Review Category : National News

Muhammad Ali: Details of the Traditional Muslim Funeral and Inter-Faith Service in Louisville

Columbia Pictures/Getty Images(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — Muhammad Ali’s body was returned on Sunday to his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where the legendary boxer and humanitarian will be laid to rest and honored in a traditional Muslim funeral on Thursday and an inter-faith service on Friday, a family spokesperson announced Monday.

World political and religious leaders come together to remember “The Greatest.”

World political and religious leaders have set aside differences and come together to pay respects to Ali at his funeral, a true testament even after his death to how the “People’s Champion” lived his life.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Abdullah II of Jordan, as well as former U.S. President Bill Clinton are expected to speak at the service, held at the KFC Yum! Center, this Friday at 2 p.m., Ali family spokesperson Bob Gunnell said during a news conference Monday.

Representatives from multiple religions, including Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Mormonism and Buddhism will also be present.

“The service will be open to the public and those who can’t attend can view a live stream at alicenter.org,” Gunnell added.

Ali’s wife, Lonnie Ali, and his daughter, Maryum Ali, will also speak at the funeral, in addition to actor Billy Crystal, sportscaster Bryant Gumbel, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

The Yum! Center can accommodate a crowd of 15,500, and a media briefing Monday at 5:30 p.m. will announce how the public can obtain tickets, Gunnell said.

A Traditional Muslim Jenazah to Take Place Thursday

In addition to the inter-faith funeral service on Friday, a traditional Muslim Jenazah will be held at Louisville’s Freedom Hall on Thursday, Gunnell announced.

Freedom Hall is the location of Ali’s last fight in Louisville on Nov. 29, 1961.

People of all faiths are welcome to attend the Jenazah at Freedom Hall, which can seat up to 18,000 people, Gunnell said.

Imam Zaid Shakir, who will preside over Friday’s service, explained the significance of Thursday’s Jenazah.

“The Jenazah prayer, or funeral prayer, is an obligation that the Muslim community in its entirety owes to any deceased individual from the community,” Shakir said.

Procession to Take Place Through Ali’s Hometown

In addition to the two services, there will be a procession through the streets of Louisville on Friday, according to the Ali Center website.

“In addition to the funeral, there will be a procession throughout Louisville to allow the general public to pay their last respect to the ‘Greatest of All Time.'” The Ali Center website states, “the procession will travel northbound on Bardstown Road, westbound on the Watterson Expressway, and then north on I-65 to westbound I-64 (exiting 9th Street ramp). Then traveling west on Muhammad Ali Blvd. to 34th Street, left on 34th Street to Broadway, making a left on Broadway and then traveling to Cave Hill Cemetery. The route includes locations that were historically important to Muhammad.”

Since Ali’s death of natural causes on Friday evening, an outpouring of goodwill towards “The Greatest,” a man who united many across cultural, religious, and political barriers has emerged.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama also expressed their mourning at his passing.

“Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you just asked him, he’d tell you. He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d ‘handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail,'” the president and first lady said in a statement on Saturday. “Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing. But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time.”

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Gov. Rick Scott Declares State of Emergency as Tropical Storm Colin Approaches Florida

iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in advance of Tropical Storm Colin hitting the state, and residents are preparing for serious flooding throughout the Gulf Coast region.

Colin, which is gaining in speed and strength as it travels in a northeasterly direction, has become the third “named” storm of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The NHC said it expected the storm to move across portions of Florida and southeastern Georgia early Tuesday morning.

Governor Scott Declares a State of Emergency in Florida in Preparation for Tropical Storm #Colin: https://t.co/d2VQQTrgXd

— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) June 6, 2016

Flooding and other potential side effects of climate change have become a critical issue for Floridians in recent years. As sea levels rise and storms intensify, cities flood.

Colin is expected to produce rainfall amounts of three to five inches, with isolated maximum totals of eight inches, according to the NHC.

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Police Clear Out Thousands of Fans at Kanye West Pop-up Show in New York City

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) — What was billed as a surprise Kanye West show in New York City quickly turned to chaos overnight as thousands of fans descended on the venue.

