Friday, 24 June 2016

U.K. broadcasters: Britain votes to leave European Union

U.K. broadcasters: Britain votes to leave European Union
The Manchester Town Hall is the setting for the national count in the EU referendum, in Manchester, Britain, June 23. 2016.

LONDON — The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, according to a BBC forecast based on a partial count of results Friday.

The margin of victory was 52% to 48%.

It is the first departure from the alliance since the EU was formed 43 years ago. It could prompt other member nations to follow the U.K.'s lead and reverse a decades-long drive for European unity.

The outcome sent global markets into a tailspin. It will have far-reaching political implications for the future of the 28-nation bloc as well as the political future of Prime Minister David Cameron.

Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party said that "dawn was breaking on an independent U.K." He is not an member of the official "leave" campaign, but supports an exit from the EU.

The British pound fell 11% to a 31-year low as the "leave" camp appeared on course to win the historic referendum. Dow futures plummeted more than 600 points. Tokyo's Nikkei index fell 8%. London's FTSE index was due to open 7% lower amid a flight to safety.

Iain Murray, vice president for strategy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based public policy organization, said Britain’s "surprising vote" to leave the EU is "only the start of uncertainty and opportunity."

"Negotiations over the terms of exit will take at least two years, and no one knows what form they will take or what deal can be struck,” he said.

The British currency initially soared to a 2016 peak of $1.50 amid signs that "remain" was winning the day, but then moved lower with losses accelerating. It fell from $1.50 to below $1.35 as results suggested a strong possibility the U.K. would vote to quit the bloc.

U.K. broadcasters: Britain votes to leave European Union
A ballot box is opened for counting at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as counting gets underway in the referendum on the U.K. membership of the European Union on June 23, 2016.
The final poll from online research firm YouGov had “remain” on 52% and “leave” on 48%. While not an exit poll, the survey was conducted on the day of the referendum.

The four-month campaign has been acrimonious. Backers argued that severing ties with the EU is the only way to reduce a flood of migrants and protect the U.K.'s independence from burdensome EU regulation.

Supporters of remaining in the EU, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, said jobs, the economy, national security and the U.K.'s standing on the world stage would be compromised outside the alliance.

U.K. broadcasters: Britain votes to leave European Union
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha leave after voting in the EU referendum in London, Thursday June 23, 2016.

The Electoral Commission said a record 46.5 million people registered to vote. The question on the ballot paper was: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?" The side that gets more than 50% of the votes will win.

The tiny overseas British territory Gibraltar was the first counting area to report results. The 2.5 square mile area off the south coast of Spain backed "remain" by a vote of 19,322 to 823 — an overwhelming 95.8%. A count by the Electoral Commission is underway across 381 other counting areas. Gibraltar had been expected to strongly favor “remain.”

Read Also: USA TODAY interview: Clinton says she'll call Trump unfit to handle economy

In Rome, Italy's finance minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, was quoted as saying at a forum Thursday that no matter what happens, it will be impossible to assert "let's pick up as if nothing" happened.

It is the U.K.'s third nationwide referendum, and its second on EU membership. U.K. voters backed staying in the EU in 1975. Scotland failed to win independence in a 2014 vote that was held only north of the border.

U.K. broadcasters: Britain votes to leave European Union
Supporters of the Stronger In campaign react after hearing results in the EU referendum at the Royal Festival Hall in London, Britain, on June 24, 2016

Eligible voters included British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are residents in the U.K., that is, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Also voting were U.K. nationals living abroad who have been registered voters in the U.K. in the past 15 years. In addition, members of the House of Lords and commonwealth citizens in Gibraltar were also able to vote, unlike in a general election.

Voting was disrupted in the South of England Thursday as flash floods forced some polling stations to be relocated.

Peter Carlyon, 22, who was campaigning to stay in the EU in central London on Thursday, said the vote was "a once in a generation" chance. "We can’t change our minds next week.”

But Kevin Campbell, 36, said that an influx of Eastern Europeans coming to the U.K. under the EU's freedom of movement laws was damaging his small business. He works for a firm that installs fire-protection systems.

Cameron issued a referendum day plea on Twitter for Britons to vote to “remain” while his Conservative Party rival Boris Johnson urged the country to “leave.”

