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senator john mccain

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The Vietnam War hero turned senator and presidential candidate John McCain has died aged 81.

Senator McCain died on August 25 in Arizona surrounded by his family, a statement from his office said.

John McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor in July 2017 and had been undergoing medical treatment.

His family announced on August 24 that the senator, who left Washington in December, had decided to stop treatment.

The son and grandson of Navy admirals, John McCain was a fighter pilot during the war in Vietnam. When his plane was shot down, he spent more than five years as a prisoner of war.

While in the custody of his captors, John McCain suffered torture that left him with lasting disabilities.

John McCain Diagnosed with Brain Cancer

John McCain’s widow, Cindy, tweeted: “My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved best.”

His daughter Meghan said the task of her lifetime would now be “to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love.

Following news of John McCain’s death, wellwishers waving flags lined the street as a hearse brought his body from his ranch near Cornville, Arizona, to a funeral home in Phoenix.

The six-term senator for Arizona and 2008 Republican presidential nominee was diagnosed after doctors discovered his tumor during surgery to remove a blood clot from above his left eye last July.

John McCain’s family said he would lie in state in Phoenix, Arizona, and in Washington DC before a funeral at the Washington National Cathedral and his burial in Annapolis, Maryland.

Former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are expected to give eulogies.

Arizona Republican Senator John McCain was caught playing poker on his iPhone while America’s most senior foreign policy and military officials made President Barack Obama’s case for using military force against the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

A Washington Post photographer snapped an over-the-shoulder picture of John McCain casually betting play money on his electronic cards, while Syria’s fate was the subject of passionate statements and often carefully manicured rhetoric.

Minutes after the Post published the photo online, John McCain cracked a joke in the hope of limiting what is bound to be an embarrassing news cycle.

“Scandal!” read John McCain’s sardonic tweet.

A Washington Post photographer snapped an over-the-shoulder picture of John McCain casually betting play money on his electronic cards, while Syria's fate was the subject of passionate statements and often carefully manicured rhetoric

A Washington Post photographer snapped an over-the-shoulder picture of John McCain casually betting play money on his electronic cards, while Syria’s fate was the subject of passionate statements and often carefully manicured rhetoric

“Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing – worst of all I lost!”

As the news broke, John McCain was waiting to appear on CNN to discuss the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

“Occasionally I get a little bored and so I resorted,” he admitted on the air.

CNN associate producer Ashley Killough tweeted afterward that John McCain “said he lost <<thousands>> of fake dollars” during the marathon Capitol Hill session.

John McCain may have been distracted by the presentations from Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey. He had, after all, already made up his mind to side with the president and his request for authorization to bomb Syria.

“If the Congress were to reject a resolution like this, after the president of the United States has already committed to action, the consequences would be catastrophic,” John  McCain said after her emerged from a closed-door meeting with Barack Obama on Tuesday morning, “in that the credibility of this country with friends and adversaries alike would be shredded”.

“And there would be not only implications for this president, but for future presidencies as well.”

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A crowd of over 500 swelled in Washington, DC Saturday in protest over last weekend’s George Zimmerman acquittal in Trayvon Martin case, with some crying for a boycott against Florida.

Comedian and long-time civil rights activist Dick Gregory addressed the crowd and told them to hit Florida where it hurts – in the wallet – by steering clear of Disney World and orange juice aisle.

The rally was one of many nationwide over the weekend, where demands for “Justice for Trayvon” came in the form of calls for an end to Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense laws and for the prosecution of George Zimmerman on charges he violated Trayvon Martin’s civil rights when he shot and killed the 17-year-old last year.

News of the boycott call came as Senator John McCain (R-AZ) joined President Barack Obama in calling for a review of Stand Your Ground laws across the nation.

“I can also see that Stand Your Ground laws may be something that needs to be reviewed by the Florida legislature or any other legislature that has passed such legislation,” John McCain told CNN, adding that his home state of Arizona should consider similar action.

John McCain stopped short of calling for tougher gun controls though, saying: “I don’t frankly see the connection.”
While praising protestors who staged a sit-in as an attempt to cajole Florida Governor Rick Scott into meeting with them, Dick Gregory told the crowd outside the federal courthouse in Washington that musician Stevie Wonder had the right idea when he pledged to no longer perform in Florida.

“How many of y’all have been to Disneyland to see a rat,” Dick Gregory asked with trademark humor.