An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people swarmed Webster Hall, which holds 1,500 people, in Manhattan’s East Village early Monday morning for the pop-up show, police said.

West had hinted on social media that he was going to do the show after his performance scheduled for the Governor’s Ball on nearby Randall’s Island Park was canceled Sunday because of inclement weather.

The secret show was supposed to start at 2 a.m. and, according to West’s Twitter page, was sold out by 1 a.m.

Show at 2am SOLD OUT

— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) June 6, 2016

Video had poured in on social media showing dozens of people standing on cars, dumpsters, fire escapes and even a postal truck, trying to get a glimpse of the rap star.

This is CRAZY! @TeamKanyeDaily #PABLO #WEBSTERHALL #KANYEWEST pic.twitter.com/yao8hanPPg

— shaq (@Shaquille_K_) June 6, 2016

But shortly before 2 a.m., Webster Hall tweeted that there would be no show because of the out-of-control crowds that had formed outside the site.

There is no late show at Webster Hall tonight. Please get home safely.

— Webster Hall (@WebsterHall) June 6, 2016

But West then briefly appeared outside Webster Hall at around 2:15 a.m., circling the block while waving to throngs of cheering supporters through his sunroof and shaking hands with fans, who chased him down Third Avenue. Ultimately, West never got out of the vehicle because of security concerns and left without performing.

I just met and shook Ye’s hand #shoutdownNY @TeamKanyeDaily pic.twitter.com/JktMp5AIhh

— Matthew (@matthew_david92) June 6, 2016

Police then worked to disperse the crowd soon after. One person at the scene was arrested for disorderly conduct, according to an official.

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The Big Cases Still to Be Decided at the Supreme Court

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Over the next month, the Supreme Court is expected to weigh in on cases involving some of the major issues before the court and the country — abortion, affirmative action and immigration. All three cases remain undecided.

The court still has 24 opinions left to release before it recesses for the year in late June. While it’s still traditionally early for the biggest decisions, the eight-member court, which has been eager to issue narrow rulings, could announce big decisions earlier than expected.

The next round of opinions is expected Monday, June 6.

Here are the three major cases we are watching:

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (abortion)

Background:

This has the potential to be the most important abortion case in nearly 25 years. In 2013, Texas passed a law containing: 1) a requirement that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital; and 2) a requirement that abortion facilities comply with the requirements for ambulatory surgical centers.

The plaintiffs in the case are clinics, including Whole Woman’s Health, and doctors that provide abortion services.

Arguments:

Dr. John Hellerstedt, the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services — the agency that enforces the challenged law —- argues that Texas is trying to ensure patient safety and improve standards of care. He also argues that it’s the job of legislatures, not courts, to decide whether laws like these are medically necessary.

The plaintiffs argue that there’s no evidence that the law promotes health, and that it is actually aimed at impeding women’s access to abortion. If the law goes into effect, they claim, the number of clinics in Texas will drop to 10 or fewer (the law is largely on hold at the moment, while the Supreme Court considers the case).

Possible outcomes:

Justice Anthony Kennedy holds the key vote in this case. If Kennedy thinks the regulations have gone too far, he will likely join the liberal justices in striking them down 5-3. However, if he concludes that the Texas laws are permissible, the Court will likely divide 4-4, affirming the lower court opinion and leaving the regulations in effect, but without setting a precedent for rest of the country outside of the Fifth Circuit.

There’s also the possibility of a procedural decision. The Court could conclude that the plaintiffs did not present sufficient evidence about the capacity of the clinics that would remain in operation if the law went into full effect –- so the Court could send the case back to the trial court for the introduction of more evidence on that question.

Fisher v. University of Texas (affirmative action)

Background:

This case is the second trip to the Supreme Court for Abigail Fisher, a white woman who was denied admission to the University of Texas (UT), and filed a lawsuit challenging the university’s use of race in admissions.

In Fisher’s first case, the Supreme Court ruled that the lower courts were too deferential to school administrators, and were required to look more closely at the evidence. The lower court took another look and stood by its earlier decision, and the case ended up back before the Justices.

