Leila De Lima Says No Regrets, On Life In Jail


Manila:  Philippine police have arrested more than 80,000 people during President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs, but few as prominent or defiant as Leila de Lima.

A Philippine senator and Duterte’s long-time foe, Leila de Lima was arrested in February on drugs charges she says were trumped up as part of a presidential vendetta.

Held at police detention facility in Manila that she shares with murder suspects and mangy cats, the 57-year-old lawyer remains implacably critical of the anti-narcotics campaign and Duterte, who will complete his first year in office this week.

“The promise of eradicating drugs has defined his presidency,” she said. “It’s actually a sham because they are targeting the wrong people.”

Duterte’s drug war, she says, targets only small-time dealers and leaves drug lords untouched.

Called a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International, de Lima believes the real reason she has been locked up is to stop her asking questions about the thousands of killings that critics say have stained Duterte’s presidency.

Police say they have shot dead 3,135 suspects in anti-drug operations. They have also identified drugs as the motive in another 2,000 killings, and are investigating a further 7,000 murders and homicides.

De Lima and other critics believe many victims were killed by undercover police or their paid vigilantes – a charge the police deny.

Last year de Lima chaired a Senate inquiry into the drug war, grilling senior police and a self-confessed hitman in televised hearings that transfixed the nation.

The inquiry looked into allegations that police were summarily executing drug suspects in a pattern similar to killings in Davao City where Duterte had been mayor for 22 years.

De Lima’s toxic rivalry with Duterte began in 2009 when, as chair of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR), she started investigating a spate of vigilante-style killings in Davao City.

“It’s personal because of my history as CHR chair,” she said. “I investigated him on his own turf in Davao.”

A CHR report three years later confirmed the “systematic practice of extrajudicial killings” by a group known as the Davao Death Squad. Duterte denied any involvement in the murders.

AQUINO’S GIFT

Dressed in her own clothes rather than prison uniform, de Lima appeared relaxed and healthy as she spoke to Reuters in the visiting room of the detention facility, sealed off by high walls and rusting barbed wire inside the national police headquarters.

But she described her incarceration as a kind of purgatory.

Pro-Duterte lawmakers threatened last year to screen a tape that purportedly showed de Lima having sex with her driver.

“They’re sexist pigs,” she said. “The whole point was to further embarrass me.”

The tape is fake, she said.

De Lima and her siblings have told their 83-year-old mother that she has gone to the United States to study, fearing the truth of her arrest would be too upsetting. De Lima said that someone always watches television with her mother so that they can change the channel if she appears on the news.

“Psychologically and emotionally this is very challenging,” said de Lima. “It’s worse than death.”

She said she feared that unknown enemies might poison her, and she only eats food brought in by family and friends.

De Lima is accused of accepting drug money from prisoners when she was justice secretary from 2010 and 2015. She is not entitled to bail and, if found guilty, faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

“I’m completely innocent,” she said.

De Lima is one of two women and 17 men at the facility. Two of de Lima’s fellow inmates are former senators detained on corruption charges after an investigation de Lima had carried out when she was justice secretary.

She said she is held separately from the ex-senators and the other detainees, most of whom are held on murder charges.

“My only companions are the stray cats,” she said. De Lima said she was given a rabies shot after one of them bit her.

With no television, cellphones or electronic devices allowed in her cell, de Lima said she was rediscovering books.

She was now reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William Shirer’s landmark study of Hitler’s Germany. It was a gift from an early visitor to her prison: Benigno Aquino, Duterte’s predecessor as president.

She said she saw many parallels between Hitler and Duterte, who both “loved being surrounded by misfits.”

Asked if she had any regrets about opposing Duterte, de Lima replied: “No, none at all. If I had a second life and the circumstances were the same as they are now, I would do it again.”

© Thomson Reuters 2017

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Britain's David Davis 'Pretty Sure' He'll Get Good Deal To Leave EU


David Davis launched the Brexit talks with European Union negotiator Michel Barnier. (Reuters)

London:  Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis said today he was “pretty sure” he could negotiate a good deal to leave the European Union, something that would require a transitional arrangement for around one or two years.

Davis, who launched the Brexit talks with EU negotiator Michel Barnier last week, also threw his support behind Prime Minister Theresa May, saying he took his share of the blame for advising her to hold an early election this month in which her Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority.

Telling members of the Conservative Party to stop being “self-indulgent” at a time when local media are rife with reports about who will replace May, he said: “I happen to think we’ve got a very good prime minister.”

Asked whether he was sure there would be a Brexit deal, Davis told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I am pretty sure, I am not 100 percent sure, it’s a negotiation … You can be sure there’ll be a deal, (but) the deal I want is the free trade agreement, the customs agreement and so on.

“I said it will be turbulent, there will be difficulties, but at the end of the operation there is a point of common interest in both sides, where we gain by being able to exploit global markets, where they gain by having a friendly and comfortable ally, not an irritating member of the club.”

May, struggling to restore her authority after the botched June 8 election, outlined her proposals on Friday to give EU citizens in Britain broadly the same rights after Brexit as they now enjoy – a plan that received a muted response.

But Davis said he expected the issue of EU citizens’ rights – seen as one of the easier parts of what will be a complicated Brexit negotiation – would be agreed “moderately quickly”.

He also said Britain wanted a transitional agreement to make sure businesses were not thrown into different trading circumstances on the day that the country leaves the EU.

“We think that there will be a transitional agreement, not that long .. I think one to two years is more likely,” he said.

“Let’s start talking about how it is going to work.”

© Thomson Reuters 2017



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Philippine, Vietnam Navies Play Sports On South China Sea Island


Philippine and Vietnamese navies have been playing together in mixed teams. (Reuters)

Manila:  Philippine and Vietnamese navies have been playing soccer, volleyball and tug-of-war games together on a South China Sea island, the latest get-together by two countries concerned by Chinese assertiveness in the disputed waters.

The two sides played in mixed teams on Thursday on Southwest Cay in the Spratly archipelago, the Philippine navy said, the third event of its kind since 2014 on an island held four decades ago by the Philippines, but now under Vietnamese control.

The games are among a series of exchanges between two countries, quietly demonstrating their unity in the face of Beijing’s expanding presence and signs of militarisation of manmade islands in the Spratly chain.

Ariesh Climacosa of the Philippine Naval Forces West said the games showed how the two sides could get along and would trust and understand each other better.

Relations strengthened under the previous Philippine administration, leading to the signing of a strategic partnership in 2015, at a time when both countries were locked in fierce disputes with China and enjoying warm ties with the United States.

But ties have since become more uncertain, due largely to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to charm rather than confront Beijing, while also turning more hostile towards Washington.

© Thomson Reuters 2017

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Turkey's P Erdogan Says Fine After Feeling Unwell In Prayers


Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was in good health after feeling unwell during morning prayers in Istanbul.

Istanbul:  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said he was in good health after briefly feeling unwell during morning prayers in Istanbul.

The Hurriyet daily said Erdogan received medical attention after “briefly feeling unwell” during morning prayers at the Mimar Sinan mosque in Istanbul.

Some Turkish media reports said he had briefly fainted inside the mosque, although this was not immediately confirmed.

Erdogan said he had suffered from a blood pressure issue due to a sugar imbalance in the body.

