Self-proclaimed "Peace Troubadour" James Twyman has a plan for stopping the Islamic State — a "powerful" peace concert in Syria. There's just one problem: The State Department isn't so sure about the power music has over ISIS, and has reportedly warned the Oregon folk singer not to travel to Syria.
Nevertheless, Twyman plans to leave on Jan. 20, first stopping in Italy, then Israel, and finally traveling to Syria, where he is planning to perform at a venue in ISIS-controlled territory on Jan. 31, Fox News reports. Twyman claims he will be joined in Syria by a large group of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders. "Each one will lead the group in prayer from their religion. It's going to be pretty powerful," Twyman told Fox News.
While the State Department explicitly cautions that "the U.S. government's ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage" in Syria is "very limited," Twyman remains unfazed. "I'm no sort of hero, but I do believe in the power of this," he said.
"It's going to be pretty powerful. When people come together and focus on something in a positive way... there's scientific evidence that it can change things for the better," Twyman said. Jeva Lange
On Tuesday, Donald Trump gave a scripted speech, with teleprompter, in front of a wall of garbage in Pennsylvania, then a more extemporaneous one in St. Clairesville, Ohio. The tone was different, but the message was the same: Free trade deals are bad. "The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster, done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country — just a continuing rape of our country," Trump said. "That's what it is, too — it's a harsh word. It's a rape of our country. This is done by wealthy people that want to take advantage of us and that want to sign another partnership."
This is not the first time Trump has bashed trade deals, nor is it the first time he has equated free trade with rape. And while Trump is clearly aiming to win over Rust Belt communities in the Midwest, his language is at odds with decades of Republican Party advocacy of unfettered free trade, and Trump face immediate criticism from Republican business leaders and business groups typically aligned with the GOP. "Under Trump's trade plans, we would see higher prices, fewer jobs, and a weaker economy," tweeted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, adding in another tweet: "Even under best case scenario, Trump's tariffs would strip us of at least 3.5 million jobs."
Trump, in his speeches, promised to pull out of NAFTA and withdraw from the TPP, which has not been ratified by Congress. And he criticized his likely Democratic presidential opponent Hillary Clinton, taking credit for Clinton withdrawing her support for TPP. You can watch Trump's "rape" comments below. Peter Weber
The former summer palace of King Kamehameha III in Honolulu is off limits to the public, but that's not stopping websites and blogs from touting it as a must-see destination, much to the dismay of the state of Hawaii.
— Michelle B. Van Dyke (@michellebvd) June 29, 2016
The 180-year-old Kaniakapupu palace is in a closed watershed area, and anyone found on the property will be cited, The Associated Press reports. Last week, someone etched crosses into the structure's crumbling walls, and the state's Department of Land and Natural Resources has had enough; they've sent letters to more than a dozen websites and blogs that recommend hikes to Kaniakapupu and asked them to stop promoting the closed palace.
The department says some outlets, like Exploration Hawaii, have removed information on the historic site, and others have promised to remove directions to Kaniakapupu. Thankfully, there's still plenty for visitors to do while in Honolulu. Catherine Garcia
Scotty Moore, the longtime guitarist for Elvis Presley and one of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists, died Tuesday at his home in Nashville. He was 84, and had been in poor health.
Moore started playing the guitar at age 8, and after moving to Memphis in the 1950s, was asked by Sam Phillips of Sun Records to play on Presley's first single, "That's All Right (Mama)." Presley was just a teenager at the time, and after the single was successful, Moore, bassist Bill Black, and drummer D.J. Fontana founded the Blue Moon Boys, a band that backed Presley on such hits as "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog," "Blue Suede Shoes," and "Jailhouse Rock." The band also appeared in four of Presley's movies — Jailhouse Rock, Loving You, King Creole, and G.I. Blues.
