Paul Lewis

San Bernardino Shooting: What We Know About the Suspects

The motives of anyone who plans a mass shooting are necessarily murky and complex. But the actions of Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the young couple who seemingly left their infant daughter with a relative the morning before they shot dead 14 people at a Christmas work party, seem more incomprehensible still.

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The Donald Trump Show: 24 Hours With the Republican Frontrunner

Donald Trump sits behind his desk on the 26th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan. It is 2pm, and he has just got off the phone with America’s most famous football player, Tom Brady.

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FBI Violated Its Own Rules While Spying on Keystone XL Opponents

This story was produced in partnership with The Guardian.

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Baltimore Brings In National Guard After Clashes Between Protestors and Police

Troops from the US national guard began rolling into Baltimore in armored vehicles after violent clashes, looting and fires led city authorities to declare a week-long curfew banning people from the streets at night.

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Mitt Romney 'Considering' 2016 Presidential Run Despite Two Previous Losses

The failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reportedly told donors on Friday that he is considering a third campaign for the White House.

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Who Is Jeffrey Epstein, the Tycoon-Turned-Sex Offender?

The rise and fall of Jeffrey Epstein, Wall Street investment banker turned disgraced sex offender, could be a plot line in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.

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Prince Andrew Named in Underage 'Sex Slave' Case

A woman who claims that an American investment banker loaned her to rich and powerful friends as an underage “sex slave” has alleged in a US court document that she was repeatedly forced to have sexual relations with Prince Andrew.

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'We Can't Breathe': Protesters Chant Eric Garner's Last Words

The last words of Eric Garner became the rallying cry for protests that swirled in New York after a grand jury refused to indict a police officer who placed the unarmed black man in a chokehold, reigniting racial tensions that have been simmering for months in the US.

“I can’t breathe,” protesters chanted, in mostly peaceful demonstrations that brought longstanding strains over race to the heart of America’s most populous city. Eighty-three arrests were made during the protests overnight, an NYPD spokesman confirmed to the Guardian. 

Earlier in the day, prosecutors announced the jury’s decision not to charge Daniel Pantaleo, one of the New York police department officers who had confronted Garner for selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island in July.

The protesters’ anger echoed the tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, the scene of violence and rioting after another grand jury declined to bring charges against a white police office in the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager suspected of robbing a convenience store. His death sparked hundreds of protests across the country and snapped into focus seething race issues.

Garner, who was black, died in July after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo. Police had stopped the heavy-set father of six on suspicion of selling untaxed “loose” cigarettes. Garner had been arrested previously for selling untaxed cigarettes, marijuana possession and false impersonation.

A video shot by a bystander shows Garner resisting arrest as a plainclothes officer attempts to handcuff him. Backing away from the officer, Garner tells him: “This stops today,” which has become a rallying cry for protesters in New York. After a struggle during which Garner is wrestled to the ground by several officers, he gasps “I can’t breathe” until his 350lb body goes limp.

President Barack Obama, criticized for his response to unrest in Ferguson, suggested the Garner case had reaffirmed his determination to ensure all Americans are treated equally in the criminal justice system.

“When anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that’s a problem,” the president said in Washington. “And it is my job as president to help solve it.”

After the decision not to bring criminal charges in New York, the US attorney general, Eric Holder, announced a federal investigation. “All lives must be valued,” Holder said. “All lives.”

Holder’s announcement was not enough to placate the anger in the city. About 200 protesters partially closed the West Side Highway, before police made several arrests, while other groups descended on various locations in midtown Manhattan, including Grand Central station, the Lincoln tunnel and Brooklyn bridge. Protesters also targeted the annual lighting of the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, but were kept away from the ceremony.

As crowds rallied in Times Square, one young black man likened the treatment of minorities in the US in the 21st century to the early days of slavery. “It goes back to the foundations of the country. We’ve been dehumanised since we’ve been here, and we are being dehumanised now,” he said.

“Every 28 hours a young black man is killed by police,” one young woman told the Guardian, referring to nationwide statistics. “Only 2% of police are indicted. Those numbers are crazy. It’s telling young black men that their lives don’t matter and their deaths can be passed over.”

Groups of protesters continued marching well into the night.

The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, had earlier urged calm. De Blasio, who is white, said that he and his wife, Chirlane McCray, who is black, had spent years teaching their mixed-race son, Dante de Blasio, 17, how to “take special care” around police officers.

We “have had to [talk to] Dante for years about the dangers he may face,” de Blasio said in an emotional news conference. “Because of a history that still hangs over us, we’ve had to train him, as families have … in how to take special care in any interaction with the police officers who are there to protect him.”

The New York police department has long denied racial profiling in its law enforcement practices, despite a finding by federal prosecutors in 2000 that the practice was routine for street crimes units.

The mayor called on protesters to remain nonviolent, saying he had just met Ben Garner, Eric Garner’s father. “Eric would not have wanted violence,” the mayor quoted the father as saying.

De Blasio acknowledged the widespread discontent the grand jury decision was likely to cause. “It’s a very emotional day for our city,” he said. “It’s a very painful day for so many people of this city.” The mayor said the country was at a crossroads, calling discrimination and inequality before the law “all our problem”.

“Anyone who believes in the values of this country should feel a call to action right now,” De Blasio said. “It is a moment that change must happen.”