Texas has a unique admissions program, which first takes approximately the top 10 percent of graduating seniors in the state, and then uses race as part of a “holistic” analysis (which also includes things like community service, leadership, and family circumstances) in filling the remaining spots.

Arguments:

Fisher’s attorneys argue that the implementation of the top 10 percent program is sufficient to increase minority enrollment, so that there is no need to take race into account when filling the remaining spots.

Fisher attorney Bert Rein said during oral arguments that UT needed to prove that use of race in its admissions process was a “necessary last resort” in pursuing diversity, taking into account reasonably available non-racial alternatives.

On behalf of the university, Gregory Garre argued that UT’s “holistic plan” is necessary to complement its other admissions process and that it has a “meaningful impact on diversity.”

“Now is not the time and this is not the case to roll back student diversity in America,” he said.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who recently stepped down from his position, also argued in support of UT on behalf of the United States.

Possible outcomes:

Justice Elena Kagan is recused in this case, since she worked on it when she was the Solicitor General. The death of Justice Antonin Scalia leaves only seven Justices deciding this case.

A majority of four could still decide the case, but some legal scholars believe there are legitimate concerns about making major constitutional decisions with less than a majority of the full Court.

Given that, there’s a good chance the Court will make a modest decision in this case.

The Court could send the case back yet again, finding that they don’t have enough evidence because the lower court did not hold a full trial on the case.

The justices could also find that the Texas program is unconstitutional because of the existence of the top 10 percent plan, which is a race-neutral approach to diversifying the student body (residential segregation makes that inevitable).

Or the Court could affirm the lower court and find that the Texas plan is perfectly constitutional.

United States v. Texas (immigration)

Background:

Texas and a number of other states challenged President Obama’s executive action on immigration, which would provide “deferred action” –- essentially temporary relief from deportation -— to millions of undocumented immigrants. Obama’s plan would primarily impact the parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, but also certain individuals who came to this country as children.

The lower court struck the action down as unlawful and issued a nationwide injunction, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed the injunction. The Supreme Court accelerated its review of the case in order to hear it this term.

Arguments:

The case presents two major questions –- first, whether Texas has “standing” to challenge the president’s action; and second, whether the president’s action was lawful.

Texas and the other states say the plan conflicts with existing immigration statutes by unilaterally granting status to individuals who are in the U.S. illegally.

They also argue that the plan is unconstitutional; that by crafting this plan the president has failed to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

The administration argues that recipients of “deferred action” don’t receive lawful immigration status, but are rather notified that they’re not a deportation priority. This would allow them to “come out of the shadows” and apply for work authorization, according to the White House.

At oral arguments, the Court appeared divided 4-4 both on whether the program was lawful and whether Texas had the ability to challenge it at all.

Possible outcomes:

A 4-4 tie here would leave the lower court opinion in place, preventing the president’s executive action from going into effect, at least in the short term. If one of the conservatives crosses over to join the liberal justices, the White House could begin rolling out the program, which has been on hold while the courts consider it.

The case is unlikely to be decided before the end of June, since it is very complex and was argued very late in the term.

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East Coast Braces for Severe Storms, Heavy Rain

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — More than 60 million East Coasters from Georgia to New York were under the threat of severe weather Sunday, as a potentially damaging storm system moved eastward across the United States.

Areas of northern North Carolina to central New Jersey were under the greatest threat for strong winds and numerous rainstorms. Large hail and some isolated tornadoes were possible, too.

ABC News

Flash flooding was also a possibility, according to weather forecasts. More than seven inches of rain fell in Virginia’s Albemarle and Nelson counties Sunday morning, blocking roadways.

Torrential rain was reported in Raleigh, North Carolina, and storms in Gillsville, Georgia, had already brought down trees and damaged homes.

Storm damage in Gillsville, Georgia. A lot of trees down and some homes damaged. pic.twitter.com/Yp0b9MsX9z

— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) June 5, 2016

Along parts of the Gulf Coast, the threat for more heavy rain and flash flooding continued Sunday morning after heavy rainfall and flooding was reported Saturday.

Officials in some Houston suburbs reported that more than eight inches of rain fell in three hours on Saturday, flooding an area called Baytown.

