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Atheist Richard Dawkins hammered for accusing Ahmed Mohamed of wanting to be arrested

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The evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins found himself at the centre of controversy on Sunday when he questioned the motives of Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old boy who was arrested and detained in Texas when a teacher thought a clock he had made was a bomb.

Related: Ahmed Mohamed is tired, excited to meet Obama – and wants his clock back

Dawkins did not dispute that Mohamed should not have been arrested, but questioned whether the boy had truly “invented” the clock, as has been reported. He tweeted : “If this is true, what was his motive? Whether or not he wanted the police to arrest him, they shouldn’t have done so[.]”

Mohamed, whose parents are from Sudan, was arrested, handcuffed and questioned by five police officers at MacArthur high school in Irvine on Monday. He was then suspended for three days.

He told MSNBC he was not allowed to call his parents and was accused of carrying a hoax bomb. He said: “I felt like I was a criminal, I felt like I was a terrorist. I felt like all the names I was called.”

He added: “In middle school I was called a terrorist, called a bomb maker, just because of my race.”

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In a controversy that largely played itself out on Twitter, Mohamed then received overtures from Silicon Valley tech companies , support from Hillary Clinton and an invitation to the White House from President Obama.

On Friday, Mohamed spoke to the Guardian. Such national attention was “worth it, once you realize what you’re fighting for”, he said, adding that that fight was “not just for Muslims … but for anybody who has been through this”.

Dawkins, the author of books including the groundbreaking The Selfish Gene, the bestselling The God Delusion and the memoir A Sense of Wonder, is a leading critic of religious belief and an advocate of “rational thought”.

On Sunday, the emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford said he was simply looking for the truth of the Texas schoolboy’s story.

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In a tweet, the scientist linked to a YouTube video entitled Ahmed Mohammed [sic] Clock is a FRAUD”, in which user Thomas Talbot alleges Mohamed’s clock “is in fact not an invention. The ‘clock’ is a commercial bedside alarm clock removed from its casing”.

In his tweet , Dawkins said: “If this is true, what was his motive? Whether or not he wanted the police to arrest him, they shouldn’t have done so.” His next tweet said of the video: “This man seems to know what he’s talking about.”

Subsequent tweets, issued against a growing storm of online protest, said: “Assembling clock from bought components is fine. Taking clock out of its case to make it look as if he built it is not fine. Which is true?

“Yes, there are other reasons why a boy might take a clock out of its casing & pretend he’d made it. Trying to impress teachers, for instance[.]”

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Linking to an artvoice.com blogpost entitled Reverse Engineering Ahmed Mohamed’s clock… and Ourselves, Dawkins tweeted : “If the reassembled components did something more than the original clock, that’s creative. If not, it looks like hoax.”

Dawkins eventually retreated. He devoted tweets to questioning police motives and tweeted a reference to the new leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party: “Sorry if I go a bit over the top in my passion for truth. Not just over a boy’s alleged ‘invention’ but also media lies about J[eremy] Corbyn.”

In an answer to a Twitter user who wrote : “I think you too frequently confuse ‘truth’ with ‘obsessive and unnecessary dedication to accuracy’”, Dawkins wrote : “That could well be true, in which case I apologise. I guess I’m a bit sensitive about being among the many fooled.

He subsequently retweeted President Obama’s White House invitation.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015

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GOP leaders in open warfare with Trump’s White House as another government shutdown looms

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According to a report in the Washington Post, GOP leaders are at an impasse with the White House on future budget concerns as President Donald Trump's chief of staff -- which is leading to fears of another government shutdown.

The report states, "GOP leaders have spent months cajoling President Trump in favor of a bipartisan budget deal that would fund the government and raise the limit on federal borrowing this fall, but their efforts have yet to produce a deal."

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Trump Twitter-snarls at ‘Impeachment Day’ protesters as the product of ‘Radical Left Democrats’

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President Donald Trump lashed out at Impeachment Day protesters on Twitter on Sunday morning, downplaying their efforts after seeing a report on Fox News.

Taking to Twitter the president wrote, "Yesterday was the Radical Left Democrats big Impeachment day. They worked so hard to make it something really big and special but had one problem - almost nobody showed up. “The Media admits low turnout for anti-Trump rallies ...saying enough. Democrat voters want to hear the politicians talking about issues. This is a huge distraction and will only help Donald Trump get elected. 'Greatest President since Ronald Reagan' said a counter-protester. LehighValleyLive."

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Trump’s first term: hits and misses

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"Promises made, promises kept," goes one of President Donald Trump's main 2020 reelection slogans. Is that true?

Here are some of the key policy hits and misses -- comparing his accomplishments to his promises -- from a tumultuous first term.

- HITS -

Economy:

The economy will be Trump's major selling point.

GDP grew 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019 and the last recession was a decade ago. Unemployment is at a 50-year low of 3.6 percent.

Trump's frequent claim that the economy is probably "the best" in US history is an exaggeration, though.

Economists see growing dangers, including exploding government debt and growing backlash from Trump's aggressive trade policies, especially with China.

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