“Thanks to God I recovered quickly. Now I am feeling good and we will continue with our programme,” he said, quoted by the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Erdogan said that in the afternoon he would be attending a ceremony in Istanbul of his ruling party to mark the festival celebrating the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Muslims for the past month have been required to abstain from eating and drinking between sunrise and sunset.

Erdogan is a pious believer but has continued to follow a full political programme during the fasting month, giving speeches nearly every evening over Ramadan at fast-breaking iftar meals.

The Turkish president, a former semi-professional footballer, projects an image of a strong and vigorous leader who is in good health.

Erdogan, 63, has been in power since 2003, first as prime minister and since 2014 as Turkey’s first directly elected president.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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6 Injured As Car Hits People In UK's Newcastle: Report


Hundreds of people were celebrating Eid which marks the end of Ramadan. (Reuters)

London:  At least six people were injured today after a car mounted a pavement outside a sports centre in the northern English city of Newcastle, but the incident is not believed to be terrorism-related, police said today.

Local media said hundreds of people were celebrating Eid, which marks the end of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, at the sports centre and that two children were among the casualties.

“On Sunday June 25, at approximately 9:14 am Northumbria Police received reports that a vehicle had collided with pedestrians outside of Westgate Sports Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne,” the police said in a statement.

“Police enquiries are ongoing to establish exactly what happened but, at this time, it is not believed to be a terror incident.” Police said a 42-year-old woman had been detained and was in custody.

© Thomson Reuters 2017



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UK School Teacher Asks Students To Draft Suicide Note For Homework


An English teacher in the UK asked students to write suicide note for homework. (Representational image)

London:  An English teacher in the UK asked over 60 teenage students to draft a suicide note for homework as part of a module on Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, sparking outrage and prompting the school to apologise.

Pupils at Thomas Tallis school, Kidbrooke, London, were asked to pen a final note to their loved ones after reading one of the play’s most celebrated scenes, when Lady Macbeth takes her own life.

However, the decision caused outrage among parents, some of whom claimed their children had been personally affected by the issue, The Telegraph reported.

Criticising Thomas Tallis for its lack of sensitivity, one mother said her daughter had been told to write the note – despite having lost three friends to suicide.

She was quoted as saying that her daughter had become “very distressed” over the issue, and had told the teacher in question that such material made her feel uncomfortable.

“My daughter had had personal experience with people her age committing suicide,” the mother said.

“On what universe was it ever, under any situation, a good idea to ask a group of teenagers to write suicide notes?” she said.

Other parents branded the decision “absolutely disgusting” and “insensitive”, with one claiming that the assignment had been ill-conceived given the age of the students involved.

“I can’t imagine why a place of education would do something so insensitive, especially as childhood and teenage depression and anxiety is at an all time high at the moment,” another parent said.

Headmistress Caroyln Roberts said, “A parent contacted us with concerns about a written exercise given to a class during studies of a play by Shakespeare.”

“We appreciate that the exercise was upsetting to the family and have discussed the subject matter and approach with teaching staff,” Roberts said.

“I met with the parent last week and apologised wholeheartedly on behalf of the school and reassured them about the actions that have been taken. The parent accepted the apology in a meeting that was friendly and cordial,” she said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Afghanistan Attack That Killed 10 Did Not Target India-Made Dam: Envoy


India started rebuilding the dam in 2002. It has a power capacity of 42 MW (AFP)

Herat:  Ten security personnel and four others have been injured in a terror attack, reportedly carried out by Taliban, in Afghanistan’s Herat province. The attack took place nearly 13 kilometres from the Salma dam, rebuilt by India, in Chist-i-Sharif district in the western province. However, India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra confirmed that the dam was not attacked.”There have been media reports, but I want to clarify that this is not an attack on the dam. It was some distance away,” said Mr Vohra to NDTV.

He did, however, confirmed that the dam has been a target for Pakistan-based terror outfits in the past. 

“Yes, I am aware of these reports in the past,” the envoy said.

The Salma Dam, or the India-Afghanistan Friendship dam, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in June, 2016. India started rebuilding the dam in 2002. It has a power capacity of 42 MW and irrigates 75,000 hectares of land in Herat and provides power to thousands. The original Cabinet approval of Rs 351.87 in 2004 escalted to Rs 1775.69 crore at the end of the project.



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Drones Developed To Plant One Billion Trees Every Year


The drones can scan land and identify ideal places to grow trees.

Melbourne:  Scientists have developed new drones that can identify ideal places to grow trees and sow one billion plants every year, an advance that may help combat deforestation.

Deforestation and forest degradation make up 17 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions – more than the entire world’s transportation sector, according to the United Nations.

Researchers from UK-based company BioCarbon Engineering helped build a drone system that can scan the land, identify ideal places to grow trees, and then fire germinated seeds into the soil.

The new drones can plant in areas previously impossible to reach, like steep hills, researchers said.

The firing drone follows a pre-set planting pattern determined from an algorithm, which uses information from a separate scanning drone, they said.

To work out the best possible place to plant, the team used the drone to map the area, looking to create a 3D model of the land, ‘ABC News’ reported.

“The data gets downloaded and we’ve developed the algorithms that use that data to make smart decisions about exactly where to plant and how to manage that ecosystem,” said Susan Graham, from BioCarbon Engineering.

The planet loses 15 billion trees every year and much of it is cleared for farmland to feed the world’s booming population, but it is feared this could be exacerbating climate change.

 “Although we plant about nine billion trees every year, that leaves a net loss of six billion trees. The rate of replanting is just too slow,” Ms Graham said.

Ms Graham is hoping to change that with a system that plants at “10 times the rate of hand planting and at 20 per cent of the cost.”
 



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US Sets Guinness World Record With 1.9 Km-Long Pizza


Over 100 chefs gathered to make the 1.9 Km-Long Pizza in California.

Washington:  A new Guinness record for the world’s longest pizza has been set in the US where over 100 chefs cooked a pizza measuring a whopping 1,930 metres in length.

The attempt saw volunteers in California gather to help beat the previous record of 1,853.88 metres, which was achieved in Italy.

Pizzaovens.com, a US-based restaurant equipment company managed to achieve a total length of 1,930.39 metres – just surpassing the former record holder.

Dozens of chefs were in charge of crafting the enormous pizza, which was made using 3,632 kilogrammes of dough, 1,634 kilogrammes of cheese and 2,542 kilogrammes of sauce.

As the dough was stretched for the record, it ran along a conveyer belt which passed through three industrial ovens, which cooked the pizza nonstop for eight hours.

Volunteers helped to shift the oven every 17 minutes so as to not burn the dough, according to the Guinness World Records.

Following the event, all pizza slices were donated to local food banks and homeless shelters.



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Over 10,000 People Participate In Final Yoga Event In China


The event was held in Wuxi in Jiangsu province in eastern China.

Beijing:  More than 10,000 people took part in the final event marking the third International Day of Yoga in China today, the largest participation of enthusiasts in a yoga programme organised in the communist nation this year.

The event – the final in a series of programmes organised in 12 cities – was held in Wuxi in Jiangsu province in eastern China. The setting to celebrate the grand finale was the scenic Lingshan Dafo (Buddhist Temple in Wuxi) and the Buddhist Palace.