A separate storm system was threatening parts of Florida’s west coast on Sunday, as a tropical storm warning was issued Sunday morning from Indian Pass to Englewood.

A newly formed tropical depression was reported about 550 miles southwest of Tampa in the southern Gulf of Mexico, bringing with it sustained winds of 35 miles per hour. Forecasters expected the storm to strengthen as the system moves into the eastern Gulf of Mexico, likely becoming Tropical Storm Colin by Sunday night.

The National Hurricane Center forecast calls for this system to make a landfall along the northwestern Florida coast, near the “big bend,” by Monday evening. This system could bring heavy rain and possible flash flooding across northern Florida; as many as three inches of rain is expected with higher amounts possible.

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Louisvillians on Hometown Hero Muhammad Ali: He ‘Never Forgot Us’

ABCNews.com(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — As Louisville residents gathered at Muhammad Ali’s boyhood home in the Kentucky city Sunday, many reflected on the boxing icon’s visible pride for his hometown.

Community activist George Fields said whenever Ali came home, he would unite the area.

“When Ali won the Golden Gloves [amateur boxing tournament], the city of Louisville was in slavery mentality. For all low income not just certain color,” Fields told ABC News. “Ali made Louisville known for … peace.

“And he stood up for that. And he never never did what a lot of other celebrities did — forget about where they come from,” Fields said.

“It’s like a Martin Luther King Day when he came to town,” Fields said. “He tried to get all of us to come together as people instead of enemies.”

“He made a statement for everybody that lived here,” Louisville native Sallie Larid told ABC News. “He made our city great by just showing what he can do for people.

“When he could, he always came back,” Larid said. “He just never forgot us. That’s the greatest thing.”

Louisville native James Carr told ABC News he was a child when he met Ali, who was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease at the time.

“He gave me a jab on my jaw” and “he showed off his boxing moves,” Carr said. “And gave me a hug and had a big old grin on his face.

“I’m glad I got the chance to meet him,” Carr said. “He had a great impact on this city just from the way he was raised … and how he was able to persevere through adversity and came back stronger.”

Carr said Ali was an icon and role model.

“He was just so positive,” Carr said. “A lot of us [as children] said when we grow up we want to be like Muhammad Ali.”

Visitors to #MuhammadAli‘s childhood home take pictures and leave tokens of remembrance pic.twitter.com/iW55tjp0yB

— Charli James (@charli) June 4, 2016

Tina Davis and her children Alex and TaNaa took a tour of Ali’s boyhood home Saturday to pay their respects.

“His leadership and the impact that he has is so major, not just for people in the world, but really major here in Louisville,” TaNaa Davis told ABC News. “I honestly wouldn’t feel like a Louisvillian if I did not come and pay some type of respect to him. Now I feel like I have a duty to do something to impact this world because of him.”

Alex Davis echoed his sister’s sentiment.

“It’s like losing a brother. That’s what it feels like,” he said. “Because everyone here in Louisville is already really close knit, and losing someone with his inspiration and his influence — it’s like losing an icon for most people, but for us, it’s like losing a relative.”

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Memphis Cop Struck, Killed by Shooting Suspect Fleeing the Scene

Memphis Police Department(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) — A Memphis police officer was killed Saturday evening, after he was struck by a car driven by a shooting suspect who was fleeing police.

The officer, identified as Verdell Smith, 46, was an 18-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department, officials said.

The chain of events began just before 10 p.m. Saturday when Memphis officers responded to Westy’s Restaurant and Bar to find two men who had been shot, said Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings. Both victims were hospitalized in critical condition.

Minutes later, officers received another call at Bass Pro Shops across the street. Officers found a man with a gunshot wound; he was hospitalized in non-critical condition, Rallings said.

The man police believed to be responsible for the three shootings fled in a car, which was found soon after, but officers lost sight of him. The suspect was spotted again, but “he fled again from officers,” Rallings said.

A few blocks away from where the suspect had fled, Smith was clearing an intersection of pedestrians. That’s when the suspect struck him.

