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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit: property and investment analysis

Brexit: property and investment experts’ analysis What does Brexit means for Middle East investors in UK real estate? Dan Kitwood / Getty Images Brexit: property and investment experts’ analysis The National staff June 24, 2016 Updated: June 25, 2016 02:31 PM Related Brexit: reaction from Africa British vote to leave EU hammers pound sterling - video Brexit: reaction in France and around Europe After Brexit, the UK now faces a deeply uncertain future Brexit: reaction from the UK One-page article Here, Faisal Durrani, the head of research at Cluttons, the international property consultants based in London, tells The National what Brexit means for Middle East investors in UK real estate: “Any US dollar or UAE dirham investors will find the price of an average prime central London residential asset US$96,000 (Dh350,000) less than it was on June 20. Conversely of course, London residential property is now $96,000 cheaper for international buyers looking to enter the market. “A silver lining today is that those from the Arabian Gulf eyeing up a London residential asset will find it 31 per cent cheaper than it was during the last market peak in Q3 2007, suggesting that we may be on the cusp of seeing a significant resumption in property investment activity in the British capital, mirroring the results of our recent Middle East Private Capital Survey, particularly as global investors seek out safe haven assets such as gold and London’s bricks and mortar, which we expect will retain its appeal". “The longer term implications are too early to assess, but we may start to see the unlocking of London’s stalled residential property market, with investors both exiting and entering the market as we head towards a period of demand volatility." Here, London Central Portfolio, a specialist London-based residential investment advisors focusing on prime central London property, tells The National its views on Brexit: “Prime central London real estate is expected to benefit from a flight to quality and the security of blue-chip tangible assets, against a background of highly volatile financial markets." “It is now likely that property prices in prime central London will increase. Whilst LCP had originally predicted that this would not occur until 2017, the signs are that the re-entry of investors into the market will be more rapid than originally expected. LCP have received a stream of enquiries from the early hours of this morning," said Naomi Heaton, the chief executive of LCP. “In light of the anticipated appetite, particularly from foreign investors, LCP has decided to make a second share offering available for its quoted property company, London Central Apartments III, which exclusively invests in the private rented sector in Prime Central London," she said. The impact of Brexit has been amplified the world over by the shock resignation of the prime minister David Cameron, compounding the uncertainty caused by the departure of the UK from the EU, LCP said. The fall-out for the UK property market, however, will, without doubt, be two-speed. The domestic market is affected by local factors, in particular the economy and employment. Both of these may suffer from the reverberations of the vote announced today and the uncertainty surrounding the future of the governing Conservative party. While the political upheaval of the monumental changes that have come into play this morning is undoubtedly going to have a fundamental effect on financial markets, of which London plays such an important role, it is expected that prime central London (PCL) property itself will see a surge of activity. It is expected that PCL real estate will benefit from a flight to quality and the security of blue-chip tangible assets, against a background of highly volatile financial markets. Movement in gold prices, to which PCL is historically closely aligned, has already increased by 5 per cent. Prior to the referendum, sterling had already been driven to lows not seen since the Global Credit Squeeze, with US$ denominated investors enjoying discounts of almost 1/5, cancelling out the recent unwelcome increases in UK property taxes. Today, as of now, sterling has dropped a further 10 per cent and is predicted to drop significantly more in the short term. According to UBS, the Bank of England will at the very least keep interest rates on hold, but a cut is very likely. Other forms of stimulus are also possible. Alongside domestic homeowners, this will benefit investors into the Central London property market. It should be recalled that the dramatic bounce back in PCL was supported by a weak sterling and falling interest rates during the credit crunch. Prices rallied within one year and outperformed almost all other financial indices. While markets are reeling in shock and assimilating the news, a short-term downturn in financial markets is undoubtedly expected. However, it is also anticipated that they will recover over the two year Brexit negotiation process and London will continue to hold its position as a financial powerhouse. It should be remembered that international investors have always been, and will continue to be, attracted by PCL’s reputation as an aspirational, cultural, and educational centre. They are reassured by its rule of law and unequivocal title to property when it comes to ownership. All factors unaffected by the UK vote to leave and which investors worldwide will continue to find attractive, even as the UK embarks on the path of being an independent power outside the European bloc. It is also worth noting that the EU has played only a limited role in attracting international capital to the London property market, with only 12 per cent of buyers coming from Europe according to LCP’s research. In the unlikely event of a wholesale withdrawal of European buyers, there will be very little net effect on the market. Instead, it is predicted that there will be a surge of new buyers, who have been poised on the side-lines awaiting the results. LCP, as a real estate investment advisory, specialising in Prime Central London, has already received a stream of enquiries from Asian and Middle Eastern investors from the early hours of this morning. This year, prices in PCL softened in the face of a whole raft of global issues – falling oil prices, continued uncertainty in China and tax headwinds at the top end of the UK property market – and had already factored in the impact of an out vote. Price growth in central London had tailed off from its 8.7 per cent long term annual average to 4.7 per cent while investors adopted a wait-and-see attitude. It is now likely that the market will harden and while LCP had originally predicted that this would not occur until 2017, the signs are that the re-entry of investors into the market will be more rapid than originally expected. As LCP predicted in its recent analysis of the impact of an “out" vote, international buyers are now likely to capitalise on a weak sterling and a competitively priced market. Here, three chief investment officers from Neuberger Berman, a New-York based private, independent, employee-owned investment management firm, Joseph Amato, Erik Knutzen and Brad Tank, tell The National what their take on Brexit and its possible repercussions are: This time the opinion polls got it right. The “Remain" and “Leave" camps were running neck-and-neck coming into yesterday’s UK referendum on membership of the European Union and in the event some 52 per cent of UK voters opted to reject the status quo and pull out. Markets have responded dramatically. UK equity index futures have slumped and the pound sterling has tumbled to 1980s levels. Havens such as gold, German Bunds and US Treasuries are seeing substantial investor demand. The euro has also come under pressure. No doubt this will be the first of many volatile trading sessions, and the major central banks may intervene if necessary. But we caution against reacting as though this were a second “Lehman moment", as some commentators have suggested. The likelihood of at least medium-term damage to the UK economy from a “Leave" vote, as well as pronounced market volatility on the back of political uncertainty for the UK and the EU as a whole, did lead our Multi-Asset Class (MAC) team to adopt a relatively neutral stance coming into the vote. This stance was not only designed to try to buffer against volatility, but also to position the MAC team to take advantage, potentially by increasing allocations to riskier assets based on a longer-term view of fundamentals. Still, the UK has chosen the rockier of two paths. It piles up the political distractions that have dogged the administration of UK prime minister David Cameron and his chancellor, George Osborne. The “Brexit" camp is clearly in the ascendant but the vote revealed a lack of national consensus. And even consensus would not wish away the complexity of this exit, a “monumental," multi-year task in the words of one legal expert. That complexity is likely to prolong the period of low corporate investment we have seen leading up to the vote, both within the UK and in the form of foreign direct investment. This, together with the higher costs of trading, is what led mainstream economists to forecast a 3 to 7 percentage point negative long-term impact on UK GDP. The pain may not be felt evenly. Many of the large companies in the FTSE 100 Index are global rather than UK businesses – 80 per cent of the index’s revenues come from overseas. This should help insulate them from any domestic downturn and potentially deliver a windfall from the weakened pound. Smaller, more domestically-focused companies are more vulnerable to a fall in consumer demand and higher import costs. That could be a source of opportunity during a sell-off in UK assets, particularly if the UK makes its new status work over the longer term. Elsewhere, the economic impact is likely to be felt most keenly in Europe and, in the words of one Federal Reserve Bank president, to have only “moderate direct effects on the US economy in the near term." Again, we expect an excessive market reaction to be a potential source of opportunity. A more pessimistic reading of the vote would see it as one more crack in the edifice of international political and economic co-operation built over the past 70 years. Anti-EU parties in countries like France, Germany and Italy may take heart from the result and attempt to further exploit the euro-scepticism increasingly evident in opinion polls across the Continent. But to us this merely confirms that globalisation is under siege, a trend already well-advanced and understood by financial markets. Beyond Europe, a big effect on the outcome of the forthcoming presidential election is unlikely – and besides, as the former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told us in an exclusive interview at our CIO Summit last week, neither the Republican nor the Democratic candidate is promoting a positive view of global trade and investment. Most importantly, this vote will probably exert only a marginal effect on global economic fundamentals, which remain stable but weak. We still live in a slow-growth, low-inflation, low-interest rate environment, characterised by sluggish productivity and investment. Brexit has been a tail-risk stalking markets in the same way that the oil price, the strong dollar and concerns about China created volatility back in January and February, but we think its implications are overstated. For that reason, we again stress the importance of looking through the noise to focus on fundamentals and watching for opportunities to add risk to portfolios. The market reaction may provide opportunities to add to some positions in riskier assets once the worst of the initial volatility has passed. Looking further out, in a lot of places in the world we still need structural reform and a more appropriate fiscal response to the current malaise if we are going to allow our economies to grow on a proper footing, and our companies to generate sustainable earnings growth. Part of that progress will involve addressing the