Spread over 10 practice venues, with nearly nine Indian yoga teachers taking the stage, a mass yoga session was held concurrently for the 10,000 participants, according to a statement from the Consulate General of India, Shanghai.

The record number of participants turned up from Wuxi and its neighbouring cities for the event jointly organised by the consulate and Wuxi Municipal People’s Government.

A large number of Indian students, pursuing medicine at Suzhou and Yangzhou, also travelled to Wuxi for the event.

Mayor of Wuxi, Wang Quan, said that yoga is another facet of the long-standing cultural cooperation between India and China, and with today’s massive event he expects that yoga will become the “signature name card” for his city.

Since Buddhism came from India to China, it was ideal for Lingshan Dafo Buddhist Temple to host the event, he added. Stanley Tong, Director of ‘Kung Fu Yoga’ – a Chinese- Indian co-production movie, also attended the event and urged greater cultural exchanges between the peoples of India and China.

The film’s lead actress, Muqi Miya enacted a special yoga performance during the session.

The event concluded with a conference on the objectives of yoga and ayurveda at the Buddhist Palace, which was attended by yoga teachers and ayurveda doctors from India.

Over the past three days, Wuxi hosted a three-day workshop on the benefits of yoga. These sessions were conducted by KYM teachers and more than 300 participants turned up each day to participate in the workshops.

The consulate had organised yoga events in eastern China region of Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu from June 17-25, bringing together 20,000 yoga lovers closer to India and promoting healthy and harmonious lifestyles.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Hundreds Evacuated Due To Forest Fires In Southern Spain


The blaze in southern Spain was detected on Saturday night. (Representational)

More than 700 people were evacuated from homes, campsites and hotels due to the threat from a forest fire in southern Spain, emergency services said on today.

Like much of Spain, the area near Huelva is on high alert for forest fires because of a heat wave. Last week, 63 people died in a forest fire in neighbouring Portugal.The blaze in southern Spain was detected on Saturday night in the Moguer area near Huelva and is being treated as a level 1 – or maximum threat – by emergency services.

By 11 a.m. (09:00 GMT) today emergency services had deployed 11 planes, 10 helicopters and dozens of land vehicles against the flames in a joint military-civilian operation.

Around 750 people were in local rescue centres, according to the emergency services. Some residents had already been allowed to return to their properties.

© Thomson Reuters 2017



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India Will Need Landfills The Size Of New Delhi District By 2050: Study


Cities with population from one to five million generate 80 per cent of India’s waste, said the report.

New Delhi:  India needs to set aside at least 88 square kilometres of land — the size of New Delhi district — for landfills by 2050, industry lobby Assocham said today. “Considering that most of the waste in India is dumped without treatment, it would require an estimated 88 square kilometre of precious land to be brought under waste disposal through landfilling by 2050, which is equivalent to the size of area under administration of the New Delhi Municipal Council,” a joint report by Assocham and accounting firm PwC said.”This will eventually render the land unfit for any other use for as long as a half century before it can be stabilised for other uses,” the report ‘Waste Management in India: Shifting Gears’ said.

With 50 per cent of India’s population projected to be living in urban areas by 2050, the volume of waste generation will grow by five per cent every year, it said. Thus, the projected waste quantity is 101 million tonnes a year by 2021, 164 million tonnes a year by 2031, and 436 million tonnes a year by 2050, according to the report.

It said that tier 1 cities with population ranging from one to five million have been estimated to generate 80 per cent of the country’s total waste.

The study estimates the current per day per capita waste generation in medium-size cities at 300-400 grams and for large cities between 400 and 600 grams, and this figure would increase in line with current urbanisation and consumption patterns.

The report said some issues hampering waste management in India are improper planning, complex institutional set-up, constraints in capacity for waste management and limited funds with urban local bodies.

“Though private sector can play a critical and greater role in waste management in India, there are various issues and bottlenecks on different fronts that have made it challenging to successfully implement projects — policy and regulatory, financing, project conceptualisation and structuring, technology and capacity,” Assocham said in a statement in New Delhi.

The report recommended that the government give industry status to the waste management sector “to provide it necessary boost” and ensure regulatory adherence.
 



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'Girls As Dessert': Thailand Sex Scandal Exposes Grim Tradition


Bangkok:  When senior bureaucrats visited the remote Thai province where local official Boonyarit worked, the routine was often the same: welcome them with the finest food and drink and then bring out the teen girls, often referred to as “dessert”.

The tradition — known by the euphemistic Thai phrase “treat to food, lay down the mat” — refers to the expectation that underlings lavish superiors and VIPs with local delicacies, top-notch accommodation and sex services.

Until recently the most sinister part of that tradition, the procurement of underage girls, was well-known but rarely discussed.

Yet a trafficking scandal involving teens, police and officials in Boonyarit’s province has flung the practice onto the nation’s front pages, prompting calls to root out a culture that helps fuel the kingdom’s infamous flesh trade.

While Thailand is known globally for flashy red-light districts that cater to foreigners, the bulk of its sprawling sex industry is geared mostly towards locals.

“This tradition became common a long time ago,” explained Boonyarit Nipavanit, a district official in Mae Hong Son, a poor and rugged province in the mountainous north.

“When groups of senior officials come for seminars or work trips, there is a custom of ‘treating them’, which means welcoming them with food, and then ‘laying down the mat,’ which means providing girls,” he told AFP.

“Sometimes we received information about what type of girls they liked… sometimes officials had to prepare five to ten women for a senior to chose from.”

‘She is a present’

Boonyarit is comfortable speaking freely about the practice now that detectives have opened 41 cases into an alleged police-run prostitution network in his province.

The probe was launched after the mother of a victim fled to Bangkok and told the media that her then 17-year-old daughter and other teens were blackmailed into sex work and forced to entertain officials and cops.

Some of the victims, she said, were branded with owl tattoos by the gangmasters as a kind of ownership stamp.

Under pressure from the press, national police arrested a Mae Hong Son police sergeant accused of trafficking girls into the sex ring and charged eight other officers with sleeping with the minors.

Five administrators from central Nonthaburi province have also been charged for allegedly hiring the teens with government funds during an official visit to Mae Hong Son.

“Since this story broke, many officials feel relieved that we don’t have to do it anymore,” said Boonyarit.

But the so-called tradition is far from unique to Mae Hong Son.

Trafficking experts say it is widespread in a hierarchial country where subordinates — both in government and the private sector — are expected to pamper bosses to hold onto jobs or move up the career ladder.

“We don’t have a merit system in the bureaucracy, we have to bribe our bosses,” explained Lakkana Punwichai, a Thai columnist covering social issues.

The practise of arranging sex for superiors comes from “a culture that sees girls not as human beings but as property”, she added.

“She is a present. She is the same as food, as beautiful clothes — something that has a price.”

Protecting the boss

Many sex trafficking victims are too fearful to come forward when it is powerful figures who control or patronise the business — especially in rural areas like Mae Hong Son, where social networks are small.

Local authorities are also under pressure to protect their own.

That was the case in Mae Hong Son, where police initially tried to bury the accusations made by the whistleblowing mother, who has requested anonymity and is now under government protection in Bangkok.  

“She was asked to compromise the case by some (local) police,” her lawyer told AFP.

