The Daily Moth 6-19-17

June 20, 2017

Terrorist Attack in London Targets Muslims, U.S. Warplane Shoots Down Syrian Military Jet, Grenfell Tower Death Toll Up To 79, Cosby and Castile Trial Updates, U.S. Navy Ship Collision Kills 7 Sailors, and Three Major News Updates from the Supreme Court 




Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Monday, June 19. Ready for news? 




This early morning in London, there was another terrorist attack. A person drove a rental van into a crowd of people who were leaving worship services at a mosque just down the street — killing one and injuring at least 10, sending 8 to the hospital. 


This was in the Finsbury Park neighborhood (in northern London). The attack is viewed as a deliberate attempt by a terrorist to kill Muslims in the area. 


The driver, after plowing over people, tried to run away. 


People chased the man down, caught him, and held him. 


A witness said he heard the man saying, “I’ve killed the Muslims, kill me please.” When police arrived to arrest him, he smiled at people and blew them kisses. 


There is video of him being restrained by people who hold him down, then police hauled him off to a vehicle. 


The terrorist has been identified as 47-year old Darren Osborne, who lived in Cardiff, on the other side of England. There was a police officer standing outside of his house as it is searched. 


A Muslim neighbor of Darren said last weekend he called her two kids, "inbred." Others said he was an aggressive and strange person.


The police commissioner said it was an attack on Muslims — all of the victims were Muslims. Police has promised more armed officers in the area and around religious establishments. 


It is the fourth terror attack in the UK in four months — first we had the car and knife attack near Parliament, then we had the Manchester suicide bombing, recently the London Bridge van/knife attack, and now this Finsbury Park attack. 


My heart goes out to you in London, there must be a lot of tension. 




Yesterday a U.S. warplane shot down a Syrian regime (al-Assad’s government) jet — a SU-22 military jet. 


It is the first time in the Syrian civil war that an American pilot has shot a Syrian regime jet, and this was in Al Tabqah, near to Raqqa, the “capital city” for ISIS. 


To give you a picture of what’s happening there: 


There is currently a battle there to take control the city away from ISIS — with several Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters. The SDF are not affiliated with al-Assad and are backed by Americans, with support by U.S. military jets. 


But there are also Syrian regime forces there and they are supported by Russian military jets. 


The U.S. military said, on Sunday afternoon, the Syrian regime military started attacking SDF fighters, who had to retreat, carrying their injured. In response, U.S. and coalition aircraft flew low above regime soldiers to warn them — stopping their advance. 


The U.S., because they have no contact with the al-Assad government, contacted the Russian government on a special military hotline to try and get them to stop. 


Two hours later, the aforementioned Syrian regime SU-22 jet flew to the area and dropped bombs over SDF forces. 


That’s what prompted the authorization for a F/A-18E Super Hornet jet to shoot down the Syrian jet — which is an “air-to-air kill.” 


The Syrian regime says the Syrian pilot is missing, that the plane was bombing ISIS, and has accused the U.S. military of working in coordination with the ISIS. 


But the U.S. military says they and coalition forces saw the Syrian regime attack the SDF fighters. 


In the past month, the U.S. has started increasing their numbers and weapons in Syria and has been aggressive in its defense for themselves and for their allies. 


In the past month, the U.S. military conducted airstrikes against soldiers allied with al-Assad who were moving towards a U.S. base. They also shot down an Iranian military drone that shot at U.S. military advisers. 


The Russian government condemned yesterday’s air-to-air kill and said they would track any U.S. or coalition aircraft flying in Syrian regime lands and view them as “targets.” 


This military tension also includes Iran, as they launched four ballistic missiles into an Eastern Syrian city to target ISIS — apparently as a reaction to the recent ISIS terrorist attack in Iran’s government building. Iran is an ally of al-Assad and also of Russia. 


This is several major countries’ militaries being involved in a small country that has its own civil war and also ISIS.




In London, the death count of the apartment tower fire — Grenfell Tower — is now at 79 people. There were more and more bodies discovered as people searched through the building.

Many blame the council who oversaw the building for not doing enough to make sure the building was fire-safe — saying there was a lack of fire alarms, sprinklers, fire hydrants. Some blame the recently-renovated exterior cladding, saying it was extremely flammable. 

The UK government is supporting the victims with a $6.4 million fund and is now doing a check of similar apartment towers to check on their fire safety.


