The officer shot three times at Rose as he fled — and struck him three times, police said.

The other passenger, who has not been identified, remains at large, police said.

The officer had been sworn in with the department hours before the shooting, ABC station WTAE-TV reported. He has been placed on administrative leave, police said.

Police said Rose did not have a weapon on him, and none of the three suspects fired at officers, adding that “two firearms were later recovered from the suspect vehicle.”

The driver was detained and later released, police said.

“We are committed to finding the truth in this investigation,” Coleman McDonough, superintendent of Allegheny County Police Department, told ABC News on Wednesday.

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