In the wake of the Mae Hong Son scandal, Thailand’s Social Development Ministry said it would “lead by example” as an agency “opposed to the ‘treat to food, lay down the mat’ practice”.

Anti-trafficking police also vowed to accelerate a crackdown on the flesh trade.  

Last week a task force arrested three local officials from northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province accused of having sex with teen girls — some as young as 14 — who were trafficked into an underage prostitution ring.

But experts say it is almost always only low-level pimps or officials who are punished.

“After police rescue the girls and handlers, they never expand the case,” said Ronnasit Proeksayajiva from anti-trafficking NGO Nvader.

“They never investigate more about who the customers are.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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A 'Planet 10' On The Cards? Scientists Find Evidence


The planetary body has a mass varying between that of Mars and Earth. (Representational image)

Washington:  A mysterious, unseen ‘planet 10’ may be lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system. Scientists have found evidence of a ‘Mars-like object’ that could be orbiting our Sun.

This object would be different from, and much closer than, the Planet Nine – whose existence yet awaits confirmation.

Researchers, including Indian origin Renu Malhotra of the University of Arizona in the US, found compelling evidence of a yet-to-be discovered planetary body with a mass somewhere between that of Mars and Earth.

The mysterious mass has given away its presence only by controlling the orbital planes of a population of space rocks known as Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) in the icy outskirts of the solar system.

While most KBOs – debris left over from the formation of the solar system – orbit the Sun with orbital tilts that average out to the invariable plane of the solar system, the most distant of the Kuiper Belt’s objects do not.

Their average plane is tilted away from the invariable plane by about eight degrees, researchers said. This means something unknown is warping the average orbital plane of the outer solar system.

“The most likely explanation for our results is that there is some unseen mass,” said Kat Volk, a postdoctoral fellow at University of Arizona.

“According to our calculations, something as massive as Mars would be needed to cause the warp that we measured,” said Ms Volk, lead author of the study published in the Astronomical Journal.

The Kuiper Belt lies beyond the orbit of Neptune and extends to a few hundred Astronomical Units (AU) – the distance between Earth and the sun.

Like its inner solar system cousin, the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the Kuiper Belt hosts a vast number of minor planets, mostly small icy bodies and a few dwarf planets.

Through their observations, researchers ruled out the possibility that the postulated object could be the hypothetical Planet Nine, whose existence has been suggested based on other observations.

That planet is predicted to be much more massive (about 10 Earth masses) and much farther out at 500 to 700 AU.

The data also do not rule out the possibility that the warp could result from more than one planetary mass object.

The planet has most likely not been found yet because we have not searched the entire sky for distant solar system objects, researchers said.

The most likely place a planetary mass object could be hiding would be in the galactic plane, an area so densely packed with stars that solar system surveys tend to avoid it.

“The chance that we have not found such an object of the right brightness and distance simply because of the limitations of the surveys is estimated to be to about 30 per cent,” Ms Volk said.

 



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UK School Asks Students To Draft Suicide Note For Homework


Students were asked to draft a suicide note for homework in UK school. (Representational)

London:  An English teacher in the UK asked over 60 teenage students to draft a suicide note for homework as part of a module on Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, sparking outrage and prompting the school to apologise.

Pupils at Thomas Tallis school, Kidbrooke, London, were asked to pen a final note to their loved ones after reading one of the play’s most celebrated scenes, when Lady Macbeth takes her own life.

However, the decision caused outrage among parents, some of whom claimed their children had been personally affected by the issue, The Telegraph reported.

Criticising Thomas Tallis for its lack of sensitivity, one mother said her daughter had been told to write the note – despite having lost three friends to suicide.

She was quoted as saying that her daughter had become “very distressed” over the issue, and had told the teacher in question that such material made her feel uncomfortable.

“My daughter had had personal experience with people her age committing suicide,” the mother said.

“On what universe was it ever, under any situation, a good idea to ask a group of teenagers to write suicide notes?” she said.

Other parents branded the decision “absolutely disgusting” and “insensitive”, with one claiming that the assignment had been ill-conceived given the age of the students involved.

“I can’t imagine why a place of education would do something so insensitive, especially as childhood and teenage depression and anxiety is at an all time high at the moment,” another parent said.

Headmistress Caroyln Roberts said, “A parent contacted us with concerns about a written exercise given to a class during studies of a play by Shakespeare.”

“We appreciate that the exercise was upsetting to the family and have discussed the subject matter and approach with teaching staff,” Roberts said.

“I met with the parent last week and apologized wholeheartedly on behalf of the school and reassured them about the actions that have been taken. The parent accepted the apology in a meeting that was friendly and cordial,” she said.



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Muslim Told To Remove 'Terrorist-Looking' Black Hijab By UK Employers


Judges found that companies could legally ban employees from wearing the Islamic headscarf.

London:  A Muslim woman has filed a religious discrimination complaint against her employers at a UK tribunal for allegedly ordering her to remove her black hijab because it signified “terrorist affiliation”.

The estate agent, who has not been named, had been working for Harvey Dean in Bury, Greater Manchester, for about a year when she said her managers took issue with her hijab.

A complaint filed at the Manchester Employment Tribunal was quoted by The Independent as saying that the woman was told that moving from a back office into public view meant “that it would be in the best interest of the business for her to change the colour of her hijab, due to the supposed terrorist affiliation with the colour black”.

A colleague allegedly claimed that the predominantly white and non-Muslim community around the company’s office would “feel intimidated and scared if they saw the claimant”.

The woman, who had been wearing a black headscarf that left her face uncovered since starting at Harvey Dean, was quoted as saying that she was not prepared to change her attire for the reasons given.

She said she refused her employers’ orders again in a phone call and a meeting held the following day with the male manager, who had allegedly brought coloured hijabs into the office for her to change into.

Hours later, the woman said she was reprimanded for sending a text message to her father.

“He then went on a tirade accusing the claimant of not working,” according to the complaint filed with tribunal.

“The claimant informed him that she was on her lunch break but he told her that he did not care (and) then proceeded to tell her to: ‘Get the (expletive) out of here.'”

The woman left the office and, after hearing nothing further from the company, submitted a letter of resignation the following week.

She claimed that her objections to the order “fell on deaf ears” and left her feeling unable to remain at the company.

The former housing sales negotiator said she felt “singled out” as the only Muslim woman in the office and claims the company discriminated against her on the basis of both religion and gender.

The tribunal complaint argues that her treatment created an “intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and offensive environment”, and is seeking a written admission that she was subjected to unlawful discrimination.

The case, which will be considered at a preliminary hearing at the Manchester Employment Tribunal on July 20, could result in Harvey Dean paying “aggravated damages” and compensation covering loss of earnings, holiday pay and legal fees, the report said.

Zillur Rahman, an employment lawyer representing the claimant for Rahman Lowe Solicitors, believes the case is the first of its kind in the UK following a landmark ruling at the European Court of Justice in March.

Judges found that companies could legally ban employees from wearing the Islamic headscarf, but only as part of prohibitions encompassing all religious and political symbols equally.



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AirAsia Plane 'Shaking Like Washing Machine' Returns To Australia


AirAsia flight to Malaysia was forced back to Australia Sunday due to a technical problem.