legitimate concerns of those who have failed to benefit from globalisation, but populism and political division is not the way to do it. In that respect, today’s result is hardly good news. But we believe its effect will be marginal and the market’s initial response is likely to create opportunity for patient investors with cool heads. Joseph V Amato is President of Neuberger Berman Group and the chief investment officer – equities at Neuberger Berman. He is also a member of the firm’s board of directors and its audit committee. Erik L Knutzen is a managing director, and Multi-Asset Class chief investment officer at Neuberger Berman. Brad Tank is a managing director, chief investment officer, and the global head of fixed income at Neuberger Berman. Here Ravi Singhania, a managing partner for Singhania & Partners, a law firm based in Mumbai, gives his take: Brexit is not going to be significant for India in long term except few knee-jerk reactions due to market sentiments in Europe and USA. However, another set of problems await for EU which is still recovering from economic crisis. It’s time to wait and watch if it will lead to disintegration of EU altogether or not. Here, Shreyash Devalkar, a fund manager – equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund:, gives his take: Key benchmark indices, both in India and overseas, witnessed a massive slide today, triggered by Britain voting to leave the European Union. At its lowest level during the day, both the Sensex and the Nifty had lost over 4 per cent and were trading at nearly a one-month low. However, a sharp recovery in late afternoon trade, helped indices pare losses and close lower by a little over 2 per cent. The Sterling pound crashed more than 9 per cent against the USD to a 31 year low, while both oil and equity markets witnessed a free fall. Flight to safety was observed with gold futures witnessing sharp gains. All the sectoral indices on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded in the negative zone with a majority of them losing over 2 per cent for the day. business@thenational.ae Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter

Monday, June 20, 2016

American Muslims see Trump rhetoric fueling prejudice, hate incidents

Mon Jun 20, 2016 | 7:39 PM EDT American Muslims see Trump rhetoric fueling prejudice, hate incidents ‹ Young Muslims protest against U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump before being escorted out during a campaign rally in the Kansas Republican Caucus at the Century II Convention and Entertainment Center in Wichita, Kansas March 5, 2016. REUTERS/Dave Kaup/File Photo Young Muslims protest against U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump before being escorted out during a campaign rally in the Kansas Republican Caucus at the Century II Convention and Entertainment Center in Wichita, Kansas March 5, 2016. Reuters/Dave Kaup/File Photo U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to a supporter as he leaves a campaign event in an airplane hanger in Rome, New York April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to a supporter as he leaves a campaign event in an airplane hanger in Rome, New York April 12, 2016. Reuters/Carlo Allegri/File Photo Young Muslims protest against U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump before being escorted out during a campaign rally in the Kansas Republican Caucus at the Century II Convention and Entertainment Center in Wichita, Kansas March 5, 2016. REUTERS/Dave Kaup/File Photo Young Muslims protest against U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump before being escorted out during a campaign rally in the Kansas Republican Caucus at the Century II Convention and Entertainment Center in Wichita, Kansas March 5, 2016. Reuters/Dave Kaup/File Photo U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to a supporter as he leaves a campaign event in an airplane hanger in Rome, New York April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to a supporter as he leaves a campaign event in an airplane hanger in Rome, New York April 12, 2016. Reuters/Carlo Allegri/File Photo › American Muslims see Trump rhetoric fueling prejud...X By Yara Bayoumy | WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About three months ago, Sarah Ibrahim's son came home from his fourth-grade class at a Maryland school with a disturbing question. "Will I have time to say goodbye to you before you're deported?" he said, according to Ibrahim, a Muslim Arab American who works at a federal government agency in Maryland. "The kids in his classroom were saying: 'Who's going to leave when Trump becomes president?'" said the 35-year-old mother. The incident happened a few months after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump -- now the presumptive nominee -- first called for a ban on Muslim immigrants and for more scrutiny at mosques after 14 people were killed in San Bernardino by a Muslim couple whom the FBI said had been radicalized. Trump intensified his anti-Muslim rhetoric after last week's mass shooting in Orlando, in which a U.S.-born Muslim man killed 49 people at a gay nightclub, calling for a suspension of immigration from countries with "a proven history of terrorism". He reiterated his call for more surveillance of mosques and warned that radical Muslims were "trying to take over our children." While Democratic and several Republican leaders have distanced themselves from Trump's comments, many American Muslims say his stance has fueled an atmosphere in which some may feel they can voice prejudices or attack Muslims without fear of retribution. "What Trump did was make these hidden thoughts public. He gave people permission to speak out loud, he removed the shame associated with being prejudiced. People know that they won't be punished," Ibrahim told Reuters at a community iftar, the sundown meal during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Trump's campaign did not respond to Reuters' request for comment. Trump has rejected the criticism that his rhetoric is racist, and has said he is often misunderstood by the media and his opponents. A report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and University of California, Berkeley released on Monday said the number of recorded incidents in which mosques were targeted jumped to 78 in 2015, the most since the body began tracking them in 2009. There were 20 and 22 such incidents in the previous two years, respectively. The incidents include verbal threats and physical attacks. Corey Saylor, CAIR's director of the department to monitor and combat Islamophobia, said there had been a spike in Islamophobic incidents in the wake of Orlando, including those targeting mosques. "Trump's rhetoric is a direct threat to American principles. He has mainstreamed anti-Constitutional ideas like banning or surveilling people based on faith," Saylor told Reuters. "Such divisive rhetoric contributes to a toxic environment in which some people take the law into their own hands and attack people of institutions they perceive as Muslim." "DIVIDING THE COUNTRY" CAIR says the last big spike in incidents targeting mosques was seen in 2010 following the controversy over locating an Islamic center near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York. It said that lent "additional weight to the argument that levels of anti-Muslim sentiment follow trends in domestic U.S. politics, not international terrorism". American rabbis and preachers have also denounced Trump’s rhetoric. Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States still outstrip those against Muslims. The Anti-Defamation League said last year there were 912 anti-Semitic incidents across the United States during the 2014 calendar year, up 21 percent from 2013. “If Muslims are not free and safe in America, then Christians and Jews are not free and safe in America,” said Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism. Trump has also drawn criticism for his rhetoric against Latino immigrants, saying early in his campaign that Mexican "rapists" and other criminals were coming across the border and calling for all undocumented immigrants to be deported. Manal Omar, a Muslim-American author based in Washington, said she has stopped taking the metro and walking alone late at night. "I can't dismiss the tweets and angry messages I've received from right wing militants," said Omar, who says she has grown especially vigilant after last week's murder of British lawmaker Jo Cox, whom she knew. A few days after the San Bernardino attack, Ilhaam Hassan's family restaurant was burned down in an arson attack in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Matthew Gust pleaded guilty in May to federal hate-crime and arson charges. He admitted to setting the fire because of the national origin of the employees and customers at the restaurant -- a focal point of the local Somali-American community. "I don’t know what to expect if he (Trump) becomes the president," Hassan said. "He is against minorities. He is against Islam. It's not a message of unity, it's a message of dividing the country and that is not what America is based on." (Additional reporting by David Bailey in Minnesota and Isma'il Kushkush in Washington; Editing by Stuart Grudgings)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Kurds ready for new oil deal with Baghdad if they get $1 billion a month

12:49am EDT Kurds ready for new oil deal with Baghdad if they get $1 billion a month ERBIL, Iraq Iraq's Kurds are ready to strike an agreement with the central government in Baghdad on a deal to increase oil exports, if it guarantees them a monthly revenue of $1 billion, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said. 12:44am EDT Kurds ready for new oil deal with Baghdad if they get $1 bln a month ERBIL, Iraq, June 15 Iraq's Kurds are ready to strike an agreement with the central government in Baghdad on a deal to increase oil exports, if it guarantees them a monthly revenue of $1 billion, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said. Jun 14 2016 Flow of civilians from Iraq's Falluja slows as IS tightens grip BAGHDAD/ERBIL, Iraq About 40,000 residents of Falluja, Islamic State's besieged stronghold near Baghdad, have fled in the last three weeks, but a similar number are trapped despite the Iraqi army's attempts to secure escape routes for them, officials said on Tuesday. Jun 13 2016 Iraq makes arrests over reports of Sunnis executed in Falluja BAGHDAD Iraq said on Monday it had made arrests as it investigates allegations that Shi'ite militiamen helping the army retake Falluja had executed dozens of Sunni Muslim men fleeing the city held by Islamic State. | Video Jun 12 2016 Thousands flee Falluja using first safe exit route secured by Iraqi army BAGHDAD/ERBIL, Iraq The Iraqi army said on Sunday it had secured the first safe exit route for civilians to leave Islamic State's besieged stronghold Falluja, and a Norwegian aid group said thousands of people had already used it to flee in the first day it was open. Jun 06 2016 Iraqi army, Shi'ite coalition bicker on Falluja war operations BAGHDAD/ERBIL, Iraq An Iraqi Shi'ite militia leader accused government forces of "betrayal" as a split emerged between the Iranian-backed paramilitaries and the army over tactics for fighting Islamic State. | Video May 31 2016 In void left by Iraqi state, turf war partitions northern town TUZ KHURMATO, Iraq In some places, the line dividing this town in northern Iraq takes the form of blast walls and barricades that bring its run-down streets to an abrupt end. May 30 2016 U.S.-led coalition troops seen near front line in new Iraq offensive HASSAN SHAMI, Iraq Servicemen from the U.S.