Read Also:EgyptAir wreckage spotted in Mediterranean, Egypt says

Later Thursday, Johnson unveiled a poster that said “last chance to vote" at his daughter Lara's graduation ceremony at St. Andrews University in Scotland, according to media reports.

While many observers feel Cameron will have to resign if Britons vote to leave the EU bloc, dozens of Conservative "leave" lawmakers have signed a letter saying the prime minister should stay in office whichever side wins the membership referendum.

The letter signed by 84 legislators says “whatever the British people, decide you have both a mandate and a duty to continue leading the nation implementing our policies.”

That leaves more than 60 Brexit-supporting Conservative Party lawmakers who did not sign.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

USA TODAY interview: Clinton says she'll call Trump unfit to handle economy

USA TODAY interview: Clinton says she'll call Trump unfit to handle economy
Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally in Pittsburgh on June 14, 2016.

Hillary Clinton told USA TODAY on Wednesday she plans to make the case for why Donald Trump is "temperamentally unfit" to manage the nation's economy and pledged to end a tax loophole for wealthy Americans by executive action if necessary in a preview of a second major policy address, scheduled for next week, that casts the real estate mogul as dangerous and unqualified.

In her first interview after meeting with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday night in Washington, Clinton declined to offer a definitive position on one of his key demands as his Democratic presidential bid winds down: that party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz be replaced. While Clinton praised Wasserman Schultz for her commitment to defeating Donald Trump, she noted that she had not selected the Florida congresswoman to head the Democratic National Committee, but had not “heard any conversations in the party” about making a change.

Earlier this month in San Diego, Clinton delivered a blistering speech that cast Trump as too dangerous to serve as the nation’s commander in chief due to his proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, lack of foreign policy knowledge and his temperament. She's continued those attacks in the days following Sunday's Orlando nightclub massacre, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

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In a speech in Columbus next Wednesday, Clinton said she will make "a similar case on the economy that I did on foreign policy: that Donald Trump is erratic and temperamentally unfit to be responsible for the world's largest economy."

Clinton pointed to one example of Trump's "incoherent" economic argument by noting that the billionaire has built his populist appeal around leveling the playing field for lower-income Americans, even though she said his tax plan gives a $3 trillion break to millionaires and billionaires over the next 10 years.

She pointed out that his proposal would lower rates for hedge-fund and private equity managers by creating a new, lower 15% bracket.  "They would actually see their carried interest rate cut by one-third, making the loophole worse rather than closing it," she said. Previewing her speech next week, she said, "He's either completely incoherent or he hasn't thought one bit about his plan."

Clinton said she’ll pledge that, if Congress does not act, as president she'll ask the Treasury Department to use its regulatory authority to end a tax advantage, commonly referred to as the carried-interest loophole, that allows hedge-fund managers to pay a lower rate than other taxpayers by counting their income as investment income. Clinton will unveil a middle-class tax cut plan at a later date, according to her campaign.

Clinton’s speech will seek to undercut Trump’s appeal to middle- and lower-income Americans who’ve been drawn to his populist pledges to bring back manufacturing and coal jobs by slapping fines on China and cutting better trade deals.

The goal is to demonstrate how his rhetoric does not match his policies, which would disproportionately favor wealthier Americans, according to the campaign. The tax plan could be a ripe target since Trump initially indicated a willingness to raise taxes on the wealthy, then subsequently backed off those comments.

Regarding the meeting with Sanders, the presumptive Democratic nominee did not completely dismiss several of his demands as he refuses to concede the race to Clinton, including changes to superdelegates and for new leadership at the Democratic National Committee. Clinton and Sanders met after she carried the final Democratic primary in Washington, D.C.

“I’ve seen how committed she is to making sure Donald Trump is not the president,” Clinton said of Wasserman Schultz. “I’ve not heard any conversations in the party about changes,” she added, noting the Florida congresswoman was recommended by President Obama. "Obviously, we're going to go forward after this election with a new and invigorated party," she said.

As her campaign vets potential vice presidential candidates, Clinton gave another nod to Sanders, indicating she is prioritizing those with a progressive profile. “We've got a great group of Democrats that are progressive and who agree with me about the direction of the country,” she said, also noting that she is “just beginning” the process.