Sydney, Australia:  An AirAsia flight to Malaysia was forced back to Australia Sunday due to a technical problem, with one passenger saying the plane was “shaking like a washing machine”.

The Airbus A330 from Perth to Kuala Lumpur experienced problems about 90 minutes into the journey.

It landed safely, with Perth Airport reporting a “technical issue”.

“The pilot identified technical issues, turned around and returned,” an airport spokesman told AFP, adding that emergency crews were put on standby but not needed.

The Malaysian low-cost carrier said only that “flight crew are taking precautionary measures to check the aircraft”.

It was the second scare involving an Airbus A330 in Australia this month, with a China Eastern plane making an emergency landing in Sydney after a huge hole appeared in one of its engine casings.

Terrified passengers on that flight described a very loud noise soon after it left Sydney for Shanghai. No one was hurt.

The West Australian newspaper cited passengers on Sunday’s flight as saying they heard a bang and then the plane started shuddering.

“You could tell by the cabin crew’s reaction that it was really bad,” said Sophie Nicolas, who said she heard a small explosion from the left wing. “It was terrifying.”

Another passenger, Brenton Atkinson, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the whole plane started shaking, far more than standard turbulence.

“It was essentially the engine seized up I think, that’s what they told us anyway,” he said.

“It was literally like you were sitting on top of a washing machine. The whole thing was going. We could see the engine out the window which was really shaking on the wing.

“Once we landed we realised one of the blades had actually come off the turbine.”

The airline suffered its first fatal incident in December 2014, when AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crashed in stormy weather off Indonesia with 162 people on board.

That followed two Malaysia Airlines incidents in the same year which left hundreds dead, raising concerns among some travellers about the safety of the country’s carriers.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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US Court Says Ivanka Trump Must Testify In Knock-Off Shoes Suit


The luxury brand Aquazzura last year filed a federal complaint against Ivanka Trump.

Washington:  President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka must give testimony later this year in a lawsuit against her apparel company, which is accused of lifting designs from a celebrated Italian shoemaker, a US judge ruled.

In a court order issued on Friday, New York District Judge Katherine Forrest rejected Trump’s assertion that she should be exempted from having to appear at a deposition in the case, because of the demands on her time as a senior White House official.

Despite “the obvious time constraints that Ms. Trump must currently have… it is nonetheless true that she is alleged to have personal involvement in the events at issue in this lawsuit,” Judge Forrest wrote in her three-page ruling.

“Accordingly, she cannot avoid a deposition in this matter.”

The court limited the time of the deposition to just two hours, however, and ruled that it must take place in Washington by October of this year.

The luxury brand Aquazzura last year filed a federal complaint against Ivanka Trump and her manufacturer, Marc Fisher Footwear, for trade dress infringement, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices.

The Italian company said Ivanka Trump “copied nearly every detail” of the brand’s “well-known and coveted ‘Wild Thing Shoe’ from the shape and silhouette to the fringe covering the toes, to the tassel on the heel.”

Her manufacturer has flatly rejected the charge.

Aquazzura’s “Wild Thing” shoe was an immediate success, becoming the signature stiletto of stars including actress Jamie Chung, singer Solange Knowles — Beyonce’s sister — and model Kendall Jenner, selling in the United States for $785.

Ivanka Trump’s “Hettie” style, which the Italian brand said copies the design of their shoe, costs $145.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Hopes Fade In China For 118 Still Missing Day After Landslide


China rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a landslide in Xinmo village.

MAO COUNTY, China:  Rescue workers in China searched for 118 people still missing more than 24 hours after a landslide buried a mountain village, with hopes fading on Sunday after 15 bodies were pulled out of the rock and mud during the first day of the search.

A couple and their two month old baby were found alive in the hours after the massive landslide crashed down on the village of Xinmo, in the southwest province of Sichuan as dawn broke on Saturday. But there was no news of any other survivors being found.

Authorities had not updated an overnight toll of 15 confirmed dead, but geological experts said that chances of survival for the missing were slim, state owned Xinhua news agency reported.

“We weren’t able to pull anyone out alive,” Wu Youheng who lives in a neighbouring village and rushed to help rescue efforts on Saturday, told Reuters.

“We pulled out two people but they were already dead. I think it’s too late, they’re unlikely to find anyone else alive.”

Wu said that the area was prone to landslides but the scale of Saturday’s slide was unprecedented.

Wu’s wife, Zhang Xiaohong, said that they often sleep in other villages because of fear of landslides but can’t afford to move to the safer capital of Mao county, where Xinmo is located.

At risk from more landslides in the area, a massive rescue effort involving more than 3,000 rescue workers was underway, Xinhua reported.

The names of the missing were posted on government websites, it said.

State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed images of industrial excavators removing rubble from a hillside along with workers in hard hats.

Heavy rain triggered the landslide, authorities said, although further light showers expected today and Monday were not expected to affect search efforts, CCTV reported.

Reports of the landslide remained largely absent from wider Chinese media apart from Xinhua, CCTV and party mouthpiece People’s Daily.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in offering his condolences said in a statement that the UN is prepared to offer any needed support.

Sichuan province is prone to earthquakes, including a 8.0 magnitude tremor in central Sichuan’s Wenchuan county in 2008 that killed nearly 70,000 people.
 

© Thomson Reuters 2017

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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123 Dead, 100 Injured As Oil Tanker Catches Fire In Pakistan: Official


100 people have been injured after oil tanker catches fire in Pakistan.

Islamabad:  At least 123 people have died and scores more were injured in a fire that broke out after an oil tanker flipped over in central Pakistan early Sunday, an official said.

“At least 123 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded in a fire which erupted after an oil tanker turned over and victims rushed to collect spilt fuel,” senior local government official Rana Mohammad Saleem Afzal told state television.

There was no immediate confirmation from officials on the cause of the accident or the fire after the tragic incident occurred early Sunday near the town of Ahmedpur East, some 670 kilometres (416 miles) south of the capital Islamabad.

The Pakistani military said it was sending army helicopters to evacuate the wounded, with hospitals placed on high alert.

Pakistan has an appalling record of fatal traffic accidents due to poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.

At least 62 people including women and children were killed in southern Pakistan in 2015 when their bus collided with an oil tanker, starting a fierce blaze that left victims burnt beyond recognition.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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London Tower Blocks Evacuated As 34 Buildings Fail Fire Tests


Firefighters stand outside Burnham Tower, as residents were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

LONDON:  Britain said 34 high-rise apartment blocks had failed fire safety checks carried out after the deadly Grenfell Tower blaze, including several in north London where residents were forced to evacuate amid chaotic scenes.

British officials have conducted tests on some 600 high-rise buildings across England after fire ravaged the Grenfell social tower block in west London on June 14, killing at least 79 people in the capital’s most deadly blaze since World War Two.

The Department for Communities said 34 apartment blocks had failed tests in 17 parts of the country, from London in the southeast to Manchester in the north and Plymouth on the southwest coast.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who was forced to apologise for the government’s initial slow response to the tragedy, said the authorities were now racing to establish what needed to be done.

“In some cases it’s possible to take mitigating action,” she told Sky news. “In others it’s been necessary for people to move out on a temporary basis and that is what happened in Camden last night.”