Minutes later, Garner’s family appeared alongside civil rights campaigner the Rev Al Sharpton in Harlem to address the media.

Garner’s widow, Esaw, vowed to continue fighting for justice. “As long as I have breath in my body I will fight the fight,” she said.

In Washington, Holder said that Garner’s death as well as that of unarmed teenager Brown, who was shot dead by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson in August, “have tested the sense of trust between law enforcement and the communities they are charged to serve”.

Holder said he respected the rights of protesters to voice their disappointment but called on them to remain peaceful.

Tensions had been simmering all week as New Yorkers braced for the verdict.

Activists called for a day of action following the verdict to protest the decision not to pursue charges against Pantaleo. Protesters have also been demanding an end to a policing philosophy championed by NYPD commissioner William Bratton. The policing model, known as broken windows, emphasises attention to petty crime – such as selling untaxed cigarettes – as a means of stymying large-scale crime.

The decision may compound already frayed relations between the New York police department and minority communities, which Bratton and de Blasio have pledged to repair.

The NYPD banned chokeholds over two decades ago, because they can be deadly if administered inappropriately or carelessly. Still, between January 2009 and June 2014, the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that investigates police misconduct, received 1,128 civilian complaints involving chokehold allegations. Of these, only a small fraction of the cases are ever substantiated– just ten over the five and a half year window.

In the days after Garner’s death, Bratton said all 35,000 officers would be retrained on the department’s use of force policy.

Sharpton announced a rally in Washington on 13 December. “It’s time for a national march to deal with a national crisis,” he said. “We are not going away.”

Additional reporting by Mae Ryan and Ana Terra Athayde in New York.

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Dick Cheney Gives GOP "Pep Talk" Urging Military Response Against ISIS

Former vice-president Dick Cheney met behind closed doors with Republican members of Congress on Tuesday to urge them to adopt a more muscular military posture in the Middle East.

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Obama Sends Troops Back to Iraq as ISIS Insurgency Worsens

The Obama adminstration has ordered the urgent deployment of several hundred armed troops in and around Iraq, after the rampant insurgency in the country forced the first talks between the US and Iran over a common security interest in more than a decade.

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Execution Drugs Such as Cocktail Used on Clayton Lockett Banned on Animals

An injection of chemicals used to execute death row inmates can cause such excruciating pain that veterinarians are banned from using them to put down animals, according to one of the most thorough reviews ever undertaken of the administration of the death penalty.

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U.N. Condemns Oklahoma's Botched Execution of Clayton Lockett

The United Nations human rights office on Friday condemned the bungled and chaotic execution of an Oklahoma death-row inmate, which left him thrashing on the gurney during a chaotic process that lasted nearly two hours.

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Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman Found Dead in His New York Apartment

The Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead on Sunday afternoon in his New York apartment, after a suspected drug overdose. He was 46.

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US Economy Losing Up to One Billion a Week After Jobless Benefits Cut

The US economy is losing up to a billion dollars a week because of the “fiscally irresponsible” decision to end long-term unemployment benefits, a Harvard economist said on Friday.

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Senate Democrats Plan Fast-Track Fix to Reinstate Lost Unemployment Benefits

Democratic leaders in the Senate are planning to fast-track legislation to extend unemployment insurance, a move that would provide a lifeline tomore than a million jobless Americans who lost their benefits five days ago.

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Obama Throws Support Behind Minimum Wage Movement in Economy Speech

Barack Obama warned that a "relentless, decades-long trend" of growing inequality and social immobility posed a fundamental threat to the American dream on Wednesday, throwing his support behind a grassroots movement to address chronically low wages across the US.

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US Warned of Credit Downgrade as Republicans Inch Closer to the Brink

A leading ratings agency put the the US on notice of a downgrade on Tuesday amid political turmoil in Washington over how to resolve the budget crisis less than a day before the country's borrowing requirement expires.

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Debt Limit Talks in Limbo After Senate Deal Collapses

A fragile deal to end the US budget crisis collapsed on Tuesday when Democrats accused conservative Republicans of sabotaging the bipartisan proposals less than two days before the country's borrowing authority expires.

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Senators Seek to End U.S. Government Shutdown and Avoid Default

Two senior senators have taken on the fraught process of finding a congressional deal to reopen the US government and raise the country's borrowing limit, just four days before the Treasury is scheduled to run out of money.

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Congress Closer to Shutdown After Senate Democrats Stand in the Way of GOP Attempts to Delay Obamacare

The US Senate rejected an attempt by the House of Representatives to make the continued funding of the federal government contingent upon a one-year delay to Barack Obama's healthcare reforms on Monday, forcing Republicans to decide whether they would trigger a government shutdown by pressing on with their high-stakes attempts to hobble the law.

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US Government on Verge of Shutdown as House Votes to Delay Obamacare

The US government is on the precipice of a historic shutdown that would result in hundreds of thousands of federal workers being placed on unpaid leave, after House Republicans refused to pass a budget unless it involved a delay to Barack Obama's signature healthcare reforms.

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Plans for 50th Anniversary of MLK's March on Washington Revamped After Zimmerman Acquittal

Plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech are being redrawn in the wake of an angry reaction over the decision to acquit George Zimmerman over the shooting of Trayvon Martin, and a recent decision by the supreme court to strike down key sections of a law that protects black voters.

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