Obama pushes val­ues in fi­nal ad­dress

The Timaru Herald - - WORLD -

UNITED STATES: With a fi­nal call of his cam­paign mantra ‘‘Yes we can’’, US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama urged Amer­i­cans in his farewell ad­dress yes­ter­day to stand up for Amer­i­can val­ues and re­ject dis­crim­i­na­tion as the US tran­si­tions to the pres­i­dency of Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump.

In an emo­tional speech in which he thanked his fam­ily and de­clared his time as pres­i­dent the hon­our of his life, Obama gen­tly prod­ded the pub­lic to em­brace his vi­sion of progress, while re­pu­di­at­ing some of the poli­cies that Trump pro­moted dur­ing his cam­paign for the White House.

‘‘So just as we, as cit­i­zens, must re­main vig­i­lant against ex­ter­nal ag­gres­sion, we must guard against a weak­en­ing of the val­ues that make us who we are,’’ Obama told a crowd of 18,000 in his home town of Chicago, where he cel­e­brated his elec­tion in 2008 as the first black US pres­i­dent.

Trump, who will take of­fice on Jan­uary 20, pro­posed tem­po­rar­ily ban­ning Mus­lims from en­ter­ing the US, build­ing a wall on the border with Mex­ico, up­end­ing a global deal to fight cli­mate change, and dis­man­tling Obama’s health­care re­form law.

Obama said his ef­forts to end the use of tor­ture and close the US prison in Guan­tanamo Bay, Cuba were part of a broader move to up­hold Amer­i­can val­ues.

‘‘That’s why I re­ject dis­crim­i­na­tion against Mus­lim Amer­i­cans,’’ he said in a clear ref­er­ence to Trump that drew ap­plause.

‘‘If any­one can put to­gether a plan that is demon­stra­bly bet­ter than the im­prove­ments we’ve made to our health­care sys­tem, that cov­ers as many peo­ple at less cost, I will pub­licly sup­port it,’’ he said in an­other chal­lenge to his suc­ces­sor.

Trump has urged the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Congress to re­peal the away.

Obama also said bold ac­tion was needed to fight global warm­ing, and ’’sci­ence and rea­son’’ mat­tered.

Obama, who came to of­fice amid high ex­pec­ta­tions that his elec­tion would heal his­toric racial di­vides, ac­knowl­edged that this was an im­pos­si­ble goal. ‘‘Race re­mains a po­tent and of­ten di­vi­sive force in our so­ci­ety.’’

How­ever, he re­mained hope­ful about the work that a younger gen­er­a­tion would do.

‘‘Yes we can,’’ he said. ‘‘Yes we did.’’ - Reuters ‘‘Oba­macare’’ law right

Death sen­tence for Roof

Dy­lann Roof was sen­tenced to death yes­ter­day for shoot­ing dead nine black Amer­i­cans at a church in Charleston, South Carolina in June 2015. The jury took just three hours to reach its verdict af­ter an un­re­pen­tant Roof, who is white, told ju­rors, ’’I still feel that I had to do it’’. Roof, 22, showed no emo­tion when the de­ci­sion was read but did ask for new lawyers to help him file a mo­tion for a re­trial. The same jury last month con­victed Roof on 33 charges, nine of them in­volv­ing hate crimes. Roof told the ju­rors they had been mis­led by pros­e­cu­tors about his al­leged deep ha­tred of blacks, ar­gu­ing that he never said he hated blacks, but that ‘‘I don’t like what black peo­ple do’’. Lead pros­e­cut­ing at­tor­ney Jay Richard­son called Roof ‘‘un­re­pen­tant’’ and said his clos­ing ar­gu­ment high­lighted how Roof’s racism was not pas­sion­ate or an­gry but cold and cal­cu­lated.

Diplo­mats die in at­tacks

Two large bombs, one trig­gered by a sui­cide at­tacker, ex­ploded near gov­ern­ment of­fices in Kabul yes­ter­day, killing at least 38 peo­ple and wound­ing dozens in the dead­li­est vi­o­lence in Afghanistan’s cap­i­tal in months. The United Arab Emi­rates said five of its diplo­mats were killed. The Taliban de­nied plant­ing the bombs, which also wounded the UAE am­bas­sador. In south­ern Afghanistan, an­other at­tack at a guest­house be­long­ing to the gov­er­nor of Kan­da­har prov­ince killed five peo­ple and wounded 12. The sui­cide at­tack ap­peared to be the dead­li­est at­tack in Kabul since July, when two sui­cide bombers from a lo­cal af­fil­i­ate of Is­lamic State struck a demon­stra­tion by a Shi’ite Mus­lim eth­nic group, killing 80 peo­ple.

New look for Monopoly

Hash­tags, emo­jis and even a rub­ber duck may re­place dogs, cats and hats in an up­com­ing ver­sion of the board game Monopoly. Man­u­fac­turer Has­bro has be­gun a world­wide con­test to let peo­ple choose the eight player to­kens to be in­cluded in the next gen­er­a­tion of the United States ver­sion of the game, based on the streets of At­lantic City, New Jer­sey. Vot­ing runs un­til Jan­uary 31, with the new ver­sion of the game due to go on sale in Au­gust.

PHOTO: REUTERS

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama waves to the crowd af­ter giv­ing his farewell ad­dress at McCormick Place in Chicago.

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