Some 4,000 residents of the Chalcots Estate in Camden, north London, were told to vacate their apartments on Friday after the Fire Brigade ruled that their blocks were unsafe.

Emerging into the streets on a hot night, residents clutched children, pets and small amounts of clothing and food to try to find a bed in a local hotel or with family or friends. Many were directed to inflatable beds laid out on the floor of the local sports hall.

“I know it’s difficult but Grenfell changes everything,” Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, said in a statement. “I don’t believe we can take any risks with our residents’ safety.”

May said the local authority would be given all the means necessary to make sure people had somewhere to stay.

Residents complained of first hearing about the evacuation from the media and getting very short notice to leave from city officials going door-to-door. Not all residents agreed to go, as they felt the evacuation was an over-reaction.

PUBLIC ANGER

“It was farcical communication,” 21-year-old Daniel Tackaberry told Reuters outside a nearby sports centre where the local council had laid out air beds. “You don’t get everyone to leave this quickly.”

Several local councils said they were removing cladding from the facades of buildings that had failed the tests. In Camden, however, the London Fire Brigade found a number of faults, including concern about cladding, faulty fire doors and holes in compartment walls that could help a fire to spread.

Gould, the Camden council’s leader, said it would take up to four weeks to repair the blocks that were evacuated.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said the government was working with local authorities and fire services to address any problems that had been found.

“We are now rapidly identifying buildings of concern: samples are being tested very quickly; fire inspectors are checking the safety of the buildings as a whole; and we have issued interim safety guidance,” he said.

Police investigating the cause of the 24-storey Grenfell Tower blaze have said the fire started in a fridge but spread rapidly due to external cladding on the building, trapping residents in their beds as they slept.

The cladding has since failed all safety checks and prompted a nationwide review of the materials used on everything from hospitals to hotels and apartment blocks.

The fire has become a flashpoint for public anger at the record of May’s Conservative Party in government following cuts to local authority budgets designed to lower the national deficit. Grenfell Tower is located in Kensington, one of the richest boroughs in Europe.

Battling to save her position after losing her majority in a June 8 election, May has promised to do everything she can to protect those residents who survived the fire and to improve the quality and safety of public housing in Britain.

British police have said they are considering bringing manslaughter charges over the Grenfell fire.

© Thomson Reuters 2017



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Live: PM Modi Arrives In US, Will Meet Donald Trump On Monday


PM Modi arrives in Washington for two day visit.

After a brief stop in Lisbon, Portugal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in United States in the second leg of his three-nation tour. The last destination is the Netherlands. This would be PM Modi’s fourth visit to the US, where he forged a close relationship with former US President Barack Obama and called the US “an indispensable partner”. However, this is his first visit to US after the Trump administration came to power early this year.

A senior White House official told reporters that President Donald Trump’s first working dinner with a foreign leader will be with the Indian Prime Minister. The two leaders will meet at 3:30 pm EST on June 26, and will deliver a joint statement along with individual statements. But there will be no press meet, “as preferred by both leaders”. The first face-to-face interaction between Mr Trump and PM Modi is expected to focus on three major areas — defence, terrorism and energy.

Here are the live updates of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States:

PM Modi meets the Indian community in US at Andrews base in Washington.

PM Modi arrives in Washington.

Watch as a gathering outside Joint Base Andrews cheer for the Prime Minister.
Indians in US eagerly wait to get a glimpse of PM Modi outside Andrews Air Base 
Vijay Chauthaiwale who is in-Charge of Foreign Affairs Department, BJP gives us the mood at Andrew Air force base in Washington ahead of PM Modi’s arrival.
US Senator Kamala Harris welcomed the Prime Minister, hours before he arrived.
President Donald Trump tweets welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House ahead of his arrival in US.



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100 Burnt To Death As Oil Tanker Catches Fire In Pakistan: Reports


At least 100 people were killed when an oil tanker caught fire after it overturned in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Sunday morning, police said.

Seventy-five others were severely injured as the oil tanker caught on fire and exploded on a highway in in Bahawalpur city’s Ahmed Pur Sharqia area, Dawn news reported.

The fire brigade arrived on the site of the incident shortly after the blaze started and rescue operations were initiated.

Two fire engines battled the fire and eventually gained control over it.

Six cars and 12 motorcycles parked in the vicinity were also severely damaged.



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US Lawmakers Urge Donald Trump To Press PM Modi On Trade, Investment


This is PM Narendra Modi’s fourth visit to US, the first after Donald Trump took charge.

Washington:  Leading US congressmen have called on President Donald Trump to press Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remove barriers to US trade and investment when they meet for the first time on Monday.

The lawmakers, from the Republican and Democratic parties, said in a letter to President Trump that high-level engagement with India had failed to eliminate major trade and investment barriers and had not deterred India from imposing new ones.

“Many sectors of the Indian economy remain highly and unjustifiably protected, and India continues to be a difficult place for American companies to do business,” they wrote, noting that a 2017 World Bank report ranked India 130th out of 190 countries for ease of doing business.

The lawmakers – Republican House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and Ranking Member Richard Neal, and Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and Ranking Member Ron Wyden – said the bilateral economic relationship “severely underperforms” as a result of India’s failure to enact market-based reforms.

They said the barriers covered multiple sectors and included high tariffs, inadequate protection of intellectual property rights, and inconsistent and non-transparent licensing and regulatory practices.

Among US goods affected were solar and information technology products, telecommunications equipment and biotechnology products, they said.

The lawmakers also pointed to limitations on foreign participation in professional services, restrictive foreign equity caps for financial, retail, and other major services sectors and barriers to digital trade and Internet services.

“The list is long and growing,” they said.

PM Modi is due to meet with about 20 leading US CEOs in Washington today before his first meeting with President Trump on Monday at the White House, when he will seek to revitalise ties that have appeared to drift, in spite of the priority they were afforded under former President Barack Obama.

While progress is expected in defense trade and cooperation, President Trump, who campaigned on an “America First” platform has been irritated by the growing US trade deficit with India and has called for reform of the H-1B visa system that has benefited Indian tech firms.

Other signs of friction have included Donald Trump accusing New Delhi of negotiating unscrupulously at the Paris climate talks to walk away with billions in aid.

Indian officials have also rejected suggestions that PM Modi’s “Make in India” platform is protectionist and complain about the US regulatory process for generic pharmaceuticals and rules on fruit exports to the United States.

They stress the future importance of the huge Indian market to US firms and major growth in areas such as aviation which will offer significant opportunities for US manufacturers.

© Thomson Reuters 2017



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Eid 2017: Politicians, Sports Stars Across The Globe, Send Their Wishes


Eid 2017: PM Theresa May, President Trump, Apple CEO Tim Cook send out Eid wishes

As Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations begin across the globe, US President Donald Trump, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Tim Cook among others sent their wishes. The Official Twitter account of Haramain that updates about Makkah and Madeenah tweeted announcing the sighting of the moon after which the decision to begin Eid celebrations was made.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted her video message 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan tweeted an elaborate video wishing people across the world.  “From my family to yours – #EidMubarak. To all those celebrating in London and around the world, happy Eid al-Fitr,” he said.

