By Brad Brooks (Reuters) - Last summer, millions of ordinary Americans took to the streets to protest racism, police violence and the killing of George Floyd. In the year since, many transformed their energy and anger to action. Across the country, civilians on task forces and elected officials in state legislatures are pushing for changes that experts say address the root causes of police misconduct targeting minority communities. Reforms at state and local levels in the past year include the creation of oversight boards that are not beholden to police departments or unions. "You cannot just ...
Conservative Matt Lewis thinks that the Republican Party could be making real political gains on President Joe Biden -- but the party is too obsessed with keeping former President Donald Trump happy to properly do its job.
Writing in the Daily Beast, Lewis describes House Republicans as a "suicide squad" hellbent on purging all Trump critics from its ranks.
"To pacify Trump, the GOP is on an almost suicidal quest to become a permanent minority party," Lewis writes. "This is insanity. Any rational political party concerned about winning elections would pause to ponder the consequences."
He then points to data from the 2020 election showing how college-educated women fled the GOP in the Trump era, while noting that Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who is soon to be purged from the party's leadership, is the exact type of Republican capable of winning those voters back.
This is an especially bad bet, writes Lewis, because the share of non-college whites is shrinking as a percentage of the entire electorate.
"Trading college-educated suburban Republicans for non-college educated whites seems to be, in the long run, a demographic debacle," he writes. "Simply put, I'm not sure why any rational party would choose to alienate so many voters who still share many of their same traditional values."
Joe Biden has chosen Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago and chief of staff to Barack Obama, as US ambassador to Japan, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.
There had been speculation that Emanuel would become envoy to China, but that job is expected to go to former top US diplomat Nick Burns, the report said, citing multiple sources familiar with the Biden team's discussions
Ambassador to Japan is one of Washington's most important diplomatic postings, and Tokyo one of its most important allies, highlighted when prime minister Yoshihide Suga was the first foreign leader Biden received at the White House.
At that meeting, the United States and Japan vowed to stand together against an assertive China, with a joint statement calling for "candid conversations" and raising concerns over Beijing's growing maritime moves, its clampdowns in Hong Kong and Xinjiang and growing tension over Taiwan.
Emanuel's appointment would continue a tradition of sending high-profile political operators to Tokyo.
The role was also held by Caroline Kennedy, John F Kennedy's daughter, who served during Obama's second term.
Emanuel, the son of an Israeli immigrant, is known as a high-energy, fierce Democratic partisan.
He came to national notice as an enforcer in the Clinton White House, where he held several roles, ramming home the administration's agenda.
He was credited with masterminding the 2006 Democratic election triumph, which saw the party grab control of the House of Representatives from the Republicans, and returned to the White House as chief of staff to President Obama.
He then served two terms as mayor of Chicago, before surprising the political establishment by declining to run for a third, just as an incendiary police shooting trial was about to begin.
He has a reputation for abrasiveness and the occasional piece of profanity-laced rhetoric, attributed to his training in the bearpit of Chicago politics.
Mireya Solis, a Japan expert at the Brookings Institution, told the Financial Times that while Tokyo would value his relationship with Biden, there was some "trepidation" over his reputation for bluntness.
A school shooting erupted Tuesday morning in the Russian city of Kazan, killing seven students and leaving 16 other people hospitalized with wounds, according to the governor of Russia's Muslim majority Tatarstan region. A 19-year-old boy was arrested as authorities launched a criminal investigation.
Rustam Minnikhanov, governor of the Tatarstan republic which has Kazan as its capital, said Tuesday that four male and three female eighth-grade students have died in the shooting. Twelve more children and four adults were hospitalized in the attack, Minnikhanov said.
Russia's state RIA Novosti news agency reported earlier that a total of 11 people had been killed in the Kazan school shooting, citing local emergency officials. There was no way to immediately reconcile the differing death tolls.
Authorities said additional security measures were put into place in all schools in Kazan, a city roughly 700 kilometers (430 miles) east of Moscow.
"The terrorist has been arrested, (he is) 19 years old. A firearm is registered in his name. Other accomplices haven't been established, an investigation is underway," Minnikhanov said after visiting the school Tuesday.
Police have opened a criminal investigation into the incident. Footage posted on social media showed a young man being pinned to the ground outside the school building by a police officer.
News footage of the school building also showed dozens of ambulances lined up in front of the entrance.
While school shootings are relatively rare in Russia, there have been several violent attacks on schools in recent years, mostly carried out by students.
One of the last major shootings of its kind took place in Russian-annexed Crimea in 2018 when a student at a college killed 19 before turning his gun on himself.
Kazan is the capital of the Muslim-majority region of Tatarstan and located around 725 kilometers (450 miles) east of Moscow.
(FRANCE 24 with AP and REUTERS)
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