Anti-terror rally in Xinjiang
Security forces have staged another mass anti-terror rally in Xinjiang, parading hundreds of armed men through the streets of Urumqi in a show of force after an uptick in violence. The Xinjiang government’s news Web site on Saturday showed pictures of hundreds of gun-toting police and soldiers standing in front of a government building shouting out pledges to defeat terror and lines of armored vehicles in the streets. Xinjiang Deputy Party Secretary Zhu Hailun (朱海倫) said the Urumqi rally, following on from ones in Kashgar and Hotan, were a sign of “real action” to deepen the fight against terror. The Xinjiang Daily yesterday quoted Zhu as saying at the rally that no effort would be spared in this regard. “With guns by our bodies, knives unsheathed, fists out and hands extended, we must use thunderous power to strike hard against terrorist activities,” the paper quoted him as saying.
Temple ordered cleared
Police yesterday ordered thousands of worshipers to leave the kingdom’s biggest Buddhist temple so officers can intensify a search for its former abbot, who is wanted on money-laundering charges. Police said that all non-residents must vacate Wat Dhammakaya to expedite the search of the 400 hectare facility because temple activities were hindering the hunt for Phra Dhammachayo. Monks who live within the temple grounds were also ordered to congregate at an exit point and not interfere with the investigation. About 13,000 people were inside the temple as of yesterday morning, a spokesman for the temple said. He said the temple would have to comply with the request to evacuate.
Army ready to help
The army will create a “battalion size” task force to help the government’s anti-narcotics agency run after high-value targets in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief General Eduardo Ano told reporters late on Saturday in Baguio City. Up to 5,000 soldiers could be mobilized under the task force, or only 500, depending on the threat, Ano said. “We will not be involved in the street, we’ll not be involved in running after street pushers,” he said. “The armed forces will help … in running after high-level drug syndicates.”
Rohingya return for family
Hundreds of Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution have returned home, community leaders said yesterday, adding that most had gone back temporarily to fetch relatives. Dudu Mia, a refugee camp leader in the coastal town of Teknaf, said nearly 1,000 Rohingya — mostly young men — had returned to their villages to collect elderly family members left behind. “Most of those men are hoping to bring their relatives back to Bangladesh. It’s been four months and they have barely even talked to their parents back home,” Mia said.
Barrow makes promises
President Adama Barrow on Saturday promised greater freedom, an improved economy and better education as thousands attended a ceremony near the capital marking his inauguration. “This is a victory for democracy. It is a victory for all Gambians,” Barrow said to a packed stadium that included dignitaries and several African heads of state. The ceremony was held to let Gambians witness a swearing-in that echoed the official one last month at the nation’s embassy in Senegal.
Russia suspected of hacking
Suspected Russian cyberattacks on the nation’s presidential campaign are “unacceptable,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault said yesterday, adding it was clear that pro-Europe candidate Emmanuel Macron was being targeted. A spokesman for Macron has accused Moscow of being behind a flurry of cyberattacks on his campaign Web site and e-mail servers over the past month. “It’s enough to see which candidates, Marine Le Pen or Francois Fillon, Russia expresses preference for in the French electoral campaign,” Ayrault said in an interview with Journal du Dimanche. “Whereas Emmanuel Macron, who is pro-Europe, is being targeted by cyberattacks,” he added.
One killed in train crash
One person died and 27 were injured — three of them seriously — when a train derailed on Saturday shortly after leaving a station east of Brussels, officials said. The train carrying 85 passengers derailed four minutes after leaving Louvain bound for the North Sea coast, the SNCB railway authority said. The cause of the derailment — which occurred shortly after 1pm — was not immediately known. “There was only one train involved. Luckily there was no train coming the other way,” Minister of Transport Francois Bellot said as he visited the scene of the accident.
White Helmets to visit US
Rescue workers from the nation’s White Helmets — the subjects of an Oscar-nominated documentary — on Saturday said they have received US visas to attend the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday. For weeks, the rescuers and the film’s staff had been nervously watching the fallout from US President Donald Trump’s now-suspended travel ban for seven countries. “We got our visas yesterday [Friday], but we’re not yet sure if we’ll be able to travel or not,” Raed Saleh, leader of the rescue group, said by telephone on Saturday. The documentary titled The White Helmets, directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, was named a contender late last month in the Oscars short documentary category.
Father, son killed in crash
Authorities say a father and son have been killed in a head-on collision with each other in Fayette County, Alabama. State troopers say alcohol is a factor in the crash that killed 50-year-old Jeffrey Morris Brasher and 22-year-old Austin Blaine Brasher. The crash occurred at about 4:10am on Saturday on Fayette County 49 when the 2006 Ford pick-up the elder Brasher was driving collided with his son’s 2004 Chevrolet pick-up. Al.com said that neither man was wearing a seatbelt.
President’s motorcade struck
Authorities say a vehicle in President Donald Trump’s motorcade was struck by a “2x4” piece of lumber and five middle-school students are now facing charges. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Teri Barbera on Saturday said that the incident happened on Friday at about 1:45pm. Officers reported that a vehicle in the motorcade had been struck by what was believed to be a small, hard object. A child from a middle-school confessed to throwing the wood at the motorcade and also implicated four additional students. Charges will be filed with the Palm Beach County States Attorney’s Office.
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.” In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.” “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.” Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a