US President Donald Trump also sent ‘warm greetings’ to Muslims celebrating the end of Ramzan. His administration went on to break the tradition and hosted a White House event for the holy month.  In a statement, President Trump said, “On behalf of the American people, Melania and I send our warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

“During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill. With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values.” Canada Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau issued an official statement wishing the Muslim community around the globe.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook tweeted wishing for peace, joy and prosperity.

Sports Stars also took to twitter to send their wishes



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5.2-Magnitude Quake Hits Central Japan, No Tsunami Warning


There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, according to public broadcaster NHK. (File)

Tokyo:  A 5.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Japan Sunday morning but there was no tsunami warning, Japanese and US authorities said.

The quake was at a depth of 10 kilometres (6 miles) about 30 kilometres west of Ina in Nagano prefecture at 7:02 am (2202 GMT on Saturday), the US Geological Survey said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, according to public broadcaster NHK. The Japan Meteorological Agency did not issue a tsunami warning.

Shinkansen bullet train services were temporarily suspended due to the jolt in central Japan, while no abnormality was reported at nuclear power plants in the region, NHK said. 

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year. But rigid building codes and strict enforcement mean even strong tremors often do little damage.

A massive undersea quake that hit in March 2011 sent a tsunami barrelling into Japan’s northeast coast, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing, and sending three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Air Force Fighter Jet Skids Off Runway, Flips Over, Traps 2 Inside


While landing at a rain-soaked airport in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday, an Air Force fighter jet skidded off the runway and flipped upside down, trapping two men inside for more than an hour.

A pilot took the F-16D Fighting Falcon out from Dayton International Airport in the morning to prepare for an air show this weekend, the commander of the Air Force Thunderbirds told reporters. The airport got a record-breaking amount of rain that day, according to the Dayton Daily News, but the Air Force said the weather had been deemed safe to fly in.

And sure enough, nothing happened to the F-16 while it was in the air. Even the landing – shortly after noon in wind and rain – looked smooth to one witness.

Until, that is, the jet rolled straight off the runway.

“I looked up and I said, ‘Man, he’s going really fast,'” the man told WHIO 7. “He was almost hydroplaning.”

He saw the jet swerve left, then right, then briefly go airborne, flip and land on its canopy.

Lt. Col. Jason Heard, who leads the Air Force’s aerial acrobatics team, said the jet skidded about 300 feet off the end of the runway, and that he could not recall another incident quite like it in the Thunderbirds’ 64-year history.

The pilot, Capt. Erik Gonsalves, had more than 1,600 flight hours, as well as combat experience, Heard said. He had been taking Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cordova out for a sort of practice flight before Saturday’s show.

Though they weren’t badly hurt, an airport official said both men were stuck inside the overturned jet for “an inordinate amount of time.”

“It was complicated,” Dayton aviation director Terry Slaybaugh told reporters, describing how emergency crews and airport officials took about two hours to extract the men from a military jet “we’re not familiar with.”

Heard said both men were conscious the whole time, and they even helped direct emergency crews in the rescue. The captain was hospitalized with cuts and a leg injury, while the tech sergeant had no apparent injuries, and both men are expected to be fine.

While it has not offered any explanation for how Gonsalves crashed, the Air Force plans to eventually release a report on its investigation.

“We have a very, very good safety record,” Heard said, though he acknowledged this was not the first crash in Thunderbirds history.

It was just over a year ago, in fact, that a Thunderbirds F-16 crashed after flying over an Air Force Academy graduation ceremony with President Barack Obama in attendance – on the same day that a Navy Blue Angels pilot was killed in yet another air show incident in another state.

Air show pilots, as Thomas Gibbons-Neff wrote for The Washington Post, are typically among the best in the military.

And fatal accidents are rare, according to an analysis by the Chicago Tribune in 2015 – after an Army skydiver was killed in a performance. Excepting a catastrophic plane vs. crowd incident in Reno, Nev., that killed 11 people in 2011, the newspaper reported, most years see between one and three deaths.

Gonsalves was in his first season with the Thunderbirds, according to the Dayton Daily News, and was an advance pilot and narrator for the show. He would not have actually flown in Saturday’s performance in Dayton – which, due to the crash, will now take place without the Thunderbirds’ climactic flyover.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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In Jab At Trump, Schwarzenegger, Macron To 'Make The Planet Great Again'


Emmanuel Macron and Arnold Schwarzenegger share similar views on the environment.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has never hesitated to call in backup.

In “Terminator 2,” the Arnold got an assist from the plucky, potty-mouthed kid who played John Connor as he tried to stave off the end of the world.

In 1987, to take on the “Predator,” Schwarzenegger joined forces with Carl Weathers – and Weathers’s biceps, during the most testosterone-laden movie handshake ever recorded.

But now Schwarzenegger’s nemesis is a billionaire who commands America’s military and has round-the-clock access to nuclear weapons.

So to strike the latest blow in his Twitter war with President Donald Trump, Schwarzenegger has recruited, well, French President Emmanuel Macron.

Schwarzenegger tweeted: I was truly honored to meet with President @EmmanuelMacron about how we can work together for a clean energy future. He’s a great leader.

For those who’ve missed the previous installments, Trump and Schwarzenegger have been involved in a months-long social media battle.

Schwarzenegger blasted Trump over his rhetoric as president and seeming divisiveness on the campaign trail. And Trump struck back where it hurt: He lampooned Schwarzenegger’s ratings on “The Apprentice.”

Schwarzenegger took to Twitter after Trump said he was withdrawing the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The move set back the worldwide effort to address global warming.

Afterward, in a nearly three-minute message on Twitter, Schwarzenegger said Trump was derelict in his duties as president.

“One man cannot destroy our progress,” the movie star who became governor of California said. “One man can’t stop our clean energy revolution. And one man can’t go back in time. Only I can do that.”

Schwarzenegger’s latest salvo came on Friday afternoon. It’s unclear where he and Macron are standing, although Schwarzenegger says the two are “talking about environmental issues and a green future.”

Then he pivots the camera for a Macron cameo.

“And now we will deliver together to make the planet great again,” Macron says.

Macron’s English is a little off, but the burn is on-target for anyone familiar with Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

It’s not really surprising that Macron would end up on #TeamArnold.

As The Post’s James McAuley wrote, “Macron has become the anointed darling and principal spokesman of political moderates around the world, a fierce advocate of ‘radical centrism,’ globalization and – following President Trump’s watershed decision to remove the United States from the Paris accord – curbing climate change.”

In June, after Trump withdrew the United States from the climate accord, France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs altered a Trump administration video that justified the action into one that criticized it.

And Macron himself recorded a video critique.

“I do think it’s an actual mistake, both for the U.S. and for the planet,” Macron said, according to The Post’s Peter W. Stevenson. “To all scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the president of the United States, I want to say that they will find in France a second homeland. I call on them: Come here and work with us.”

So Macron and Schwarzenegger share similar views on the environment, and both have shown no hesitation at taking a public swipe at President Trump – a collaboration doesn’t seem all that far-fetched.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Vladimir Putin Praises Russia's 'Unique' Spy Network


“These are unique people. I wish them happiness and prosperity,” President Putin said

Moscow:  President Vladimir Putin on Saturday praised Russia’s network of intelligence officers as “unique people” who are devoted  to the country.