-led coalition were seen near the front line of a new offensive in northern Iraq launched on Sunday by Kurdish peshmerga forces that aims to retake a handful of villages from Islamic State east of their Mosul stronghold. | Video May 11 2016 In remote corner of Iraq, an unlikely alliance forms against Islamic State UMM Al-DHIBAN, Iraq They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. May 05 2016 'No boots on the ground' has its limits as U.S. Navy SEAL is killed in Iraq TEL ASQOF, Iraq A pickup truck races toward a burning village in northern Iraq, slamming to a halt behind an armored convoy that forms the only barrier between U.S. forces and Islamic State. | Video World | Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:49am EDT Related: WORLD, IRAQ Kurds ready for new oil deal with Baghdad if they get $1 billion a month ERBIL, IRAQ | BY MAHER CHMAYTELLI AND ISABEL COLES Iraq's Kurds are ready to strike an agreement with the central government in Baghdad on a deal to increase oil exports, if it guarantees them a monthly revenue of $1 billion, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said. Iraq's central government in March stopped oil exports through a Kurdish pipeline to pressure the local authorities to resume talks about an oil revenue sharing agreement. Iraq's state-run North Oil Company normally exported 150,000 barrels a day through the pipeline that comes out at the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, in Turkey. The pipeline also carries oil produced in the Kurdish region in northern Iraq and sold independently from the central government. KRG spokesman Safeen Dizayee said in an interview in the Iraqi Kurdish capital Erbil on Tuesday that the Kurdish authorities would be willing to sell the oil through Baghdad if they get a share from the federal budget amounting to a $1 billion a month. "If Baghdad comes and says ok, give me all the oil that you have and I'll give you the 17 percent as per the budget, which equals to one billion, I think, logically it should be the thing to accept," he told Reuters, specifying later that the amount referred to a monthly payment in dollars. "Whether this oil goes to the international market or first to Baghdad and then to the market, it doesn't make any difference," he said. "We are ready to enter dialogue with Baghdad." The KRG stopped delivering crude oil to the central government a year ago, a decision taken when Baghdad's payment fell under $400 million a month, according to Dizayee. The Kurdish region exported an average of 513,041 barrels in May through the pipeline to Turkey, generating about $391 million, of which about $75 million was paid to oil companies that produce the crude, according to KRG official estimates. "The companies have been assured that certain amounts will be made on a monthly basis," said Dizayee, referring to the three foreign oil producers in the KRG region - DNO, Gulf Keystone and Genel. "We have started to pay some of it, at least it has rebuilt that confidence between the government and the IPCs (oil companies," he said, referring to arrears owed to the companies. The KRG in February said it will be paying international oil companies in 2016 according to the terms of their contracts, after making ad-hoc payments last year. The foreign operators have been reluctant to invest and further develop assets in the region without the promise of regular payment, while the cash-strapped KRG needs production to increase as it struggles to avert an economic collapse. (Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli and Isabel Coles; Editing by Ed Davies)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ex-wife of suspected Orlando shooter: ‘He beat me’

Law enforcement officials and relatives identified the gunman of the June 12, 2016 deadly shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old from Fort Pierce, Fla. (Myspace) By Adam Goldman and Julie Tate June 12 at 12:19 PM  The ex-wife of the 29-year-old man suspected of killing 50 people in a Orlando nightclub early Sunday said that he was violent and mentally unstable and beat her repeatedly while they were married. The ex-wife said she met Omar Mateen online about eight years ago and decided to move to Florida and marry him. At first, the marriage was normal, she said, but then he became abusive. “He was not a stable person,” said the ex-wife, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she feared for her safety in the wake of the mass shooting. “He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.” [50 dead in shooting at gay club in Orlando] While the FBI has not identified Mateen publicly, U.S. law enforcement officials said his identification was found on the body of the killer, who was armed with a handgun and an assault rifle. Authorities think he used those weapons to kill 50 people and injure dozens more in the attack on the gay nightclub that began just after 2 a.m. Sunday morning. Mateen was killed in a shootout with police three hours later after a SWAT team assaulted a section of the club where Mateen was holed up with hostages. Mateen’s ex-wife said his family was from Afghanistan, but her ex-husband was born in New York. His family later moved to Florida. In a series of Myspace photos, Mateen is seen taking selfies and wearing New York Police Department shirts in a couple of the shots. His ex-wife identified him as the man in the Myspace photos. Mateen’s ex-wife said she was having a difficult time when she first met him and decided to move to Florida to be with him. The two married in March 2009 and moved into a 2-bedroom condominium in Fort Pierce, Fla., that Mateen’s family owned. “He seemed like a normal human being,” she said, adding that he wasn’t very religious and worked out at the gym often. She said in the few months they were married he gave no signs of having fallen under the sway of radical Islam. She said he owned a small-caliber handgun and worked as a guard at a nearby facility for juvenile delinquents. “He was a very private person,” she said. The ex-wife said her parents intervened when they learned Mateen had assaulted her. Her father confirmed the account and said that the marriage lasted only a few months. Checkpoint newsletter Military, defense and security at home and abroad. Sign up Her parents flew down to Fort Pierce and pulled her out of the house, leaving all her belongings behind. The ex-wife she said never had contact with Mateen again despite attempts by him to reach her. “They literally saved my life,” she said of her parents. According to Florida court records, the two formally divorced in 2011. After learning about what happened in Orlando, she said: “I am still processing. I am definitely lucky.”

50 Dead so far Mass shooting in Orlando night club, reports of hostage situation, gunman possibly 'wearing a bomb'

Reuters Graphics Retracing the attack inside the Pulse nightclub A gunman killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and the worst attack on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Below is a timeline of events that occurred throughout the morning. 12:12 a.m. Packed nightclub Neema Bahrami, the manager of Pulse nightclub posts a video to his Facebook page from from inside the club showing a packed crowd surrounding a performer. 1:58 a.m. Inside nightclub Patience Carter, 20, says she looked at a cellphone and turned to friend to ask how they would get home. In the moments between her asking the question and her friend ordering the Uber, that's when first gunshots were heard. "At first we didn’t know that they were gunshots." There were about 300 people in the club at the time, police said About 2:00 a.m. Main entrance An Orlando police officer working at the Pulse Nightclub responds to shots fired, according to the Orlando Police Department, and engages in a gunfight with Omar Mateen. Shortly after 2:00 a.m. Main dance floor Mateen heads deeper into Pulse, spraying club-goers with bullets from an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and a pistol as he goes. Many of the victims appear to have been killed in those first frantic minutes, as Mateen fires round after round at an almost continuous pace. Investigators later said that victims’ wounds suggested he used both guns. Shortly after 2:00 a.m. Various exits Some patrons flee through a door to a patio area at the side of the building, scrambling to take cover as they made it outside. Others escape through a side door. And some head toward a rear area walled off from the main part of the club. Shortly after 2:00 a.m. Restrooms in the rear of the nightclub Officers then chase Mateen toward the bathrooms, where he barricades himself inside, along with hostages, Orlando Police Chief John Mina told reporters. Many clubgoers also crammed into a pair of bathrooms along the rear wall. 2:09 a.m. Restrooms in the rear of the nightclub Pulse Orlando’s Facebook page issues a warning: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.” Ten minuters later, Brandon Wolf, a former Bravo reality television competition contestant, tweets, “Omg. Shooting at pulse. We hid in the bathroom. And we can't find our friends.” About 2:30 a.m. Mateen makes 911 calls from the club during the attack beginning about 2:30 a.m, said FBI Director James Comey. There were three different calls. First, he called and hung up. He called again and spoke briefly with the dispatcher and then hung up. The dispatcher called him back again and they spoke briefly. 2:45 a.m. Mateen calls local TV station News 13 and tells producer he is shooting in the name of Islamic State and speaks a foreign language. "I will never forget the words he said to me," Matthew Gentili of News 13 said. "I'm the shooter. It's me. I am the shooter," Gentili said in a post on the station’s website. 2:46 a.m. Restrooms in the rear of the nightclub Eddie Justice texts his mother “Still here in bathroom. He has us. They need to come get us,” according to media reports. Minutes later, Mina Justice tells her son that the police are on the scene. Eddie texts back, “Hurry” and “he’s in the bathroom with us.” He is later identified as one of the deceased. 3:00 a.m. Restrooms in the rear of the nightclub According to Sheriff Jerry Demings, SWAT team is not fully deployed but Mateen is contained and isolated in bathroom. Orlando Police Department/Handout 3:58 a.m. Orlando Police sends out its first tweet on the incident, including a photo of numerous emergency vehicles: “Shooting at Pulse Nightclub on S Orange. Multiple injuries. Stay away from area.” About 5:00 a.m. Restrooms in the rear of the nightclub Witnesses hear three gunshots from Mateen. Patience Carter says she heard him shoot three people in the bathroom. By this time, Carter had been on the floor of the bathroom stall for hours, her femur shattered by a bullet, pinned beneath friends and strangers. 5:00 a.m. Outside the restrooms Concerned that more clubgoers were about to be killed, police make the decision to breach the nightclub walls to rescue hostages, says Orlando Police Chief Mina. They use an explosive, which does not completely penetrate the wall. An armored vehicle then punches a hole in the wall. Law enforcement officials would later confirm that 30 hostages were rescued through the hole. Shortly after 5:00 a.m. Outside the restrooms Sheriff Demings said Mateen emerges from bathroom area and engages in gunfire with SWAT team and Orange County Sheriff's hazardous device team. Reuters/Jim Young 5:53 a.m. Orlando Police tweet confirmation that the shooter is dead: “Pulse Shooting: The shooter inside the club is dead.” Reuters/Carlo Allegri 6:21 a.m. Bahrami writes on Facebook, “I am safe everyone give me a minute trying to make sure the staff and guest that are with me are safe.” Sources: Reuters; Orlando Office of the City Clerk; Orlando Police Department; social media posts By Christine Chan, Amy Tennery, Peter Eisler and Ashlyn Still | REUTERS GRAPHICS ================================================ Sun Jun 12, 2016 | 4:11 PM EDT Fifty massacred at Florida gay club, worst shooting in U.S. history 2h ago | 00:45 Police search car, house in Florida shooting rampage Fifty massacred at Florida gay club, worst shootin...X By Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - A man armed with an assault rifle killed 50 people at a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on Sunday in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, which President Barack Obama described as an act of terror and hate. Police killed the shooter, who was identified as Omar Mateen, 29, a Florida resident and U.S. citizen who was the son of immigrants from Afghanistan. Mateen called 911 on Sunday morning and made comments saying he supported the