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May, 2019

Anti-Muslim stance danger to national security: Pentagon

The Pentagon is warning against fuelling Islamic State’s narrative of a US war with Islam, in a swipe at rhetoric by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that has triggered outrage around the world.

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Mr Trump on Tuesday defended his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, comparing his plan to the World War Two detainment of Japanese-Americans and others in dismissing growing outrage from around the world.

Asked about Trump’s remarks, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Muslims serve in the US armed forces and that America’s war strategy to combat Islamic State hinged on support from Muslim countries.

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“Anything that bolsters ISIL’s narrative and pits the United States against the Muslim faith is certainly not only contrary to our values but contrary to our national security,” Cook told a news briefing, using an acronym for Islamic State.

Cook did not mention Trump by name and said he did not want to wade into domestic political matters. The Pentagon is helping local forces battle Islamic State and other extremists in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Trump’s proposal could thwart US efforts to connect with the Muslim community, and Secretary of State John Kerry said his ideas were not constructive.

The Pentagon counts thousands of service members who self-identify as Muslims.

US leaders from both political parties, the prime ministers of France and the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and Muslim residents of Asian countries all denounced the comments by Trump, the Republican front-runner for the November 2016 presidential election.

But the real-estate mogul said his ideas were no worse than those of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who oversaw the detention of more than 110,000 people in US government camps after Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

“What I’m doing is no different than FDR,” Trump said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program.

“We have no choice but to do this,” he said. “We have people that want to blow up our buildings, our cities. We have to figure out what’s going on.”

Trump called for blocking Muslims, including would-be immigrants, students, tourists and other visitors, from entering the country following last week’s California shooting spree by two Muslims who authorities said were radicalized.

It was the most dramatic response by a presidential candidate following the San Bernardino, California, rampage, even as other Republicans have called for a suspension of President Barack Obama’s plan to allow in some refugees from Syria.

“Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton’s Christmas gift wrapped up under a tree”

Backlash quickly came from all corners. In the social media reaction, hashtags such as #racism, #fascism and #bigot trended heavily after Trump’s proposal on Monday.

The Philadelphia Daily News put a photo of Trump with his right arm extended on its cover with the headline “The New Furor,” a play on Adolf Hitler’s title – fuhrer – in Nazi Germany.

Today’s Daily News, 12/08/15 #DNFrontpage pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/MTxKv11oBd

— Philly Daily News (@PhillyDailyNews) December 8, 2015

Critics said Trump’s plan would likely be unconstitutional for singling out people based on their religion. But Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson told MSNBC the US Constitution does not apply to non-citizens.

Republicans warned that if Trump is the party’s nominee, his stance could hurt in a general election against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

“Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton’s Christmas gift wrapped up under a tree,” Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said on Twitter.

US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, told reporters the plan was “not conservatism.” But he said he would support the party’s presidential nominee.

Democrats, meanwhile, blamed Republicans for Trump’s extreme language and warned it could help him with primary voters.

“Donald Trump is standing on the platform of hate, and, I’m sorry to say, hate that the Republican Party has built for him,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat.

Huma Abedin, a top aide to Clinton, sent a fundraising email Monday night declaring her own Muslim faith. “Unfortunately, Trump is leaning into the kind of fear of progress that very well could help him win the nomination,” Abedin wrote.

Polls have shown a stark divide between Republicans and Democrats in how they view Muslims.

Outrage also came from abroad. In France, where shootings and suicide bombings on Nov. 13 in Paris killed 130 people, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Twitter, “Mr Trump, like others, is feeding hatred and misinformation.”

A spokeswoman for British Prime Minister David Cameron called Trump’s comments “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.” A group started a petition to revoke Trump’s honorary degree from Robert Gordon University in Scotland.

A spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rejected Trump’s comments, and Muslims in Pakistan and Indonesia also denounced him.

Trump warned repeatedly that an attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001, could happen again if officials do not act first. He said that he did not know how long a ban would remain in place and that Muslim Americans would be allowed into the country after overseas trips.

Trump told MSNBC that people would be asked about their religion at US borders and that the ban would extend to Muslim leaders of other nations. He said he would not support internment camps.

Some observers poked fun at Trump. British author J.K. Rowling wrote on Twitter that Voldemort, the archvillain of her popular Harry Potter series, “was nowhere near as bad” as Trump.

How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad. 杭州桑拿,杭州夜生活,/hFO0XmOpPH

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 8, 2015

The Democratic mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, Rick Kriseman, said in a tongue-in-cheek tweet that he was barring Trump from visiting the city.