“The suspect then fled from the vehicle and was taken into custody after a brief foot chase,” Rallings said. “Officer Smith was transported to Regional One in critical condition were he later succumbed to his injuries.”

Rallings said at the press conference, “We are currently working several different scenes in connection with this incident. Details are still being gathered and no charges have been filed at this point due to the fact that this is an ongoing investigation.”

The suspect was hospitalized in non-critical condition.

After the deadly crash, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland wrote in a Facebook post that he was “angry at the absolutely unacceptable level of violence in our city.”

Strickland wrote, “My family joins all of Memphis in mourning the loss of Officer Verdell Smith, who gave his life in service to our city. I call on every Memphian to remember Officer Smith’s family in prayer and reflection today and in the coming days — and to be grateful for the dangerous, important work our men and women of MPD perform every day.”

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Southern California Brush Fire Rages Across 500 Acres in Calabasas and Topanga

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — A raging brush fire in Southern California spread to more than 500 acres of land in areas of Calabasas and Topanga on Sunday, putting nearly 5,000 residents in danger.

The fire was 30 percent contained as of Sunday morning after crews made “a lot of progress overnight,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Deputy Chief John Tripp told ABC News.

Crews fighting the blaze included 400 firefighters and water-dropping helicopters.

Tripp said the fire is still a very large challenge on the east and south side because it’s “up on a mid slope of the canyon.”

“That makes it extremely dangerous … to do a direct attack and try to get containment of that,” Tripp said.

Tripp cautioned that if the sun and heat reach the fuel, the fire “could get up and start moving again like it did yesterday.”

About 3,700 homes in Calabasas and Topanga were evacuated, impacting about 5,000 residents, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Capt. Eddie Rivero said.

Evacuations were lifted in Calabasas at 2 a.m. but mandatory evacuations for Topanga remain in place Sunday, Rivero said.

Officials cautioned that residents returning to Calabasas may be going back without power, though the specific number of power outages was not immediately clear.

Officials said a large event structure at a camp was destroyed and two single-family homes suffered damage.

Fire officials said Saturday the cause of the fire was not confirmed but there were reports that the fire had three separate starts.

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One Dead After Two Skydivers Collide Over South Carolina

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Two skydivers collided in midair Saturday night during CarolinaFest, an annual skydiving event hosted in South Carolina, resulting in one death, according to police.

The body of Bond Springer was found this morning in a wooded area near Skydive! Carolina, a popular “drop zone” for skydivers.

“Both skydivers in the incident were experienced and executing advanced wingsuit maneuvers at the time of the crash,” a statement from Skydive! Carolina said. “No malfunction is believed to have occurred with any equipment and all was normal leading [up] to the collision.”

A “wingsuit” is a one-piece garment that enables a skydiver to glide through the air during his or her fall.

The whereabouts and health of the other diver are unknown at this time. Police said that the case is still under investigation.

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Fort Hood Releases Names of Soldiers Killed in Training Accident

iStock/Thinkstock(KILLEEN, Texas) — Fort Hood officials released on Saturday the names of eight of the nine soldiers who died June 2 after the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle they were riding in overturned in a creek.

According to a statement from the Fort Hood Public Affairs Office, “The circumstances of the accident are unknown at this time, pending an investigation by a team from the Army Combat Readiness Center, Fort Rucker, Alabama.”

One of the soldier’s next of kin is still pending formal notification, and that individual’s identity will be released when the notification is complete, officials said.

The eight deceased soldiers identified were:

Staff Sgt. Miguel Angel Colonvazquez, 38, of Brooklyn, New York

Spc. Christine Faith Armstrong, 27, of Twentynine Palms, California

Pfc. Brandon Austin Banner, 22, of Milton, Florida

Pfc. Zachery Nathaniel Fuller, 23, of Palmetto, Florida

Pvt. Isaac Lee Deleon, 19, of San Angelo, Texas

Pvt. Eddy Raelaurin Gates, 20, of Dunn, North Carolina

Pvt. Tysheena Lynette James, 21, of Jersey City, New Jersey

Cadet Mitchell Alexander Winey, 21, of Valparaiso, Indiana

Biographical information about the soldiers was posted on the Fort Hood Facebook page.

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