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As for Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee has doubled down on his proposed temporary ban on Muslims following the Orlando shootings and even proposed broadening it. Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have been critical of the proposal, yet they have not withdrawn their endorsement of Trump as the party’s nominee.

"It's something that not just Democrats and the press are noticing but a lot of Republicans are noticing as well," Clinton said.

"Now he is accusing our president of somehow encouraging terrorists and it is really offensive, even pathetic," she said. "And I do wonder how Republican leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can stay silent while their presumptive party nominee suggests that the President of the United States supports terrorists."

Finally, Clinton said she still has not heard from the FBI regarding its investigation into her private server as secretary of State. "I just hope they wrap it up soon," she said.

EgyptAir wreckage spotted in Mediterranean, Egypt says

EgyptAir wreckage spotted in Mediterranean, Egypt says
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on the official Facebook page of the Egyptian military spokesperson on May 21, 2016 and taken from an undisclosed location reportedly shows search teams looking for debris in the sea after the EgyptAir Airbus A320 crashed in the Mediterranean.

Searchers spotted the wreckage of EgyptAir Flight 804, which plunged into the Mediterranean Sea with 66 people onboard nearly one month ago, Egyptian authorities announced Wednesday.

The discovery came only days before the 30-day lifespan expired on the batteries for the emergency signals from the Airbus A320’s recorders in the May 19 crash.

A vessel contracted by the Egyptian government to join the search “identified several main locations of the wreckage" and the first images of the wreckage were provided to the investigation committee, the Associated Press reported. Searchers plan to map the wreckage's distribution on the seabed.

The French ship LaPlace detected pings from one of the plane's recorders about two weeks ago. The Egyptian government contracted with Deep Ocean Search to send the ship John Lethbridge to the scene with a remote-controlled underwater vehicle capable of scouring the ocean floor nearly 2 miles deep. The Comanche 6000 vehicle uses video cameras and limbs to sample and recover objects.

A vessel contracted by the Egyptian government to join the search “identified several main locations of the wreckage" and the first images of the wreckage were provided to the investigation committee, the Associated Press reported. Searchers plan to map the wreckage's distribution on the seabed.

Read Also: Exclusive: Gunman's violent behavior dated to school days

The French ship LaPlace detected pings from one of the plane's recorders about two weeks ago. The Egyptian government contracted with Deep Ocean Search to send the ship John Lethbridge to the scene with a remote-controlled underwater vehicle capable of scouring the ocean floor nearly 2 miles deep. The Comanche 6000 vehicle uses video cameras and limbs to sample and recover objects.

Recovering the voice and data recorders from the plane is key to figuring out whether a mechanical flaw, crew mistake or terrorism downed one of the world’s most popular airliners.

The crew didn’t issue any distress calls before the crash. An automated system onboard the plane sent messages that smoke was detected in several locations on the jet during its final minutes.

The cockpit-voice recorder would relay what pilots were saying to each other during the crisis, and perhaps give hints as to what controls were being adjusted. The flight-data recorder collects more than 1,000 streams of information about how the aircraft is functioning, such as how the engines are running and positions of wings flaps.

A key part of the investigation is whether the plane broke up before entering the water or as it struck the surface. Besides the recorders, the wreckage itself could offer clues about what happened.

For example, if a crucial piece of equipment fell off the plane, that could explain a loss of control. A possible bomb would typically leave distinction markings and traces of explosive on the wreckage.

Read Also: Pulse owner, workers vow to reopen nightclub

Finding a cause for the crash is important because the A320 is a workhorse of the fleet, with 6,700 flying worldwide.

EgyptAir wreckage spotted in Mediterranean, Egypt says
Egyptian authorities announced that searchers have spotted the wreckage of EgyptAir Flight 804 in the Mediterranean. Officials are still working to determine what caused the plane, carrying 66 people, to crash.


Wreckage of missing EgyptAir flight found nearly a month after crash | 0:23
The plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea in late May. Newslook

Exclusive: Gunman's violent behavior dated to school days

Exclusive: Gunman's violent behavior dated to school days
School records for Omar Mateen.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Omar Mateen’s elementary and middle school records paint the Orlando nightclub shooter as a disruptive student who struggled with English.