“I am hereby barring Donald Trump from entering St. Petersburg until we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps,” Kriseman wrote.

Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration: 杭州桑拿,杭州夜生活,/HCWU16z6SR pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/d1dhaIs0S7

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015

Better telco coverage after WA fires: PM

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged to improve telecommunications services in Western Australia’s south after devastating bushfires in the Esperance region killed four people.

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Speaking from the coastal town on Wednesday, Mr Turnbull said “everyone in Australia” would eventually be able to get mobile coverage through the new NBN satellite service, which will become available from April but will take some time to fully roll out.

While there would be increased phone connectivity in the region through the first round of the previously announced mobile blackspots program, with the electorate set to receive almost $54 million, the second round should consider more battery support in phone towers in bushfire-prone areas, Mr Turnbull said.

He said he would discuss installing longer life batteries in towers with Telstra.

“We just have to keep on improving the technology,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.

“We’re obviously committed to getting those services available as soon as possible whether it’s on the terrestrial side with the mobile phone towers or on the satellite side, so communications will improve.

“But at the end of the day, Australia in summer can be a very dangerous place. Bushfires are part of our environment.

“Battery life is a very big issue but of course if the tower itself gets knocked out, then no amount of better batteries will help you.”

Local farmer Mick Fels said news from authorities during the bushfire was stale as it relied on information from people on the ground who were hamstrung by technology failings.

“Everybody was trying to use their phones as much as they could and using social media, and all these things use bandwidth and these towers don’t have much capacity,” Mr Fels told ABC radio.

“So even in our area where we didn’t have the black out because we were east of town and had phone towers still up, they weren’t functioning. Nobody could communicate with anybody.

“Two-way radios were our salvation.”

VW says carbon emission claims unfounded

Allegations that Volkswagen lied about the carbon dioxide emissions of up to 800,000 cars appear to evaporate into thin air as the embattled German car maker says they have been proven to be largely unfounded.

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“Just a month after questions relating to the CO2 figures measured on some of the group’s models arose, Volkswagen has largely concluded the clarification of the matter,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Following extensive internal investigations and measurement checks, it is now clear that almost all of these model variants do correspond to the CO2 figures originally determined,” the statement said.

“This means that these vehicles can be marketed and sold without any limitations. The suspicion that the fuel consumption figures of current production vehicles had been unlawfully changed was not confirmed,” VW said.

VW is engulfed in a massive pollution-scandal that had initially centred on so-called defeat devices, sophisticated software fitted into diesel engines to skew the results of tests for nitrogen oxide emissions.

The carmaker has admitted to fitting 11 million diesel engines worldwide with the rogue software, triggering both regulatory and criminal investigations in a range of countries, including Germany.

But on November 3, the auto giant revealed an internal probe had uncovered “inconsistencies” on carbon emissions as well, affecting not only diesel engines but petrol engines, too.

It said that the 1.4, 1.6 and 2.0 litre motors of VW, Skoda, Audi and Seat vehicles were affected and these cars had been found to be releasing more CO2 than previous tests had shown.

VW said it had presented its latest findings to the government and the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA).

Initially, the group had said that around 800,000 vehicles were under suspicion.

But the deviations found in the figures for only nine model variants “amounted to a few grams of CO2 on average.”

And here, only around 36,000 vehicles were actually concerned.

The affair would therefore have no consequences for customers, VW continued.

“Customers’ real-world consumption figures do not change and neither are any technical vehicle modifications necessary. Against this background, the negative impact on earnings of 2.0 billion euros ($A3.05 billion) that was originally expected has not been confirmed. Whether we will have a minor economic impact, depends on the results of the remeasurement exercise,” VW said.

Bikie ‘begged for life’ before Picton shooting

A bikie fatally shot outside a service station southwest of Sydney begged his killer “don’t do it”, witnesses have told.

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Senior Rebels motorcycle gang member Darren Wallace, 32, was shot in Picton’s Argyle Street following a dispute with a man who is believed to be a former member of the same club.

“I can say that both deceased men were members of outlaw motorcycle gangs and known to each other”.

Internal conflicts are reportedly behind the killing which happened just after midday on Wednesday outside the Coles Express service station. Mr Wallace, who was believed to be the sergeant-at-arms of the local chapter of the Rebels, was also a local business owner.

His shop Such as Leather was hit by a spray of bullets in a drive-by shooting in November, though police are uncertain whether the two shootings are linked.