Moore worked with several other musicians, including Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, Jeff Beck, and Keith Richards. Richards once said: "When I heard 'Heartbreak Hotel,' I knew what I wanted to do in life. It was as plain as day. All I wanted to do in the world was to be able to play and sound like that. Everyone else wanted to be Elvis; I wanted to be Scotty." In 2000, Moore was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with other sidemen who "spent their careers out of the spotlight." Catherine Garcia
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has signed legislation that requires elementary schools to give kids at least 20 consecutive minutes of recess, defined as free play, every day.
The law, signed Monday, also allows schools to consider recess instructional time so they don't have to make the school day any longer to meet the requirements, The Associated Press reports. An earlier version of the bill wanted to ban teachers from taking away recess from kids as a form of punishment, but that was dropped in a compromise, and the law now asks teachers to make a good faith effort to not keep students from recess. Catherine Garcia
With the Republican National Convention just one month away, Donald Trump's campaign aides have convinced several sports figures to make appearances at the event, Bloomberg Politics reports.
It's a who's who of your uncle's favorites, including former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, former Chicago Bears coach and TV commentator Mike Ditka, and retired Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight. It's unclear if they will just be speaking to delegates or in televised addresses, sources told Bloomberg, and the campaign is trying to get several other athletes and celebrities to agree to appearances, too. Previously, Trump said he only wants "winners" at the convention, and he's already received public support from Tyson, Knight, and Ditka.
Trump, however, is denying a major part of the report, tweeting late Tuesday, "Iron Mike Tyson was not asked to speak at the convention though I'm sure he would do a good job if he was. The media makes everything up!" Catherine Garcia
When it comes to combating terrorism, Donald Trump believes the United States needs to fight "fire with fire."
During a campaign stop Tuesday in Ohio, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said waterboarding is "peanuts" compared to acts committed by terrorists, and waterboarding isn't "tough enough." Unfortunately, he continued, we have laws that prevent us from doing whatever we want against terrorists, even those who are "chopping off people's heads." You have to "fight fire with fire," he said. "We have to be so strong. We have to fight so viciously. And violently because we're dealing with violent people viciously."
Trump then asked the crowd to imagine terrorists sitting down "around the table or wherever they're eating their dinner," and the discussions they must have. "They probably think we're weak, we're stupid, we don't know what we're doing, we have no leadership. You know, you have to fight fire with fire." When his campaign was asked by NBC News if Trump was suggesting the United States conduct the same barbaric tactics employed by ISIS and other terrorist organizations, their question went unanswered. Catherine Garcia
Update 10:06 p.m.: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said at least 36 people were killed and 147 injured Tuesday in a coordinated suicide bombing at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport by three attackers. "The terrorists came to the airport in a taxi and then carried out their attacks," Yildirim said. "The fact that they were carrying guns added to the toll. Preliminary findings suggest all three attackers first opened fire, then detonated themselves." No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and Yildirim said signs are pointing to the Islamic State, but he did not elaborate. Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozag told CNN no bombs were actually detonated within airport buildings; one blast occurred on the pavement outside the terminal and another at the airport entrance security gate. The airport was closed, and has since reopened. Our original post appears below.
Istanbul's Ataturk Airport was hit by two explosions Tuesday, leaving 10 people dead and wounding at least 20 others, Turkey's justice minister said. Officials have reported that the explosions were the work of two suicide bombers. Gunfire was also reportedly "heard from the car park at the airport," one witness told Reuters, and taxis are reportedly shuttling injured people away from the airport.
The Ataturk Airport features X-ray scanners at a checkpoint at the entrance to the international terminal, and then a separate security checkpoint further inside the terminal, BuzzFeed News' Middle East correspondent Borzou Daragahi explained. Turkish officials said police at the outer checkpoint shot at the two attackers as they approached the terminal entrance, at which point they detonated their bombs.
BBC Turkey correspondent Mark Lowen, who landed at Ataturk apparently right after the explosions, noted that the airport has long been considered a "vulnerable target" because of its lack of vehicle screening. The attacks follow several recent bombings in Turkey that have been tied to either Kurdish or Islamic State militants. Becca Stanek