Islamic State militant group, officials said. "It has been reported that Mateen made calls to 911 this morning in which he stated his allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State," said Ronald Hopper, the FBI's assistant special agent in charge on the case. U.S. officials cautioned, however, that they had no conclusive evidence of any direct connection with Islamic State or any other foreign extremist group. "We know enough to say this was an act of terror, an act of hate," Obama said in a speech from the White House. "As Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage and in resolve to defend our people." U.S. officials have reached no definitive judgment on the killer's precise motives, Obama added. "We must spare no effort to determine what, if any, inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups," he said. Fifty-three people were wounded in the rampage. It was the deadliest single U.S. mass shooting incident, eclipsing the 2007 massacre of 32 people at Virginia Tech university. Pulse was crowded with some 350 revelers at a Latin music night when the attack happened. Clubgoer Joshua McGill described in a posting on Facebook how he fled the attack. "I hid under a car and found one of the victims that was shot," McGill said, describing trying to bandage the victim with his shirt and quietly dragging him to a nearby police officer. "Words cannot and will not describe the feeling of that. Being covered in blood. Trying to save a guy's life." A hostage situation developed, and three hours later a team of SWAT officers used armored cars to storm the club before shooting dead the gunman. It was unclear when the victims were killed. ADVERTISEMENT The number of dead shocked local officials, who had initially put the death toll at 20. "Today we're dealing with something that we never imagined and is unimaginable," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. He said 39 people died inside the club, two outside, and nine others died after being rushed to hospital. Orlando Regional Medical Center Hospital said it had admitted 44 victims, including nine who died, and had carried out 26 operations on victims. PRIOR FBI INTERVIEWS Mateen had twice been interviewed by FBI agents, in 2013 and 2014, after making comments to co-workers indicating he supported militant groups, but neither interview lead to evidence of criminal activity, the FBI's Hopper said. As police tried to determine what motivated Mateen's rampage, about a dozen unmarked police cars had gathered around a Port Saint Lucie house that appeared to be linked to the gunman. Police on the scene declined to comment, and neighbors said they didn't much activity in or around the white stucco home ‹ Orlando police lock down the emergency room entrance of Orlando Regional Medical Center, just blocks from the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski Orlando police lock down the emergency room entrance of Orlando Regional Medical Center, just blocks from the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shoot... Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski + Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman... Reuters/Steve Nesius + Orlando gay nightclub mass shooting suspect Omar Mateen, 29 is shown in this undated photo. Orlando Police Department/Handout via Reuter Orlando gay nightclub mass shooting suspect Omar Mateen, 29 is shown in this undated photo. Orlando Police Department/Handout via Reuter Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club, where as many as 20 people have been injured after a gunman opened fire, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club, where as many as 20 people have bee... Reuters/Steve Nesius + Police cars and fire trucks are seen outside the Pulse night club where police said a suspected gunman left multiple people dead and injured in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. Orlando Police Department/Handout via REUTERS Police cars and fire trucks are seen outside the Pulse night club where police said a suspected gunman left multiple people dead and injured in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 201... Reuters + Hundreds of community members line up outside a clinic to donate blood after an early morning shooting attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando. REUTERS/Steve Nesius Hundreds of community members line up outside a clinic to donate blood after an early morning shooting attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Reuters/Steve Nesius Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman... Reuters/Steve Nesius + Officers arrive at the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius Officers arrive at the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. Reuters/Steve Nesius Volunteers Clinton Grubb (L), Brittani Acuff (C) and others gather at The Center, a GLBT organization, to provide assistance and counseling to the community after an early morning shooting attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando. REUTERS/Steve Nesius Volunteers Clinton Grubb (L), Brittani Acuff (C) and others gather at The Center, a GLBT organization, to provide assistance and counseling to the community after an early mo... Reuters/Steve Nesius + Friends and family members leave the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius Friends and family members leave the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlan... Reuters/Steve Nesius + A handout photograph posted by the Orlando Police Department on Twitter with the words, ''Pulse shooting: In hail of gunfire in which suspect was killed, OPD officer was hit. Kevlar helmet saved his life'', in reference to the operation against a gun man inside Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. Orlando Police Department/Handout via REUTERS A handout photograph posted by the Orlando Police Department on Twitter with the words, ''Pulse shooting: In hail of gunfire in which suspect was killed, OPD officer was hit.... Reuters + U.S. Senator Bill Nelson speaks at a news conference after a shooting attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski U.S. Senator Bill Nelson speaks at a news conference after a shooting attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski FBI agent Ron Hopper speaks at a news conference after a shooting attack at at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski FBI agent Ron Hopper speaks at a news conference after a shooting attack at at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer speaks at a news conference after a shooting attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer speaks at a news conference after a shooting attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski Imam Muhammad Musri speaks at a news conference after a shooting attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski Imam Muhammad Musri speaks at a news conference after a shooting attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S. June 12, 2016. Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando police chief John Mina and FBI agent Ron Hopper speak at a news conference after a shooting attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando police chief John Mina and FBI agent Ron Hopper speak at a news conference after a shooting attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, F... Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski + Demetrice Naulings sobs outside the Orlando Police Headquarters where police are interviewing witnesses in the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius Demetrice Naulings sobs outside the Orlando Police Headquarters where police are interviewing witnesses in the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where peopl... Reuters/Steve Nesius + Friends and family members gather outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius Friends and family members gather outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman,... Reuters/Steve Nesius + Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman... Reuters/Steve Nesius + Orlando police lock down the emergency room entrance of Orlando Regional Medical Center, just blocks from the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski Orlando police lock down the emergency room entrance of Orlando Regional Medical Center, just blocks from the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shoot... Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski + Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando, Florida, U.S June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman... Reuters/Steve Nesius + › "I've never seen anyone come in or out," said Aryne Rackley, who has lived three doors away for the past three years. "Nobody is ever in the backyard." U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on a congressional intelligence committee, said there were indications of "an ISIS-inspired act of terrorism," referring to Islamic State. Likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, said he was "right on radical Islamic terrorism." He called in a tweet on Sunday for "toughness and vigilance." Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted a brief statement after the attacks, but did not speculate on the motives of the gunman. Florida Governor Rick Scott called for Americans to hold a moment of silence at 6 p.m. ET (2200 GMT) to commemorate the dead. World leaders including Pope Francis, Britain's Queen Elizabeth and the leaders of Canada and Afghanistan condemned the attack. Mateen was born in New York of parents who were immigrants from Afghanistan, according to a federal official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Related Coverage Obama calls Orlando nightclub shooting an attack on all Americans Gunman in Florida shooting referenced Boston Marathon bombers: official Pope Francis expresses horror and condemnation over Orlando shooting Suspected Orlando shooter called 911, swore allegiance to Islamic State: NBC Suspected Orlando shooter was known to FBI: FOX News Senate Democrat seeks military-style weapons ban after shooting Trump quickly ties Florida shootings to Islamists Senator Rubio cites homegrown radicals as major U.S. threat SlideshowFriends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman, in Orlando VideoAt least 50 dead in Orlando 'act of terrorism' VideoWitness: gunshots, screams and blood at Florida nightclub shooting VideoMuslim leader: "Heartbroken" over Florida shooting rampage VideoFriend of Florida victims says gay community will heal If confirmed as an act of terrorism, it would be the deadliest such attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001, when al Qaeda-trained hijackers crashed jetliners into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, killing some 3,000 people. Mateen also referenced the ethnic Chechen brothers who killed three people in a bombing attack at the Boston Marathon in 2013, according to law enforcement officials. The Orlando attacker was carrying an AR-15 style assault rifle and a handgun, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said. He also had an unidentified "device", said Orlando Police Chief John Mina. The choice of target was especially heart-wrenching for members of the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, said LGBT advocacy group Equality Florida. "Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety," the group said in a statement. "We will await the details in tears of sadness and anger." Orlando has a population of more than 270,000 and is the home of the Disney World amusement park and many other tourist attractions that drew 62 million visitors in 2014. Also on Sunday, a man was arrested in California with assault weapons and possible explosives and told authorities he was in the Los Angeles area for the gay pride festival, the Los Angeles Times reported. (Additional reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Zachary Fagenson in Port Saint Luice, Fla., Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Mark Hosenball in Washington and Chris Michaud in New York; Writing by Scott Malone and Daniel Wallis; Editing by Mary Milliken and Alistair Bell) =================================== Orlando