Investigation underway after a shooting at Picton today; Camden LAC & Homicide inquiry with bodies of 2 men found 杭州桑拿,杭州夜生活,/swpxxsZSdv

— NSW Police (@nswpolice) December 9, 2015#Picton Update: Police believe this is a targeted shooting. It is NOT terrorism related.

— NSW Police (@nswpolice) December 9, 2015

The small town went into lockdown following the killing after the shooter fled the scene. His body was discovered in the nearby Picton Creek a short time later.

Police say his cause of death is yet to be confirmed, but say officers did not fire any shots during the search.

Detective Superintendent Wayne Benson told reporters at the scene that both men were known to the police.

“I can say that both deceased men were members of outlaw motorcycle gangs and known to each other,” he said.

Det Supt Benson said police would continue to monitor incidents across NSW in case of any revenge attacks.

Heavily-armed police who were hunting the shooter have now confirmed the town is safe, he said.

A number of local businesses shut down on police advice to ensure the safety of their staff.

Police did not answer questions about the type of weapon used in the shooting, or whether it was recovered.

#shooting #crimescene at #Picton #pictonnsw #roadClosure my hotel motel holiday inn is on the other #sigh pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/6VQHmbCuOz

— HiJak’d (@HiJAKd) December 9, 2015

 Local Ron Davies heard the shots ring out from across the road and said the shooter turned around and walked calmly back down the street.

Shocked paramedics who were parked nearby rushed to the scene in seconds but there was nothing they could do, he told AAP.

“They were arguing. The guy who was shot said to the other guy ‘Don’t do it’ and he just went bang and shot him,” he said.

There are reports the two men had come from a local tattoo parlour.

“Everyone’s surmising. The tattoo parlour was shot up about five weeks ago or so,” Mr Davies said.

UPDATE: Police confirm person shot dead at Coles Express service station at Picton. MORE TO COME. pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/St6WkxXxpQ

— PRIME7News Sth Coast (@PRIME7SthCoast) December 9, 2015

 The Argyle Street service station, which is opposite the Picton police station and courthouse, has been blocked off. 

 Video from a Nine Network helicopter above the Picton service station showed a body covered in a white sheet lying near the petrol pumps.

A shopkeeper close to the scene described to News Corp Australia’s local paper Macarthur Chronicle the anguish of emergency service staff responding to the traumatic events.

“A female ambulance officer was bent over crying, chances are that she may have known him. It’s such a small community here, most people know each other.”

WA’s Behrendorff faces moment of truth

Star Perth Scorchers paceman Jason Behrendorff will be put through his paces on Friday in a last-ditch bid to get him ready for the upcoming Big Bash League campaign.

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Behrendorff has been grounded since suffering a recurrence of a back injury following the Sheffield Shield loss to Adelaide last month.

The 25-year-old missed the second half of last season with stress fractures in his back, and it remains to be seen whether his body can handle the rigours of Shield cricket this summer.

But Warriors coach Justin Langer is hopeful Behrendorff will be fit to play in the upcoming BBL, with the Scorchers to begin their title defence against the Adelaide Strikers at the WACA on December 21.

“He’s going to have a bowl on Friday, which is really positive,” Langer said.

“He bowled through a similar thing last year, and all through the BBL, and was one of the highlights of the Scorchers team.

“We’re going to wait and see.

“For him to bowl long spells – 20-over spells – probably puts his back under (too much) pressure.

“But only bowling four-over spells isn’t so much long-term pressure.”

Behrendorff starred with 15 wickets at an average of 16.73 during last summer’s title-winning campaign for the Scorchers.

His potential availability looms as a key to the Scorchers’ hopes of winning a third straight title.

Another potential trump card could be fellow left-arm paceman Joel Paris, who will enter the tournament full of confidence following his haul of 6-23 in this week’s Sheffield Shield win over Tasmania.

Paris missed the past two BBL campaigns because of a serious quad injury, but the 22-year-old says he’s fit and ready to fire for the Scorchers this time around.

The Scorchers attempted to sign Mitchell Johnson for the BBL campaign, but the retired Test batsman decided to skip the tournament.

English batsman Michael Carberry has been lured back to the Scorchers for a second straight season, while big-hitting England all-rounder David Willey is the other import.

The Scorchers will tune up for the tournament when they take on a Legends XI side in Perth on Friday.

Langer, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Brian Lara, Andrew Flintoff, and Glenn McGrath are among the big names who will play for the Legends XI.

“It’s an all-star cast. I’ll probably bat 11 I reckon,” Langer joked.

“My daughter asked me, ‘Who do you hope wins dad?’ Let’s hope it’s a tie.”