Trayvon Martin backers call for Florida boycott

Trayvon Martin backers call for Florida boycott

“But haven’t walked down the street to see King’s tomb? Had he not died, you wouldn’t be welcome in Orlando. So we not asking you to do anything that costs you. We just say save your money. Don’t spend it.”

As some members of the crowd chanted “boycott Florida”, Dick Gregory continued with his characteristic humor, according to Breitbart.com.

“Some of y’all ain’t been to Florida in your life and ain’t going,” said Dick Gregory.

“And all you got to do is get Florida to come to you. Now what do I mean by that? They got oranges that they can’t afford to have you not buy because they will rot.”

“I said to my grandmother, <<We not going to boycott Florida orange juice because Florida orange juice is sold under different names. We going to boycott orange juice>>,” he said.

“And when them orange growers start running in to take that governor and he knows he can’t stand his ground with them.”

“Justice for Trayvon” rallies continued elsewhere, as racial tensions remain high – and calls for change remain loud – across the U.S. in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal.

“We have the strength to wipe our tears away. Last Saturday we cried. This Saturday we march,” came the words of Reverend Al Sharpton as he addressed the crowds of a New York City protest Saturday.

Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, also spoke at the New York rally, telling the crowd: “Today it was my son. Tomorrow it might be yours.”

Sybrina Fulton, her son Jahvaris, and Al Sharpton joined the rally as it marched to One Police Plaza at noon, where they were joined by Jay Z and his wife Beyonce, according to the New York Post.

Beyonce had shown her support for the case last week, asking for a moment of silence at a concert after the not guilty verdict was recorded.

While Trayvon Martin’s mother was in New York, the dead teenager’s father took part in a Miami rally on Saturday morning, according to NBC News.

Tracy Martin told supporters outside Miami’s federal courthouse: “I vowed to Trayvon, when he was lying in his casket, that I would use every ounce of energy in my body to seek justice for him.”

Reverend Al Sharpton and other supporters want the Justice Department to pursue federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

He told the rally on Saturday: “They will not say that was the young man killed in Sanford. They will say that was the young man who helped change the laws in the United States of America.”

Former Governor Eliot Spitzer, who attended the New York rally, said: “Regardless of how you view the legality of the verdict in isolation, justice here was denied. An innocent young man was shot and killed and that is a tragedy.”

Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that the department would investigate whether the Hispanic neighborhood watch man could be charged under those federal civil rights laws, which would require evidence that he harbored racial animosity against Trayvon Martin.

Most legal experts said it would be a difficult charge to bring.

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Susan Rice, who is hotly tipped to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has admitted releasing incorrect information after September’s attack on the American consulate in Libya.

UN Ambassador Susan Rice said there had been no attempt to mislead the public, but Republicans were unconvinced.

After meeting Susan Rice on Tuesday, senators said they were troubled.

The envoy said her initial line that the Benghazi attack appeared to have sprung from a protest had been wrong.

The September 11 assault on the US consulate triggered a major political row over who knew what and when.

Days afterwards, Susan Rice, 48, said in a series of TV interviews that it seemed to have developed out of protests over an anti-Islamic film.

Later intelligence reports suggested it was possibly tied to al-Qaeda affiliates.

On Tuesday, Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte met privately with Ms Rice and acting CIA Director Michael Morell to discuss the attack.

Susan Rice has admitted releasing incorrect information after September's attack on the American consulate in Libya

Susan Rice has admitted releasing incorrect information after September’s attack on the American consulate in Libya

After the meeting on Capitol Hill, Susan Rice said: “The talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi.

“While we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case the intelligence assessment has evolved.”

But the Republicans said questions remained unanswered.

Senator John McCain said: “We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn’t get concerning evidence that was leading up to the attack.”

Senator Lindsey Graham said that he was “more disturbed now than I was before”, adding that he would “absolutely” attempt to block any nomination of Ms Rice for secretary of state.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Tuesday there were “no unanswered questions” about Susan Rice’s response to the Benghazi incident, accusing Republicans of being obsessed with it.

Republicans are demanding a joint committee investigate the attack, which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not expected to continue in the role for a second four-year term. The Obama administration would need the support of the Senate for any nomination to the post.

After winning re-election, President Barack Obama vigorously defended Susan Rice, calling Republican criticism of her “outrageous”.

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Four-star general David Petraeus was a star on the battlefield, commanding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but his impeccable judgement failed him when he engaged in an extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell that led to his downfall as CIA Director.