nightclub shooter ID'd as US citizen Omar Mateen from Florida - report Published time: 12 Jun, 2016 13:20 Edited time: 12 Jun, 2016 13:54 Get short URL Police lock down Orange Avenue around Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. © Kevin Kolczynski Police lock down Orange Avenue around Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. © Kevin Kolczynski / Reuters The suspect behind the gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, which left dozens dead and injured, has been identified as Omar Mateen, the CBS network reported, citing sources. The channel added that the FBI is currently checking if he was linked to extremists. READ MORE: Mass shooting at Orlando gay nightclub LIVE UPDATES A correspondent from the WFTV channel said Mateen was 27 years old and was from Port St. Lucie in Florida, nearly 150km from Orlando. According to reports on social media, he was born to Afghan parents. The suspect was killed by a SWAT team, police earlier confirmed in a press conference. He was armed with an assault rifle and a handgun, officials said. An FBI official who was also present at the conference said: “At this time we're looking at all angles right now.” He was asked if the shooter might have possible connections with extremists. “We do have suggestions that that individual may have leanings towards that particular ideology [extremism]. But right now we can’t say definitively so we’re still running everything around,” he added. Orlando Chief of Police John Mina said that “approximately” 20 people were killed and at least 42 people have been taken to a local hospital. He added that the shooter was wearing some “type of device.” Earlier reports suggested the gunman was wearing a bomb. =================== Sun Jun 12, 2016 | 8:57 AM EDT Gunman kills 20, injures 42 in shooting rampage at Florida gay club 2h ago | 00:42 Orlando nightdclub shooter 'dead' Gunman kills 20, injures 42 in shooting rampage at...X By Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - A gunman killed at least 20 people and injured 42 others in a crowded gay nightclub in Florida early on Sunday before police shot him dead in what U.S. authorities described as a "terrorism incident." A police officer working as a security guard inside the Pulse club exchanged fire with the suspect at about 2 a.m., police officials said. A hostage situation quickly developed, and three hours later a squad of officers entered the club and shot dead the gunman. It was unclear when the gunman shot the victims. "Do we consider this an act of terrorism? Absolutely, we are investigating this from all parties’ perspective as an act of terrorism," said Danny Banks, special agent in charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Danny Banks. "Whether that is domestic terrorist activity or an international one, that is something we will certainly get to the bottom of." When asked if the FBI suspected that the gunman may have an extremist leanings, including a possible sympathy with Islamic State, Ronald Hopper, an assistant FBI agent in charge, said: "We do have suggestions that the individual may have leanings toward that particular ideology. But right now we can’t say definitively." ADVERTISEMENT At least one officer was injured in the gunbattle but the decision to storm the club saved at least 30 lives, Orlando Police Chief John Mina told a press conference. The suspect was carrying an assault-type rifle and a handgun as well as an unidentified "device" on him, Mina said. Javer Antonetti, 53, told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper that he was near the back of the dance club when he heard gunfire. "There were so many (shots), at least 40," he said. "I saw two guys and it was constant, like 'pow, pow, pow,'." ‹ Police cars and fire trucks are seen outside the Pulse night club where police said a suspected gunman left multiple people dead and injured in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. Orlando Police Department/Handout via REUTERS Police cars and fire trucks are seen outside the Pulse night club where police said a suspected gunman left multiple people dead and injured in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 201... Reuters + Police lock down Orange Avenue around Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski Police lock down Orange Avenue around Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski Orlando Police Chief John Mina and other city officials answer the media's questions about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski Orlando Police Chief John Mina and other city officials answer the media's questions about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski Police lock down Orange Avenue around Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski Police lock down Orange Avenue around Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski Orlando police lock down the emergency room entrance of Orlando Regional Medical Center, just blocks from the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski Orlando police lock down the emergency room entrance of Orlando Regional Medical Center, just blocks from the Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shoot... Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski + Police lock down Orange Avenue around Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski Police lock down Orange Avenue around Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski Police cars and fire trucks are seen outside the Pulse night club where police said a suspected gunman left multiple people dead and injured in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. Orlando Police Department/Handout via REUTERS Police cars and fire trucks are seen outside the Pulse night club where police said a suspected gunman left multiple people dead and injured in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 201... Reuters + Police lock down Orange Avenue around Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski Police lock down Orange Avenue around Pulse nightclub, where people were killed by a gunman in a shooting rampage in Orlando, Florida June 12, 2016. Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski › Video footage showed police officers and civilians carrying injured people away from the club and bending over others who were lying on the ground. Dozens of police cruisers, ambulances and other emergency vehicles could be seen in the area. "It was one after another after another after another," Christopher Hansen told CNN, describing the gunfire inside the club. "It could have lasted a whole song." Police said they had carried out a "controlled explosion" at the club hours after the shooting broke out, but did not explain why that was done. Orlando Regional Medical Center was placed on lockdown, with only essential workers and relatives of victims allowed access, it said in a Twitter message. The hospital could not be reached immediately for comment. It was the second deadly shooting at an Orlando night spot in as many nights. Late Friday a man thought to be a deranged fan fatally shot Christina Grimmie, a rising singing star and a former contestant on "The Voice", while she was signing autographs after a concert in the Florida city. (Reporting by Chris Michaud in New York and Mary Milliken in Los Angeles; writing by Frank McGurty; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Clelia Oziel) ================================= Orlando Fire Department called for bomb squad, hazardous material team to scene of nightclub shooting after 3 am ET, Orlando Sentinel reports https://m.facebook.com/RealEstateSA5000/ Mass shooting in Orlando night club, reports of hostage situation, gunman possibly 'wearing a bomb' Published time: 12 Jun, 2016 07:02 Edited time: 12 Jun, 2016 08:06 Get short URL © Brett Moots © Brett Moots / Facebook A mass shooting has been reported in a the night club in Orlando, Florida, where an unidentified gunman barricaded himself and hostages inside the club and allegedly shot at least 20 people, reports on social media claim. The incident took place at Pulse night club. Twitter users said they heard multiple gunshots in the area. According to a reporter from the Orlando News, the shooter is wearing a bomb. Pulse night club wrote on Facebook: "everyone get out of Pulse and keep running." People took to Facebook to share information on the shooting. Under the Pulse club post they wrote that the attacker has an assault rifle and is barricaded inside with hostages. Others said that at least 30 people had been shot in the club.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Muhammad Ali, 'the greatest', remembered as boxer who transcended sports

Ali to be honored with Muslim funeral service By Reuters Published: June 9, 2016 8 SHARES Share Tweet Email Boxing legend Muhammad Ali. PHOTO: REUTERS Boxing legend Muhammad Ali. PHOTO: REUTERS LOUISVILLE, KY, US: The world begins two final days of mourning for Muhammad Ali on Thursday when the boxing great will be honored with a Muslim funeral a day before receiving a final goodbye with an interfaith service. Ali, one of the transcendent figures of the 20th Century for his boxing prowess, showmanship and opposition to the Vietnam War in the turbulent 1960s and ’70s, died last Friday of septic shock in an Arizona hospital. He was 74. Some 15,000 people are expected at the jenazah, the Arabic word for funeral, set for noon (1600 GMT) at Freedom Hall in Ali’s home town of Louisville, Kentucky, the venue where Ali defeated Willi Besmanoff on November 29, 1961. Imam Zaid Shakir, co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, will lead the service. Muhammad Ali’s daughter posts shot from final Facetime conversation with her father Ali and his family planned his funeral for 10 years, making sure it would honor his Muslim faith. Ali’s braggadocio startled white America even when he went by his birth name, Cassius Clay. He further shocked US society after he joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name in 1964. In the 1970s, Ali converted to Sunni Islam, the largest denomination among Muslims worldwide. Late in life he embraced Sufism, a mystical school of the faith. He was admired worldwide, and gave US Muslims a hero they could share with the American mainstream. “To be properly prepared for burial, prayed over and then buried is a right owed to every single Muslim,” Shakir said in a statement issued by the Ali family spokesperson. “If no one fulfills those rights, then the entire community has fallen into sin. In the case of someone of Muhammad Ali’s stature, to leave any of those rights unfulfilled would be a crime.” What made Muhammad Ali ‘unforgivably’ black On Friday, the final service at the KFC Yum! Center will take place with luminaries such as former US President Bill Clinton, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and comedian Billy Crystal. Actor Will Smith, who portrayed Ali in a 2001 biographical film, and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis will be among the pallbearers. On Wednesday, the city of Louisville held a celebration called the “I Am Ali” Festival. The day-long event highlighted Ali’s life through stories, music, dance and arts and crafts that had children coloring butterfly and bee masks in an homage to the boxer’s famous quote about his fighting style, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” ===================================== What made Muhammad Ali 'unforgivably' black By Reuters Published: June 9, 2016 2 SHARES Share Tweet Email Muhammad Ali, holding a book called 'Towards Understanding Islam' written by Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, speaks with Muslims in London, May 1966. PHOTO: REUTERS Muhammad Ali, holding a book called 'Towards Understanding Islam' written by Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, speaks with Muslims in London, May 1966. PHOTO: REUTERS Muhammad Ali’s Black Power activism may not fit neatly into the outpouring of grief, respect and reflection in the coming days and weeks after his death Friday at age 74. But it’s one of the most crucial and enduring parts of a legacy that shaped the world. By the late 1960s, Ali’s