Two updates with big criminal court trials over the weekend: 

1) The Bill Cosby sexual assault trial has ended with a mistrial — the jury couldn’t agree on whether Bill was guilty or not of three counts of assault. They were sequestered and deliberated for 52 hours over 6 days.

The mistrial means Cosby is a free man, but he is not “acquitted” — as the prosecutor/district attorney can try to start a new trial — and they have said they wanted to. Cosby’s lawyer said he is confident if this trial is re-tried, Cosby would be acquitted.

Cosby’s wife criticized the judge, district attorney, the accusers, and the media, saying they were arrogant, colluded with each other, and were unethical.

Many advocates of domestic violence / sexual assault survivors said this was an example of how the justice system can be stacked against survivors who speak out. 


We’ll see if there will be another trial or more legal action against Cosby.


2) The trial for the police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile ended with the officer, Jeronimo Yanez, found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.

It sparked weekend protests in several different cities.

Philando was shot and killed at a traffic stop last summer in Minnesota — the shooting was streamed on Facebook LIVE by Philando’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds. Her daughter, then 4, was sitting in the rear seat.

The officer shot at Philando after Philando told him he had a gun (he legally owned it). It sparked many protests last summer.

Yanez’s defense team said his shooting was justified because he feared for his life since Philando had a gun and looked like a suspect in a recent robbery.

When the officer was acquitted, Philando’s mother spoke out, saying, “Where in this planet do you tell the truth and you still be murdered by the police of Minnesota? She said the system continues to fail black people and they will continue to fail you all.” 



On Friday night, a U.S. Navy military ship, the USS Fitzgerald, was hit on its right side by a huge cargo ship. The collision caused water to flood into the ship, flooding the captain’s cabin and the sleeping quarters. 


Most of the sailors managed to get out and the ship stayed afloat, but there were seven sailors who did not make it out. The ship sailed to a port in Japan and when divers went into the flooded area, they found seven bodies. Very sad. Six of them were young men with ages that ranged from 19 to 26, the seventh one was 37. 


The captain was seriously injured and airlifted to a hospital, but will be okay. 

Now there is an investigation in what happened. International rules say ships should give way to other ships that are coming from the right side, which would make it the Navy’s fault. It is possible that it is the cargo ship (owned by a Japanese company)’s fault if it changed its paths without communication. It is possible that both ships were on autopilot and their watchmen didn’t notice until it was too late. 


The Navy ship’s crew is grieving the loss of seven members, as well as their families. The ship will be repaired — it might take a year to fix it and will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. 



Three Supreme Court News: 


1) The Court just made an unanimous ruling that the the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can’t deny a trademark application if they consider the term to be offensive or disparaging. 


This case has to do with an Asian-American rock band who named themselves, “The Slants.” They wanted to register their name, but was denied by the USPTO because they determined that Asians or people with Asian descent would view the name as derogatory.


The band and their team has argued that using the term “The Slants” was their right as free speech under the First Amendment. They said marginalized communities have a right to determine what is the best for themselves. This case took almost 8 years for them and now it has ended with the Supreme Court ruling. 


New Justice Neil Gorsuch was not involved as this case was argued before he joined. 


This makes it more likely that the Washington NFL team will be allowed to keep their name, “Redskins.” The USPTO canceled their trademark in 2014 because they said it was an offensive term, but now the Supreme Court have “updated” the rules about free speech.

2) The Court struck down a law that would prevent sex offenders from using Facebook or other social media services. This was in response to a North Carolina law passed in 2008 that would make it a felony if sex offenders register with the state used social media that could lead to them interacting online with minors. 


The Supreme Court decided unanimously that sex offenders still had protections under the First Amendment — free speech — to use the internet and have social media accounts. 


3) The Supreme Court announced they will hear arguments related to gerrymandering — which is whenever states decide to draw district lines for government representatives in a way that is “not normal” — to favor/give one political party more districts over the other. 


There is a dispute on district lines in Wisconsin, redrawn in 2010-2011, that others say is unconstitutional because it benefits Republicans. 


A lower federal court had ruled against Wisconsin, saying lawmakers drew the maps to benefit Republicans. It’s now on its way to the Supreme Court, who has allowed the current district maps in Wisconsin to be frozen until they hear it. 


This is viewed as a very important case to watch on what the constitutional limits are on drawing districts on maps. It is already illegal to re-draw maps to lower the influence of minority voters, but now this case focuses on if the lines can be re-drawn for political benefit.

*In the ASL part, I misspelled “gerrymandering” — I spelled it “gerrymeandering.” 




That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!

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