Friday morning news: August 16, 2019

Israel blocks visit of two U.S. lawmakers » Israel announced Thursday that it would not allow two U.S. lawmakers to enter the country this weekend.

The government issued the ban against Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota because of their support for the boycott Israel movement.

Former Israeli ambassador to the United States Danny Ayalon says criticizing Israeli policy is one thing… 

AYALON: But the problem here is that what they are trying to do is really undermine the very legitimacy and existence of the state of Israel.

The decision came shortly after President Trump tweeted about the two Democrats’ planned trip. He said it would “show great weakness” to let them in.

Both women had planned to visit Jerusalem and the West Bank on a tour organized by a pro-Palestinian organization.

Mustafa Barghouti is general secretary for the Palestinian National Initiative.

BARGHOUTI: The Israeli behavior shows that they are afraid that these two congresswomen will expose to the world the horrible violations of human rights that are conducted against the Palestinian people.

Omar condemned the decision but said it wasn’t a surprise. In a statement she said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had, in her words— “resisted peace efforts … and aligned himself with Islamophobes like Donald Trump.”

Gibraltar releases detained Iranian oil tanker » A British judge in Gibraltar released an Iranian oil tanker on Thursday—potentially ending a standoff between London and Tehran. 

Lawyer Charles Gomez announced the decision to reporters

GOMEZ: It has already been released. In legal terms, from the minute that the judge made his order, literally minutes ago, the ship no longer has any compulsion to stay within the jurisdiction.

Officials in the British territory off the coast of Spain detained the supertanker on July 4th. They claimed it carried crude oil headed for Syria in violation of international sanctions.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said European Union rules required his country to release the ship after Iranian officials promised in writing not to send the oil to Syria.

The U.S. government petitioned to extend the tanker’s detention hours before Thursday’s hearing. But it had not filed an official request with the court by the time the hearing resumed. 

Hundreds of assault cases filed in New York » Attorneys in New York filed more than 400 lawsuits on Wednesday and Thursday on behalf of sexual-abuse victims. The suits take advantage of a one-year litigation window for plaintiffs previously blocked by the statute of limitations.

James Grein is one of them. He accuses former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of abusing him when Grein was a child.

GREIN: A moment of redemption, not just for myself but for everybody who has been abused by so many of these people for so long.

McCarrick’s now 89 years old. He’s denied Grein’s allegations.

Other defendants named in the lawsuits include the Boy Scouts, Rockefeller University Hospital, and public and private schools. 

Attorney Stephen Weiss represents dozens of those who say they’re victims.

WEISS: Nothing can ever make up for the pain and suffering that survivors of sexual abuse endure, but demanding justice and accountability from the church and other institutions is an important step toward their healing.

A compensation fund for sexual abuse victims set up by the New York Archdiocese in 20-16 has already paid out $65 million dollars to more than 300 people. 

Hickenlooper ends presidential campaign » Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper ended his bid for the White House on Thursday.

HICKENLOOPER: Now today, I’m ending my campaign for president. But I will never stop believing that America can only move forward when we work together.

In the video message posted online, Hickenlooper hinted that his political campaigning may not stop for long. 

HICKENLOOPER: I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate. They remind me how much is at stake for our country and our state. I intend to give that some serious thought.

At least 10 Democrats have already announced their intention to challenge Republican incumbent Senator Cory Gardner in 2020. Gardner is considered one of the Senate’s most politically vulnerable incumbents.

Hickenlooper launched his presidential campaign in March. He tried branding himself as a moderate and a uniter. But he struggled to raise money or gain traction with primary voters.

Philadelphia man surrenders after shooting officers » The Mayor of Philadelphia is calling on Congress to tighten gun restrictions after a Wednesday afternoon shootout wounded six police officers.

KINNEY: We here in city government can only do so much. Getting relief in the form of meaningful gun-control legislation will save lives. The lives of residents and the lives of men and women who have sworn to protect us.

The officers were attempting to serve a drug warrant when the suspect opened fire as they walked through a row house. The gunman fired more than 100 rounds during the nearly eight-hour standoff. He finally surrendered after police fired tear gas into the building.

None of the wounded officers suffered life-threatening injuries. But Police Commissioner Richard Ross said the outcome could have been far worse.

Following the standoff, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey called on his colleagues to take up two bills.

CASEY: It’s time for the United States Senate to vote on a background check bill, but also not to forget about, and not to push off for another day, finally, at long last, a ban on military-style assault weapons, which are weapons of war that should not be on our streets.

Police said the gunman had an AR-15 rifle and a handgun.

(AP Photo/John Locher) Democratic president candidate and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper walks on stage before speaking at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019, in Clear Lake, Iowa. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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