His behavior — marked by constant outbursts and classroom insubordination — greatly contributed to his academic struggles, according to the documents.

“The main factor prohibiting Omar from success in school is not that the work is too hard but rather his difficulties in conforming to class/school rules,” according to a letter sent to Mateen’s father shortly before he withdrew from St. Lucie County’s Southport Middle School in 1999.

Mateen, who on Sunday killed 49 people and injured 53 at an Orlando nightclub, bounced around St. Lucie County campuses from kindergarten until 1999, when he transferred to the Martin County Schools District in eighth grade.

He was disciplined 31 times between 1992 and 1999 for numerous disruptions, for striking a student and for disrespectful behavior during his time in St. Lucie County schools, according to documents obtained exclusively by

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More than half of his discipline write-ups came during the 1996-1997 school year, when he was in fifth grade.

He already had attended two kindergartens — one in an Islamic school in Westbury, N.Y. — before his family moved to Florida in 1991. One kindergarten teacher said in a grade report that Mateen was “basically an intelligent student but does not always follow through with his responsibility,” according to his record.

Enrolling in St. Lucie Elementary in December 1991, Mateen was sent to finish kindergarten at Frances K. Sweet Elementary because he was limited in reading, writing and speaking English, according to documents.

Mateen’s first language was “Afghani,” which was primarily spoken at home, according to records.

He attended Manatee Elementary School in first and second grade, then transferred to Mariposa Elementary School, where he finished second grade and stayed through fifth grade, according to documents.

As early as third grade, Mateen was verbally abusive, rude and aggressive, according to the documents obtained by He talked frequently of violence and obscenities, documents revealed.

Once, in third grade, instead of singing “Mariposa, Mariposa” in the school song, Mateen sang “Marijuana, marijuana,” according to records.

In December 1995, while in fourth grade, Mateen was referred to a student study team — comprising a teacher, psychologist, guidance counselor and parent — for continuing to hit students, talking out in class and screaming at teachers and fellow students, according to records.

Later that year, Mateen’s behavior in a computer lab was outlined by his teacher one day in late August: He consistently defied his teacher, dancing and mimicking the teacher as she addressed the class, according to documents.

When the teacher flicked off the lights to get the students’ attention, she initially couldn’t find Mateen, finally locating him under his desk, documents state.

“Omar needs to apply himself,” his fifth-grade teacher said in a progress report. “He is capable if he could just stay focused more than 5 minutes.”

By fourth grade, Mateen’s grades in core subjects were almost all Cs and worsened to Ds and Fs in fifth grade. His Stanford Achievement Test scores, used to measure students from kindergarten to high school, were below average in fifth grade and particularly low in reading, where he scored in the bottom 6%, according to the records.

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By seventh grade, at Southport Middle School in 1998-1999, Mateen was in danger of failing reading, language arts, math and science, according to reports.

His performance was hampered by a lack of motivation rather than an English deficiency, documents revealed. Following a “Limited English Proficient” committee meeting in May 1999, Mateen was scheduled to be monitored by daily progress reports and his schedule was changed to alleviate peer pressure, reports showed.

“Omar does not suffer from an obvious language deficit ... rather it appears to be language interference in combination with a lack of motivation to perform academic work,” the report said.

He was withdrawn from Southport in August 1999, as he began eighth grade, and transferred to the Martin County School District.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Teen girl killed, 3 others injured in downtown Oakland shooting

Teen girl killed, 3 others injured in downtown Oakland shooting

A teenage girl died and three others were injured Tuesday night in downtown Oakland, police said.

The 16-year-old, who was listed in critical condition, later died at the hospital. The other three victims in the shooting are in stable condition, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Police originally said six people were shot, but later reported four were injured in the shooting.

The victims range in age from mid-teens to early 20s, the Associated Press reported. They were attending a vigil two blocks away for someone who drowned in Salinas, Calif. It’s unclear if the shooting is connected to the memorial gathering.

One witness told the Chronicle he was walking down 14th Street about a block away when he heard multiple gunshots fired in rapid succession at 5:41 p.m.

“And then basically there were people running every which way,” said Mason Stone, 39.

People ran off in different directions, ducking for cover.