unforgiveable blackness helped him emerge as a transcendent and global figure of black liberation. He became more “black” than James Brown, the godfather of soul, who shouted to the world that he was “proud” to be black. He possessed more charisma than his friend Stokely Carmichael, who tutored the heavyweight champion on the nuances of his own groundbreaking anti-war activism. He proved more accessible than Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, who gave Ali his name as part of a successful effort to pry the young champion from the grips of his most important mentor, Malcolm X. Malcolm X in New York, October 19, 1960. PHOTO: REUTERS Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X were, like the title of the recent electrifying history of their friendship, Blood Brothers, whose shared reputations as trouble-makers hid profound intellectual energies and supple understanding of politics. Malcolm’s own star power helped shape Ali’s introduction to the world following his ascension to heavyweight champion in 1964. The two men conducted a public media tour of sorts, grabbing lunch in Harlem, touring the United Nations and verbally sparring with the large media contingent that trailed their every move. Boxer Muhammad Ali appears to take jab at Trump over Muslim comments Privately, Malcolm attempted to school the young Ali on the nuances of the Islamic faith, the contradictions of the Nation of Islam and the burdens of public fame and celebrity. Malcolm taught Ali how to speak truth to power by any means necessary. Martin Luther King Jr. (L) on August 28, 1963; Muhammad Ali. PHOTO: REUTERS This lesson proved fatal in Malcolm’s case, when former colleagues, including Ali himself, shunned him after he left the Nation of Islam. Ali would publicly regret not having stood by his mentor’s side in later years. Tutored by the Black Power Movement’s most revolutionary symbol, however, Ali would find himself unwittingly taking Malcolm’s place as America’s most well-known black Muslim. Ali’s religious beliefs and Nation of Islam membership sparked a national controversy. White promoters and business interests, who controlled much of the boxing establishment, threatened to cancel future fights. Many journalists defiantly referred to the heavy-weight champ by what he labeled “my slave name” of Cassius Clay. Ali insisted that reporters and boxers “say my name” — including former champ Floyd Patterson, whom he defeated in humiliating fashion for failing to do so. Muhammad Ali: ‘Greatest’ boxer, showman, ambassador In the process, Ali paved the way for a generation of black athletes — most notably Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — to unapologetically embrace their political and religious beliefs and adopt a proud new racial identity. Black Power radicalism framed Ali’s decision to refuse the draft. Carmichael, who was then chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and friend of Ali, popularized chants of “Hell no, we won’t go!” in explosive speeches around the nation. Martin Luther King Jr. soon followed Ali and Carmichael, lending gravitas to the burgeoning anti-war movement through his April 4, 1967 Riverside Church speech in New York City. Ali’s refusal to be inducted into the military shortly after turned resistance against the Vietnam War into a movement that transcended boundaries between sports and politics. In the aftermath of defeating Sonny Liston in 1964, when Ali became heavyweight champion of the world, he famously remarked, “I shook up the world!” Ali’s words anticipated the global response to his anti-war stance, actions that were shaped by his growing participation in the Black Power Movement. Stripped of his livelihood as a boxer and denied legal protection of being a conscientious objector, Ali went on the offensive. He defiantly confronted the U.S. foreign policy establishment. He outraged U.S. public officials by declaring that the Vietnamese people never “called me a nigger.” Ali echoed Black Power activists’ critique of American hegemony. He challenged the usefulness of the Cold War as an organizing international principle, and stood in solidarity with the “Third World” against foreign intervention. Muhammad Ali poses with gloves in this undated portrait. PHOTO: REUTERS Ali became the most visible symbol of Black Power’s radical critique of American imperialism, structural racism and white supremacy. Like the early Malcolm X, he used the Nation of Islam’s belief in racial separatism as a shield against the political violence associated with efforts at racial integration. He wielded black history as a sword against white claims of racial inferiority. Ali embraced the rough edges and the plainer surfaces of black identity in a manner that was unapologetically, at times unforgivably, black. Captivating the student body at Howard University, Ali ridiculed the oppressive breadth of white supremacy in popular culture, noting how “even the King of the Jungle, Tarzan in black Africa is white!” He then quipped that in heaven, black people were in the kitchen fixing the “milk and honey” for their white counterparts to eat. ‘Indian Republic Day black day’: The longstanding symbols of endurance call for liberation Black Power shaped Ali’s global political imagination, offering him a framework to link his religious beliefs, athletic gifts, and outspoken personality. His odyssey helped fuel campus protests, emboldened medal-winning black athletes to raise defiant black-gloved fists at the Mexico City Olympics of 1968, brought anti-war sentiment into American living rooms and contoured wider debates over race and democracy that endure to this day. Ali never rejected his political radicalism; he merely refined it. He incorporated many themes of his youthful activism into his career as a human-rights activist, philanthropist and global ambassador. In old age, Ali became a universal icon — one whose legend at times stubbornly resisted the facts of his complicated legacy. ======================================== Sat Jun 4, 2016 | 11:13 PM EDT 5h ago | 01:03 Harlem fans pay tribute to Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali, 'the greatest', remembered as boxer...X By Ricardo Arduengo SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Reuters) - The death of Muhammad Ali, the former heavyweight champion known as much for his political activism as his boxing brilliance, triggered a worldwide outpouring of affection and admiration for one of the best-known figures of the 20th century. Ali, who had long suffered from Parkinson's syndrome which impaired his speech and made the once-graceful athlete almost a prisoner in his own body, died on Friday at age 74. The cause of death was septic shock due to unspecified natural causes, a family spokesman said on Saturday. Ali was admitted to a Phoenix-area hospital, HonorHealth, with a respiratory ailment on Monday. "He’ll be remembered as a man of the world who spoke his mind and wasn’t afraid to take a chance and went out of his way to be a kind, benevolent individual that really changed the world," the family spokesman, Bob Gunnell, said at a news conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Despite Ali's failing health, his youthful proclamation that he was "the greatest" rang true until the end for millions of people around the world who respected him for his courage both inside and outside the ring. Along with a fearsome reputation as a fighter, Ali spoke out against racism, war and religious intolerance, while projecting an unshakeable confidence that became a model for African-Americans at the height of the civil rights era and beyond. Stripped of his world boxing crown for refusing to join the U.S. Army and fight in Vietnam, Ali returned in triumph by recapturing the title and starring in some of the sport's most unforgettable bouts. "I think when you talk about Muhammad Ali, as great an athlete, as great a boxer as he was, he was the greatest boxer of all time, he means so much more to the United States and the world," said Ali's long-time friend, boxing promoter Bob Arum. "He was a transformative figure in our society." Bursting onto the boxing scene in the 1960s with a brashness that threatened many whites, Ali would come to be embraced by Americans of all races for his grace, integrity and disarming sense of humor. "In the end, he went from being reviled to being revered," civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson told CNN on Saturday. Pam Dorrough, a tourist in New York's Times Square, admired Ali's refusal to apologize for what he believed. "The confidence - and I know everybody thought it was an arrogance about him - he always projected a confidence," she said. "And he stood by that." President Barack Obama, the first African-American to reach the White House, said Ali was "a man who fought for us" and placed him in the pantheon of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela. "His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail," Obama said in a statement. "But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today." Ali's daughter Maryum said on Saturday: "I am happy my father no longer struggles. He is in a better place. God is the greatest." Few could argue with his athletic prowess at his peak in the 1960s. With his dancing feet and quick fists, he could - as he put it - "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee." But Ali became much more than a sportsman. He spoke boldly against racism in the '60s as well as against the Vietnam War. Ali met scores of world leaders, during and after his championship reign, and for a time he was considered the most recognizable person on earth, known even in remote villages in countries far from the United States. TRIBUTES POUR IN Ali's diagnosis of Parkinson's came about three years after he retired from boxing in 1981. Despite his failing health, he appeared at the opening ceremony of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, stilling the tremors in his hands enough to light the Olympic flame. ‹ Muhammad Ali, along with his wife Lonnie, react to a story told by actor Kevin Costner at the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night awards banquet in Phoenix, April 2008. REUTERS/Jeff Topping Muhammad Ali, along with his wife Lonnie, react to a story told by actor Kevin Costner at the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night awards banquet in Phoenix, ... Reuters/Jeff Topping + A man has his photograph taken near a makeshift memorial to the late Muhammad Ali in New York, U.S., June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson A man has his photograph taken near a makeshift memorial to the late Muhammad Ali in New York, U.S., June 4, 2016. Reuters/Lucas Jackson Muhammad Ali poses with his boxing gloves. Action Images/Sporting Pictures Muhammad Ali poses with his boxing gloves. Action Images/Sporting Pictures Muhammad Ali cuddling his daughters Laila, (L)and Hana at a hotel in London, December 1978. Action Images/MSI Muhammad Ali cuddling his daughters Laila, (L)and Hana at a hotel in London, December 1978. Action Images/MSI Signs and flowers left by fans of the late Muhammad Ali, the former world heavyweight boxing champion, at the Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June 4, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II Signs and flowers left by fans of the late Muhammad Ali, the former world heavyweight boxing champion, at the Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June ... Reuters/John Sommers II + Chelise Stepson lays flowers as she pays her respects to the late Muhammad Ali, the former world heavyweight boxing champion, at the Ali Center court yard in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June 4, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II Chelise Stepson lays flowers as she pays her respects to the late Muhammad Ali, the former world heavyweight boxing champion, at the Ali Center court yard i... Reuters/John Sommers II + Alvin Mason pays his respects to the late Muhammad Ali, the former world heavyweight boxing champion, at the Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June 4, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II Alvin Mason pays his respects to the late Muhammad Ali, the former world heavyweight boxing champion, at the Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June 4... Reuters/John Sommers II + Muhammad Ali with his trainer Angelo Dundee ahead of his fight with Ernie Terrell at the Astrodome, Houston, February 1967. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali with his trainer Angelo Dundee ahead of his fight with Ernie Terrell at the Astrodome, Houston, February 1967. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali, World Heavyweight Champion and challenger, Henry Cooper fight at Highbury Stadium, London, for the World Heavyweight Boxing title, May 1966. The fight was stopped in the sixth round due to cut above Cooper's left eye.Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali, World Heavyweight Champion and challenger, Henry Cooper fight at Highbury Stadium, London, for the World Heavyweight Boxing title, May 1966. ... + Muhammad Ali training at his Pennsylvanian mountain retreat for his fight against George Foreman in Zaire, August 1974.Action Images/MSI Muhammad Ali training at his Pennsylvanian mountain retreat for his fight against George Foreman in Zaire, August 1974.Action Images/MSI Muhammad Ali's second match with Leon Spinks, at the Louisiana Superdome, September 1978, went badly for Spinks. A now in shape Ali rarely lost control, winning back his title by a unanimous fifteen-round decision. Ali regained the title, becoming the first three-time heavyweight champion. Action Images/MSI Muhammad Ali's second match with Leon Spinks, at the Louisiana Superdome, September 1978, went badly for Spinks. A now in shape Ali rarely lost control, win... + Joe Frazier lands a left hook on Muhammad Ali during the first of their three epic battles at Madison Square Garden in New York, March 1971.Action Images / MSI/File Photo Joe Frazier lands a left hook on Muhammad Ali during the first of their three epic battles at Madison Square Garden in New York, March 1971.Action Images / ... + Muhammad Ali predicts that he will in the fifth round before his fight with Henry Cooper at Wembley Stadium in London, June 1963. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali predicts that he will in the fifth round before his fight with Henry Cooper at Wembley Stadium in London, June 1963. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali reads the newspapers in London the day after his World Title Fight win against Henry Cooper, June 1963. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali reads the newspapers in London the day after his World Title Fight win against Henry Cooper, June 1963. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali and his entourage try to wind up Ken Norton ahead of their third fight in New York, September 1976. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali and his entourage try to wind up Ken Norton ahead of their third fight in New York, September 1976. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali trains for his second fight with Leon Spinks in New Orleans, August 1978, Ali managed to win back the Heavyweight title for a third and final time. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali trains for his second fight with Leon Spinks in New Orleans, August 1978, Ali managed to win back the Heavyweight title for a third and final t... + Muhammad Ali fights Ken Norton at Yankee Stadium in the third fight between the two heavyweights in New York City, September 1976.Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali fights Ken Norton at Yankee Stadium in the third fight between the two heavyweights in New York City, September 1976.Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali drops an overhand right on Leon Spinks during their second match at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, September 1978. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali drops an overhand right on Leon Spinks during their second match at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, September 1978. Action Images / ... + Muhammad Ali poses during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland January 2006. REUTERS/Andreas Meier Muhammad Ali poses during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland January 2006. Reuters/Andreas Meier A smiling Muhammad Ali shows his fist to reporters during an impromptu press conference in Mexico City, July 1987. REUTERS/Jorge Nunez A smiling Muhammad Ali shows his fist to reporters during an impromptu press conference in Mexico City, July 1987. Reuters/Jorge Nunez Muhammad Ali waves to the crowd during the opening ceremony of the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, September 2010. REUTERS/John Sommers II Muhammad Ali waves to the crowd during the opening ceremony of the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, September 2010. Reuters/John Sommers II Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie arrive at a hotel in Berlin, December 2005. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie arrive at a hotel in Berlin, December 2005. Reuters/Tobias Schwarz Muhammad Ali accepts the President's Award accompanied by his wife Yolanda Williams at the 40th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine auditorium in Los Angeles February 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni Muhammad Ali accepts the President's Award accompanied by his wife Yolanda Williams at the 40th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine auditorium in Los An... Reuters/Mario Anzuoni + Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie attend a Ryder Cup reception at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, September 2008. REUTERS/ Eddie Keogh Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie attend a Ryder Cup reception at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, September 2008. Reuters/ Eddie Keogh Muhammad Ali is assisted as he enters the funeral for boxer Joe Frazier at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist church in Philadelphia, November 2011 REUTERS/Tim Shaffer Muhammad Ali is assisted as he enters the funeral for boxer Joe Frazier at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist church in Philadelphia, November 2011 Reuters/Tim Shaffer Muhammad Ali is given the Courage Award by singer Whitney Houston at the GQ Men of the Year awards show, October 1998. REUTERS/Jeff Christensen Muhammad Ali is given the Courage Award by singer Whitney Houston at the GQ Men of the Year awards show, October 1998. Reuters/Jeff Christensen Muhammad Ali takes part in pre-game ceremonies before the Florida Gators play against the Louisville Cardinals in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl NCAA football game in New Orleans, January 2013. REUTERS/Bill Haber/Pool Muhammad Ali takes part in pre-game ceremonies before the Florida Gators play against the Louisville Cardinals in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl NCAA football... Reuters/Bill Haber/Pool + Muhammad Ali stands with his wife Yolanda as he is introduced before the welterweight fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, May 2010. REUTERS/Steve Marcus Muhammad Ali stands with his wife Yolanda as he is introduced before the welterweight fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand ... Reuters/Steve Marcus + Muhammad Ali sits in a wheelchair as he is taken to a photo session with attendees of the 50th Convention of the World Boxing Council in Cancun, December 2012. REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Garcia Muhammad Ali sits in a wheelchair as he is taken to a photo session with attendees of the 50th Convention of the World Boxing Council in Cancun, December 20... Reuters/Victor Ruiz Garcia + Muhammad Ali watches during the first quarter of the NBA All-Star basketball game in Phoenix, February 2009. REUTERS/Rick Scuteri Muhammad Ali watches during the first quarter of the NBA All-Star basketball game in Phoenix, February 2009. Reuters/Rick Scuteri Muhammad Ali is seen with the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic stadium, July 2012. REUTERS/Max Rossi Muhammad Ali is seen with the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic stadium, July 2012. Reuters/Max Rossi Muhammad Ali sits with his wife, Yolanda, as they await the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young Muhammad Ali sits with his wife, Yolanda, as they await the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington,... Reuters/Jim Young + Muhammad Ali, along with his wife Lonnie, react to a story told by actor Kevin Costner at the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night awards banquet in Phoenix, April 2008. REUTERS/Jeff Topping Muhammad Ali, along with his wife Lonnie, react to a story told by actor Kevin Costner at the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night awards banquet in Phoenix, ... Reuters/Jeff Topping + A man has his photograph taken near a makeshift memorial to the late Muhammad Ali in New York, U.S., June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson A man has his photograph taken near a makeshift memorial to the late Muhammad Ali in New York, U.S., June 4, 2016. Reuters/Lucas Jackson › From Africa to East Asia to the U.S. South, news of Ali's death brought tributes across the world of sport, entertainment and politics. In Kinshasa, the city where he battled George Foreman in the 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle" - a city that was then part of Zaire and is now the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo - the fight is remembered as much for its political symbolism as for Ali's tactical brilliance in beating his hulking opponent. Ali "was an African. He was a Congolese," David Madiawi, a salesman on Kinshasa's Avenue de Commerce, said on Saturday. "He came to Congo to return to the land of his ancestors." Foreman said Ali was one of the greatest human beings he had met. "No doubt he was one of the best people to have lived in this day and age. To put him as a boxer is an injustice," he said. Manny Pacquiao, a boxer and politician in the Philippines, where Ali fought Frazier for a third time in a brutal 1975 match dubbed the "Thrilla in Manila," paid homage to Ali's legacy outside the ring. "We lost a giant today. Boxing benefited from Muhammad Ali's talents but not nearly as much as mankind benefited from his humanity," he said. Flags were flown at half staff in Louisville, Kentucky, where Ali's modest childhood home on Grand Avenue has been turned into a museum. A funeral will be held in his hometown on Friday.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Muhammad Ali, boxing great and cultural symbol, dead at age 74

