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Nazi, KKK regalia were sold at a Kentucky gun show — the same day as the synagogue shooting – National




Kentucky officials are apologizing after Nazi and white supremacist merchandise were made available for sale at a gun show held in a state-owned expo center in Louisville, Ky. for National Gun Day this past weekend.

Among the items photographed at the gun show by Courier-Journal columnist Joe Herth were Christmas ornaments featuring the Nazi version of the swastika symbol.

Joe Gerth / Courier Journal

The vendor, Florida man Walter Kanzler, told the Courier-Journal that the Nazi-themed Christmas baubles were also available on his website for prices ranging from $50 to $750.

He said the items held historic value and assured, “I’m not into hate or anything like that.”

Also put up for a sale by Kanzler was a white tank top with a pair of horizontal, red stripes and a Nazi swastika prominently featured on the front.

The sale began on Saturday, Oct. 27, the same day that 11 people were gunned down at a synagogue in Pittsburgh by a gunman yelling “Kill all Jews.”

WATCH: Coverage of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers

Not all of Kanzler’s offerings were Nazi-themed, however.

Some of the items held a more American-white-supremacist persuasion, such as this authentic Ku Klux Klan robe that Gerth indicated on Twitter was being sold for a whopping US$695.

Kanzler’s items were on display at the Kentucky Expo Center, which is run by the Kentucky State Board, members of which are appointed by the state’s governor.

The venue is located less than 15 kilometres from a Kroger supermarket where a white man was accused of killing two black shoppers on Oct. 24, at one point muttering “Whites don’t kill whites,” according to the son of an eyewitness.

WATCH: Eyewitness recounts shooter saying ‘whites don’t kill whites’ in Kroger grocery store shooting

A spokesperson for the fair board told the Courier-Journal that responsibility for the screening of merchandise sold at events like the National Gun Day exhibition rested with the managers of the show.

However, authorities said they would look into changing that at their next board meeting in two weeks’ time.

Fair board chairman Mark Lynn told NBC’s Louisville affiliate Wave 3 News that he was in favour of banning Nazi and white supremacist merchandise from being sold at the expo center.

“We’ve got to get beyond racism, we’ve got to get beyond hatred, and you hope that as a people, as a city, a town, a nation we can do that,” Lynn told Wave 3 News. “And by allowing items to be sold that specifically represent those type of things, in my opinion, that’s not a type of way that you can do that moving forward.”

READ MORE: Hateful online rants by would-be shooters create police dilemma

Kentucky Venues, the fair board-run brand that operates the expo center, was in full-on damage control mode on Tuesday, telling several furious Twitter users that it “finds the sale of items representing racist ideology to be despicable and unacceptable.”

“In light of the recent event at the Kentucky Exposition Center where Nazi and white supremacy items were discovered to be for sale, the Chairman of the Kentucky State Fair board will propose strengthening existing exhibitor policies at the next board meeting on November 15,” Kentucky Venues said in a tweeted statement.

WATCH: Concerns about rise of anti-Semitism in Canada

Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth said it was “horrifying” that KKK robes and Nazi-themed Christmas ornaments could be brazenly put up for sale at a public event.

“It’s symptomatic of what we’re dealing with now,” Yarmuth told the Courier-Journal. “It seems to be OK to publicly condone white supremacy.”

Kentucky’s Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who has taken criticism for not denouncing the Kroger shooting as a hate crime, is yet to comment on the controversy.

Ron Dickson, promoter for National Gun Day, did not respond to requests for comment from the Courier-Journal or from Global News.

READ MORE: A synagogue shooting, pipe bomb deliveries — they’re hate crimes, not terrorism. Here’s why

In a Wednesday opinion column, Gerth argued that the public display and sale of Nazi and KKK items was not a question of free expression, pointing out that they symbolized two of the most painful episodes of American history.

“One represents an evil we fought and defeated during World War II,” Gerth wrote.

“The other represents an evil that we fought within ourselves since the birth of our nation and still do to this very day.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



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

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Harris accepts VP nomination



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



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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