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As Trump faces protesters, Pittsburgh Jewish community buries shooting victims – National

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Pittsburgh‘s Jewish community began burying its dead Tuesday after the synagogue massacre, holding funerals for a beloved family doctor, a pillar of the congregation, and two 50-something brothers known as the Rosenthal “boys.”

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, arrived in Pittsburgh to pay his respects and encountered hundreds of shouting, chanting protesters with signs such as “It’s your fault” and “Words matter,” a reference to allegations his bellicose language has emboldened bigots. Pennsylvania’s governor and the mayor of Pittsburgh declined to join him during the visit.

Earlier in the day, thousands of mourners jammed a synagogue, a Jewish community centre and a third, undisclosed site for the first in a weeklong series of funerals for victims of the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.

READ MORE: Protests greet Donald Trump as he visits Pittsburgh after synagogue shooting

Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, Daniel Stein and Cecil and David Rosenthal were among 11 people killed in the shooting rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue Saturday. Robert Gregory Bowers, a 46-year-old truck driver who authorities say raged against Jews, was arrested on federal hate-crime charges that could bring the death penalty.

With Tree of Life still cordoned off as a crime scene, more than 1,000 people poured into Rodef Shalom, one of the city’s oldest and largest synagogues, to mourn the Rosenthal brothers, ages 59 and 54.

The two intellectually disabled men were “beautiful souls” who had “not an ounce of hate in them – something we’re terribly missing today,” Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, a survivor of the massacre, said at their funeral.

WATCH: Friends and family attend funeral for brothers killed in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting







Myers, his voice quivering, told the Rosenthals’ parents and other family members: “The entire world is sharing its grief with you, so you don’t walk alone.”

The brothers were widely known as “the boys,” the Rosenthals’ sister, Diane Hirt, noted. “They were innocent like boys, not hardened like men,” she said.

She said Cecil – a gregarious man with a booming voice who was lightheartedly known as the mayor of Squirrel Hall and the “town crier” for the gossip he managed to gather – would have especially enjoyed the media attention this week, a thought that brought laughter from the congregation.

READ MORE: Holocaust survivor lives through Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, cheating death for second time

Rabinowitz’s funeral was held at the Jewish Community Center in the city’s Squirrel Hill section, the historic Jewish neighbourhood where the rampage took place. Two police vehicles were posted at a side door and two at the main entrance.

A line stretched around the block as mourners – some in white medical coats, some wearing yarmulkes, black hats or head scarves – passed beneath the blue Romanesque arches into the brick building.

The 66-year-old Rabinowitz was a go-to doctor for HIV patients in the epidemic’s early and desperate days, a physician who always hugged his patients as they left his office.

WATCH: Patients of doctor killed in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting say he was the ‘perfect person’







“A lot of people are feeling really angry about this. A lot of rage built up inside about this, because of it being a hate crime. Don’t get me wrong; I do. But I’m so overwhelmed with sadness right now that I can’t even be angry right now,” said Robin Faulkner, whose family had seen Rabinowitz for 30 years and counted him as a dear friend. “It’s just such a loss. Just tragic.”

A private funeral was also held for Stein, the 71-year-old men’s club president at Tree of Life.

The other victims’ funerals have been scheduled through Friday.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump landed in Pittsburgh after the day’s services and lit candles at Tree of Life for the victims. Outside, they laid white roses as well as stones for each of the dead, a Jewish burial tradition. The president and first lady later went to a hospital to visit with survivors.

WATCH: Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers arrive for synagogue shooting victim’s funerals







They were joined by Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, as well as Myers, the Tree of Life rabbi, and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer.

Hundreds of protesters gathered near the synagogue and the hospital.

“He didn’t pull the trigger, but his verbiage and actions don’t help,” said Squirrel Hill resident Paul Carberry, 55, wearing anti-Trump patches on his hat and jacket.

Another Squirrel Hill resident, Shayna Marcus, who had hoped to catch the presidential motorcade with her young sons but just missed it, said the anger at Trump is misplaced.

“I don’t think focusing on Trump is the answer, or on politics,” said Marcus, a 34-year-old nurse and Trump supporter.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit a memorial outside Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Oct. 30, 2018.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Democratic Mayor Bill Peduto had asked Trump not to come while the city was burying its dead. He and Gov. Tom Wolf, a fellow Democrat, said they would skip the president’s visit.

“Community leaders expressed to the governor that they did not feel it was appropriate for Trump to come, so the governor made a decision not to join him on his visit out of respect for the families and the community,” said Beth Melena, Wolf’s campaign spokeswoman.

WATCH: Tree of Life Rabbi struggles with trauma of shooting at his synagogue







Among the mourners at the Rosenthal brothers’ funeral was Dr. Abe Friedman, who typically sat in the back row of Tree of Life with the two men but was late to synagogue on Saturday and was not there when the gunman opened fire.

As he stood in line at the funeral, Friedman wondered why he had been spared.

“Why did things fall into place for me?” he asked. “I usually sit in the back row. In the last row, everyone got killed.”



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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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