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Rock star Morrissey asks Philippine president to retire zoo elephant

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MANILA, Philippines—Rock icon Morrissey called on Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Thursday, ahead of a Manila concert, to send what the star described as Manila Zoo’s long-suffering elephant into retirement.

The British ex-singer of alternative rock group The Smiths said Mali, 37, deserved a reprieve from a lifetime of confinement.

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“I ask that you send Mali to a sanctuary, where she would have room to roam and be able to be among other members of her own species,” Morrissey wrote ahead of his May 13 Manila show.

Aquino’s office received the letter Thursday and is evaluating it, his spokeswoman Abigail Valte told reporters.

Echoing allegations by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Morrissey said Mali had been unable to roam and socialize unlike her cousins in the wild.

“Her life consists of extreme loneliness, boredom and isolation in an area that is a fraction of the size of her natural habitat,” he said, suggesting this could drive her to insanity.

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PETA, which Morrissey supports, wants Mali shipped to a US sanctuary for old, sick or needy elephants that have been retired from zoos and circuses.

It was not the first time Aquino’s intervention had been sought over conditions at the nearly 53-year-old zoo.

Last year a college student’s blog about apparently mistreated zoo animals provoked an instant Internet global furor and forced Aquino to call on officials to look into their welfare.

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Manila Zoo chief veterinarian Donald Manalastas insisted Thursday that contrary to allegations Mali, donated by Sri Lanka in 1980 after its parents were poached, was well and fit.

“We have expanded the enclosure of Mali and increased her food with more nutrients. We have proof and papers of what we feed her. We do not torture her,” Manalastas told AFP.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump officials to face congressional grilling over president’s link to white nationalist terrorism

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Next week, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are poised to question members of the Trump administration about the dangerous rise in white nationalist violence.

Just last weekend, a man slaughtered dozens of people in El Paso, Texas, after citing an "invasion" on the Southwest border.

In addition to questioning senior national security officials about the rise in white nationalism violence, they also plan to ask them whether they think President Donald Trump is instigating violent acts with his rhetoric, reports Greg Sargent in the Washington Post.

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WATCH: Off-duty cop pulls gun on man for sitting in his parked car while black

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A Tuscumbia, Alabama police officer is on leave after a video went viral that shows him pulling a gun on a black man who was sitting in his car, WAFF48 reports.

The video, which was posted to Facebook by Ryan Williams, shows a man claiming to be an off duty Tuscumbia police officer approach Williams who is sitting in a parked car, and ask him for his identification. The man claims he saw Williams driving recklessly, but according to Williams, who is the one filming the video, he was sitting in the motionless car the whole time.

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Rev. Barber uses Bible to school Trump over crazed ‘Chosen One’ rant: ‘Quit your wicked life’

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The Rev. William Barber on Thursday schooled President Donald Trump for declaring himself the "Chosen One," while also approvingly quoting a talk-show host who described him as the "Second Coming of God."

In response to a tweet from "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough that highlighted the president's messianic quotes, Barber quoted from the fourth chapter of the Book of Daniel, which describes the ruin of Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar, a prideful ruler who bragged about the great city he had built.

"King Nebuchadnezzar... boasted, 'Look at this, Babylon the great! And I built it all by myself... to display my honor and glory!'" Barber wrote. "The words were no sooner out of his mouth than a voice out of heaven spoke, 'This is the verdict... your kingdom is taken from you.'"

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