Top 5 News Headlines Monday 4th January 2016


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Islamophobic Attacks Reported in Las Vegas, New York and Fresno, CA

A spate of Islamophobic incidents continues nationwide. In Las Vegas, police are investigating a possible hate crime in which a man wrapped bacon around the handles of a mosque before Sunday morning prayer. In New York, an Israeli man has been charged with a hate crime after he allegedly accosted four Pakistani Americans in Brooklyn brandishing a pistol and screaming, “I want to see the blood of Muslims in the street.” Meanwhile, in Fresno, California, an elderly Sikh man was hit by a truck and then beaten in the street by two men on Saturday. The attack left 68-year-old Amrik Singh Bal with a broken collarbone. Police say he may have been mistaken for a Muslim, as has happened in other violence against Sikhs nationwide. A recent study finds hate crimes against Muslim Americans and U.S. mosques have tripled since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has reported more incidents targeting mosques this year than in any other year on record.

Democracy Now


Saudi execution: call for west to condemn killing of Shia cleric

Shia Islamic leaders on Sunday have stepped up their condemnation of the Saudi execution of the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, urging a robust response from Riyadh’s western backers, who are yet to fully address the issue.

David Gauke, financial secretary to the Treasury, became the most senior UK figure to react to the execution, which has led to clashes in Tehran, and prompted widespread denunciation elsewhere. He said Nimr’s death was a “worrying development”. The US Department of State had said earlier that the move risked “exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced”.

The Guardian


Armed Militiamen Occupy Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and Threaten Showdown With Feds

The case of two Oregon ranchers headed to prison for illegally setting fires on federal lands has snowballed into a standoff with a group of armed right-wing militiamen, who have occupied the headquarters of a wildlife refuge and said they’re willing to use violence if police attempt to remove them from the facility.

The situation began to unfold early Saturday afternoon in the remote city of Burns in southeast Oregon. An estimated 300 protesters, some of them carrying guns, paraded through the city, decrying the prosecution of Harney County ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven. The two men were convicted of arson for setting fires on their property that spread to the adjacent Malheur wildlife refuge. The younger Hammond, 46, served a year in prison, and his father was sentenced to three months. A judge later ruled that their sentences were too short, and ordered them back to prison for about four years each.

Lawyers for the Hammonds have reportedly said they accept the court’s ruling and will report to federal authorities on Monday to begin serving their new sentences. Their cause, however, has been taken up by a loose coalition of right-wing groups led by Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who led an armed standoff last year against the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over a 20-year legal dispute that involved unpaid cattle grazing fees.

Vice News


A Mayor Was Just Shot Dead in Mexico on the Day After She Took Office

The mayor of a city in the central Mexican state of Morelos was shot dead the day after she took office.

Gunmen killed Gisela Mota Ocampo at her house in the city of Temixco on Saturday morning, authorities said. She had been sworn in as mayor of the city on New Year’s Day.

Morelos Governor Graco Ramírez attributed the attack to organized crime.

“This is a challenge by organized crime against the constitutional and democratic order,” Ramírez said on Sunday morning. “Gisela Raquel Mota Ocampo was an honest and committed public servant.”

Dozens of mayors and other elected officials — who often have little personal security — have been killed in drug war violence across Mexico that has left well over 100,000 people dead in the past decade.

Vice News


Iran and Saudi Arabia wage war of words

A war of words has broken out between Iran and Saudi Arabia after Riyadh announced that Shia religious figure Nimr al-Nimr was among 47 men it had executed on terrorism charges.

The Saudi interior ministry announced the executions on Saturday, listing the names of the 47 killed, all of whom had been convicted on charges of terrorism.

The government said those convicted had plotted or participated in attacks against residential compounds and government buildings.

Nimr, who led anti-government protests in Saudi Arabia’s east, was previously convicted of sedition, disobedience and bearing arms. Nimr did not deny the political charges against him, but said he never carried weapons or called for violence.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that Saudi Arabia faced “divine revenge” over Nimr’s execution, saying the religious leader “neither invited people to take up arms nor hatched covert plots. The only thing he did was public criticism.”