Sat Jun 4, 2016 | 2:56 AM EDT Muhammad Ali, boxing great and cultural symbol, dead at age 74 ‹ Muhammad Ali, along with his wife Lonnie, react to a story told by actor Kevin Costner at the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night awards banquet in Phoenix, April 2008. REUTERS/Jeff Topping Muhammad Ali, along with his wife Lonnie, react to a story told by actor Kevin Costner at the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night awards banquet in Phoeni... Reuters/Jeff Topping + Muhammad Ali poses with his boxing gloves. Action Images/Sporting Pictures Muhammad Ali poses with his boxing gloves. Action Images/Sporting Pictures Muhammad Ali cuddling his daughters Laila, (L)and Hana at a hotel in London, December 1978. Action Images/MSI Muhammad Ali cuddling his daughters Laila, (L)and Hana at a hotel in London, December 1978. Action Images/MSI Muhammad Ali with his trainer Angelo Dundee ahead of his fight with Ernie Terrell at the Astrodome, Houston, February 1967. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali with his trainer Angelo Dundee ahead of his fight with Ernie Terrell at the Astrodome, Houston, February 1967. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali, World Heavyweight Champion and challenger, Henry Cooper fight at Highbury Stadium, London, for the World Heavyweight Boxing title, May 1966. The fight was stopped in the sixth round due to cut above Cooper's left eye.Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali, World Heavyweight Champion and challenger, Henry Cooper fight at Highbury Stadium, London, for the World Heavyweight Boxing title, May 196... + Muhammad Ali training at his Pennsylvanian mountain retreat for his fight against George Foreman in Zaire, August 1974.Action Images/MSI Muhammad Ali training at his Pennsylvanian mountain retreat for his fight against George Foreman in Zaire, August 1974.Action Images/MSI Muhammad Ali's second match with Leon Spinks, at the Louisiana Superdome, September 1978, went badly for Spinks. A now in shape Ali rarely lost control, winning back his title by a unanimous fifteen-round decision. Ali regained the title, becoming the first three-time heavyweight champion. Action Images/MSI Muhammad Ali's second match with Leon Spinks, at the Louisiana Superdome, September 1978, went badly for Spinks. A now in shape Ali rarely lost control, ... + Joe Frazier lands a left hook on Muhammad Ali during the first of their three epic battles at Madison Square Garden in New York, March 1971.Action Images / MSI/File Photo Joe Frazier lands a left hook on Muhammad Ali during the first of their three epic battles at Madison Square Garden in New York, March 1971.Action Images... + Muhammad Ali predicts that he will in the fifth round before his fight with Henry Cooper at Wembley Stadium in London, June 1963. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali predicts that he will in the fifth round before his fight with Henry Cooper at Wembley Stadium in London, June 1963. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali reads the newspapers in London the day after his World Title Fight win against Henry Cooper, June 1963. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali reads the newspapers in London the day after his World Title Fight win against Henry Cooper, June 1963. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali and his entourage try to wind up Ken Norton ahead of their third fight in New York, September 1976. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali and his entourage try to wind up Ken Norton ahead of their third fight in New York, September 1976. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali trains for his second fight with Leon Spinks in New Orleans, August 1978, Ali managed to win back the Heavyweight title for a third and final time. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali trains for his second fight with Leon Spinks in New Orleans, August 1978, Ali managed to win back the Heavyweight title for a third and fina... + Muhammad Ali fights Ken Norton at Yankee Stadium in the third fight between the two heavyweights in New York City, September 1976.Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali fights Ken Norton at Yankee Stadium in the third fight between the two heavyweights in New York City, September 1976.Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali drops an overhand right on Leon Spinks during their second match at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, September 1978. Action Images / MSI Muhammad Ali drops an overhand right on Leon Spinks during their second match at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, September 1978. Action Images... + Muhammad Ali poses during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland January 2006. REUTERS/Andreas Meier Muhammad Ali poses during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland January 2006. Reuters/Andreas Meier A smiling Muhammad Ali shows his fist to reporters during an impromptu press conference in Mexico City, July 1987. REUTERS/Jorge Nunez A smiling Muhammad Ali shows his fist to reporters during an impromptu press conference in Mexico City, July 1987. Reuters/Jorge Nunez Muhammad Ali waves to the crowd during the opening ceremony of the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, September 2010. REUTERS/John Sommers II Muhammad Ali waves to the crowd during the opening ceremony of the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, September 2010. Reuters/John Sommers II Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie arrive at a hotel in Berlin, December 2005. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie arrive at a hotel in Berlin, December 2005. Reuters/Tobias Schwarz Muhammad Ali accepts the President's Award accompanied by his wife Yolanda Williams at the 40th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine auditorium in Los Angeles February 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni Muhammad Ali accepts the President's Award accompanied by his wife Yolanda Williams at the 40th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine auditorium in Los... Reuters/Mario Anzuoni + Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie attend a Ryder Cup reception at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, September 2008. REUTERS/ Eddie Keogh Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie attend a Ryder Cup reception at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, September 2008. Reuters/ Eddie Keogh Muhammad Ali is assisted as he enters the funeral for boxer Joe Frazier at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist church in Philadelphia, November 2011 REUTERS/Tim Shaffer Muhammad Ali is assisted as he enters the funeral for boxer Joe Frazier at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist church in Philadelphia, November 2011 Reuters/Tim Shaffer Muhammad Ali is given the Courage Award by singer Whitney Houston at the GQ Men of the Year awards show, October 1998. REUTERS/Jeff Christensen Muhammad Ali is given the Courage Award by singer Whitney Houston at the GQ Men of the Year awards show, October 1998. Reuters/Jeff Christensen Muhammad Ali takes part in pre-game ceremonies before the Florida Gators play against the Louisville Cardinals in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl NCAA football game in New Orleans, January 2013. REUTERS/Bill Haber/Pool Muhammad Ali takes part in pre-game ceremonies before the Florida Gators play against the Louisville Cardinals in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl NCAA footb... Reuters/Bill Haber/Pool + Muhammad Ali stands with his wife Yolanda as he is introduced before the welterweight fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, May 2010. REUTERS/Steve Marcus Muhammad Ali stands with his wife Yolanda as he is introduced before the welterweight fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley at the MGM Gra... Reuters/Steve Marcus + Muhammad Ali sits in a wheelchair as he is taken to a photo session with attendees of the 50th Convention of the World Boxing Council in Cancun, December 2012. REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Garcia Muhammad Ali sits in a wheelchair as he is taken to a photo session with attendees of the 50th Convention of the World Boxing Council in Cancun, December... Reuters/Victor Ruiz Garcia + Muhammad Ali watches during the first quarter of the NBA All-Star basketball game in Phoenix, February 2009. REUTERS/Rick Scuteri Muhammad Ali watches during the first quarter of the NBA All-Star basketball game in Phoenix, February 2009. Reuters/Rick Scuteri Muhammad Ali is seen with the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic stadium, July 2012. REUTERS/Max Rossi Muhammad Ali is seen with the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic stadium, July 2012. Reuters/Max Rossi Muhammad Ali sits with his wife, Yolanda, as they await the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young Muhammad Ali sits with his wife, Yolanda, as they await the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washingt... Reuters/Jim Young + Muhammad Ali, along with his wife Lonnie, react to a story told by actor Kevin Costner at the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night awards banquet in Phoenix, April 2008. REUTERS/Jeff Topping Muhammad Ali, along with his wife Lonnie, react to a story told by actor Kevin Costner at the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night awards banquet in Phoeni... Reuters/Jeff Topping + Muhammad Ali poses with his boxing gloves. Action Images/Sporting Pictures Muhammad Ali poses with his boxing gloves. Action Images/Sporting Pictures › Muhammad Ali, boxing great and cultural symbol,...X By Bill Trott (Reuters) - Former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, whose record-setting boxing career, unprecedented flair for showmanship, and controversial stands made him one of the best-known figures of the 20th century, died on Friday aged 74. Ali's death was confirmed in a statement issued by family spokesman Bob Gunnell late Friday evening, a day after he was admitted to a Phoenix-area hospital with a respiratory ailment. The cause of death or the name of the hospital where he died were not immediately disclosed. Ali had long suffered from Parkinson's syndrome, which impaired his speech and made the once-graceful athlete almost a prisoner in his own body. Even so, Ali's youthful proclamation of himself as "the greatest" rang true until the end for the millions of people worldwide who admired him for his courage both inside and outside the ring. "A part of me slipped away, the greatest piece," George Foreman, a former heavyweight boxer and one of Ali's most formidable opponents in the ring, said on Twitter after the news of Ali's death. Roy Jones Jr., a former champion boxer who grew up during Ali's prime, also said in a Tweet: "My heart is deeply saddened yet both appreciative and relieved that the greatest is now resting in the greatest place." Few could argue with his athletic prowess at his peak in the 1960s. With his dancing feet and quick fists, he could - as he put it - float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He was the first person to win the heavyweight championship three times. ADVERTISEMENT But Ali became much more than a colorful and interesting athlete. He spoke boldly against racism in the '60s, as well as the Vietnam War. During and after his championship reign, Ali met scores of world leaders and for a time he was considered the most recognizable person on earth, known even in remote villages far from the United States. Ali's diagnosis of Parkinson's came about three years after he retired from boxing in 1981. His influence extended far beyond boxing. He became the unofficial spokesman for millions of blacks and oppressed people around the world because of his refusal to compromise his opinions and stand up to white authorities. In a realm where athletes often battle inarticulateness as well as their opponents, Ali was known as the Louisville Lip and loved to talk, especially about himself. "Humble people, I've found, don't get very far," he once told a reporter. His taunts could be brutal. "Joe Frazier is so ugly that when he cries, the tears turn around and go down the back of his head," he once said. He also dubbed Frazier a 'gorilla' but later apologized and said it was all to promote the fight. Related Coverage Muhammad Ali: 'Greatest' boxer, showman, ambassador Key fights in the boxing career of Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali, in his own words Eight facts about former boxing champ Muhammad Ali Once asked about his preferred legacy, Ali said: "I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times, who was humorous and who treated everyone right. As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him ... who stood up for his beliefs ... who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love. "And if all that's too much, then I guess I'd settle for being remembered only as a great boxer who became a leader and a champion of his people. And I wouldn't even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was." Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on Jan. 17, 1942, as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., a name shared with a 19th century slavery abolitionist. He changed his name after his conversion to Islam. Ali is survived by his wife, the former Lonnie Williams, who knew him when she was a child in Louisville, along with his nine children. (Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Frances Kerry, Diane Craft and Paul Tait)