Celebrated as a scholar and a warrior, the 60-year-old Princeton graduate is admired as much for his intellect as he was his tactical ability and charisma on the battlefield.

Seen as one of the top American leaders of his generation, David Petraeus became known as an “A list” celebrity, is credited with pulling Iraq back from the brink of all-out civil war and had a career so stellar he once seemed on course for the US presidency.

After his revolutionary counter-insurgency tactics saved Iraq, David Petraeus oversaw battlefield success in Afghanistan commanding a surge of 30,000 troops ordered by President Barack Obama in late 2009.

“I don’t think he was professionally overrated. His were genuine accomplishments,” said James Carafano, a war historian with the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank.

Senator John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential candidate and the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Friday that David Petraeus is one of “America’s greatest military heroes”.

“His inspirational leadership and his genius were directly responsible – after years of failure – for the success of the surge in Iraq,” John McCain said.

Indeed, as the U.S presidential campaign heated up in 2011, there was genuine talk of the war-hero running as part of a Republican ticket, potentially as vice-president.

The rumors continued up until August of this year, when the White House was forced to deny a report that President Barack Obama feared Mitt Romney stumping for the then CIA chief as his running mate.

In fact, at the time of his nomination to the CIA post, some Washington insiders had said the White House wanted to find a high-profile position for David Petraeus to ensure he would not be recruited by Republicans as a challenger to the 2012 Obama-Biden ticket.

However, ever the loyal soldier, David Petraeus repeatedly distanced himself from ambitions of elected office.

“I am not a politician, and I will never be, and I say that with absolute conviction,” David Petraeus said on NBC’s Meet the Press in August 2010.

When he was nominated to lead the CIA there were some concerns in intelligence circles that the high-profile four-star Army general might not be able to lead from the shadows as appropriate for a spy chief.

But once he took over the head office at the U.S. spy agency, David Petraeus kept a decidedly low public profile.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, expressed regret about the resignation of “one of America’s best and brightest” and said it was an “enormous loss” for the country.

“At CIA, Director Petraeus gave the agency leadership, stature, prestige and credibility both at home and abroad. On a personal level, I found his command of intelligence issues second to none,” Dianne Feinstein said.

After accepting his resignation about a year-and-a-half after nominating David Petraeus to the CIA post, Barack Obama said: “By any measure, he was one of the outstanding General officers of his generation, helping our military adapt to new challenges, and leading our men and women in uniform through a remarkable period of service in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he helped our nation put those wars on a path to a responsible end.”

David Petraeus was sworn in as CIA chief in September 2011 by Joe Biden with his wife Holly at his side

David Petraeus was sworn in as CIA chief in September 2011 by Joe Biden with his wife Holly at his side

In 2010, David Petraeus stepped into the breach as the new commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to replace General Stanley McChrystal who was fired by Obama in a scandal over an article in which McChrystal and his aides made mocking comments about the president and some of his top advisers.

In 2009, David Petraeus was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and underwent radiation treatment. The media-friendly general joked at that time at a Washington event that reporters were only gathered “to see if the guy is still alive”.

David Petraeus, born in Cornwall, New York, lives in Virginia with his wife Holly. They have two grown children, a son who was an Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan, and a daughter.

Known for his intensely competitive nature, David Petraeus graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1974, was the top of his 1983 class at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and went on to earn a doctorate in International Relations at Princeton in 1987.

His commands included the legendary 101st Airborne Division during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and during that campaign he quickly secured the north of the country around Mosul.

The soldier headed up the American efforts to train Iraqi security forces and eventually returned to the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to write his counterinsurgency manual – which is now required reading.

From that point onwards he became the logical choice for President George W. Bush to lead his “surge” in January 2007 which allowed the United States to completely withdraw from Iraq four-years later.

David Petraeus’s wife, Holly, is an activist and volunteer who champions military families, and she continued that work after her husband retired from the military and moved to the CIA.

Holly Petraeus currently is assistant director of the office of service member affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where she tries to keep unscrupulous lenders from taking advantage of military personnel.

The bureau was championed by Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, who was elected to the Senate from Massachusetts this week.

Holly Petraeus is the daughter of four-star General William Knowlton, who was superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point when Petraeus was a cadet.

She briefed the press at the Pentagon on her efforts recently and was introduced by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who called her “a true friend of the Department of Defense and a dedicated member of our military family”.

David Petraeus has four Defense Distinguished Service Medal awards, three Distinguished Service Medal awards, the Bronze Star Medal for valor, and the State Department Distinguished Service Award.