“To give up their life, their nearest and dearest and leave the country for many years, and to dedicate one’s life to the Fatherland, not everyone is capable of doing that,” the former KGB officer said on state television.

“These are people not like the rest,” who have qualities, convictions and character out of the ordinary, Putin added on the Russia-1 channel.

“These are unique people. I wish them happiness and prosperity,” he added.

The Russian strongman said that his own service in the country’s main security agency during the Soviet era had involved “especially, undercover intelligence”.

Putin was stationed in Dresden, in what was then East Germany, for the Soviet espionage service from 1985-1990, according to his official biography.

“Even before I’d finished my school studies, I already wanted to be an intelligence officer,” Putin said in the biography, adding that he had been attracted to the service by spy novels.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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2 Toddlers Died As Mom Left Them In Hot Car To Teach 'A Lesson': Police


On the day her two children were found dead, Cynthia Marie Randolph recounted for investigators a mother’s nightmare: She had been folding laundry and watching television while her young daughter and son, ages 2 and 16 months, played in an enclosed sun room on the back porch.

Randolph, 24, went to check on her children after about a half-hour – but they were “gone,” she told police. She said that after a half-hour of searching, she finally spotted their bodies, unresponsive, inside her 2010 Honda Crosstour parked in her driveway.

It was May 26, a day when the high temperature outside Randolph’s home in Weatherford, Texas, reached 96 degrees, according to police records.

Medics pronounced both children dead at the scene, authorities said.

According to the Parker County Sheriff’s Office, when asked how long the children might have been exposed to the high temperatures inside the car, Randolph responded immediately: “No more than an hour.”

Less than a month after the tragedy, Randolph has been arrested after her original explanation for her children’s deaths unraveled. Through multiple interviews with investigators over the past month, Randolph “created several variations of the events” of May 26, police said.

In a final interview with investigators Friday, Randolph described an entirely different timeline for what happened that day – one that began much earlier in the afternoon than she had previously admitted.

At about 12:15 p.m., Randolph said she had found her children playing inside her car and ordered them to come out, police said.

“Stop your s-t,” Randolph said she told her 2-year-old daughter, according to police.

“When they refused to exit, Randolph told police she shut the car door to teach Juliet a lesson, thinking she could get herself and her brother out of the car when ready,” a probable cause affidavit for the incident stated. “The defendant went inside the house, smoked marijuana and took a nap. The defendant said she was asleep for two or three hours.”

It was only after her nap that Randolph found her children unresponsive inside the Honda Crosstour, police said. Randolph further told investigators that she broke the car window so that it would look like an accident, police said.

Randolph was charged Friday with two first-degree felony counts of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury. She is being held at the Parker County Jail on a $200,000 bond, records show. A sheriff’s spokeswoman did not immediately return a call Saturday afternoon, and jail records do not list an attorney for Randolph.

Over the past two decades, more than 700 children have died of heatstroke while in hot cars, said Jan Null, a meteorologist who compiles and keeps track of the data on noheatstroke.org.
“Every one of these can be prevented,” Null told The Washington Post last year.

Null said more than half of the incidents occurred because a child had been “forgotten” by a caregiver. About 28 percent of those deaths were because a child had been playing in an unattended vehicle. About 17 percent of the deaths resulted because a child was intentionally left inside a vehicle by an adult, Null’s site states.
The National Safety Council says that unintentionally leaving a child inside a car “can happen to anyone.”

“Maybe it’s an overworked parent who forgets to drop off their child at day care, or a relative who thinks the child will be okay ‘for just a few minutes,’ ” says an NSC pamphlet on the issue.

The group advises parents to put something they will need by their child’s car seat – a purse, wallet or phone, for example – as an additional reminder to check the back.

“Remember, children overheat four times faster than adults,” says a message on the council’s website. “A child is likely to die when his body temperature reaches 107 degrees, and that can happen in minutes.”

Those who see a child alone in a car are advised to call 911 immediately or even break into the car during an emergency, the group said, noting that many states have good Samaritan laws.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Live: PM Modi To Arrive In US, Will Meet Donald Trump On Monday


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a two-day visit to United States. (File)

After a brief stop in Lisbon, Portugal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi to arrive in United States in the second leg of his three-nation tour. The last destination is the Netherlands. This would be PM Modi’s fourth visit to the US, where he forged a close relationship with former US President Barack Obama and called the US “an indispensable partner”. However, this is his first visit to US after the Trump administration came to power early this year.

A senior White House official told reporters that President Donald Trump’s first working dinner with a foreign leader will be with the Indian Prime Minister. The two leaders will meet at 3:30 pm EST on June 26, and will deliver a joint statement along with individual statements. But there will be no press meet, “as preferred by both leaders”. The first face-to-face interaction between Mr Trump and PM Modi is expected to focus on three major areas — defence, terrorism and energy.

Here are the live updates of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States:

Vijay Chauthaiwale who is in-Charge of Foreign Affairs Department, BJP gives us the mood at Andrew Air force base in Washington ahead of PM Modi’s arrival.
US Senator Kamala Harris welcomed the Prime Minister, hours before he arrived.
President Donald Trump tweets welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House ahead of his arrival in US.



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Looking Forward To Welcome 'True Friend' PM Modi, Says President Trump


The two leaders are to hold talks on Monday afternoon in the White House. (File)

Refering to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “true friend,” President Donald Trump said he looks forward to the leader’s two-day visit to United States that begins today.
 

As part of his three-nation tour, Prime Minister Modi will arrive in United States on Sunday and will meet President Donald Trump on Monday for his first meeting with President.

The two leaders are to hold talks on Monday afternoon in the White House. They are to spend several hours together in multiple set-ups including a one-on-one, a delegation level meeting, a reception and a working dinner.

The working dinner that Donald Trump will host for PM Modi is the first time that a working dinner of this sort is hosted under the Trump administration. 

“The White House is very interested in making this a special visit. We’re really seeking to roll out the red carpet. In fact, the two (leaders) will have dinner, a working dinner at the White House.

“This will be the first dinner for a foreign dignitary at the White House under this administration. So, we think that’s very significant,” a senior administration official told reporters at the White House.



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Donald Trump Wishes Muslims 'Warm Greetings' For Eid


Donald Trump has come under fire for his history of anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail

Washington:  US President Donald Trump on Saturday sent warm greetings” to Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan, after his administration broke with the tradition of hosting a White House event to recognize the holy month.

“On behalf of the American people, Melania and I send our warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr,” Trump said in a statement. “During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill.”

“With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values.”

Since the Bill Clinton administration, the White House has each year hosted either an event to mark the Eid al-Fitr feast — which ends the fasting month of Ramadan — or a meal breaking the dawn-til-dusk fast, known as an iftar.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly rejected a request by his department’s office of religion and global affairs to hold an event for the holiday.

Trump has come under fire for his history of anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail, that included calls for surveillance of US mosques and an outright ban on Muslims entering the country in the name of national security.

A week after becoming president he issued a ban on travelers from several predominantly Muslim countries, which has been frozen by the US courts after sparking global chaos and outrage. 

Yet during a visit to Saudi Arabia last month, Trump softened his tone on Islam, rejecting the idea of a battle between religions in an address before dozens of leaders of Muslim countries.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Russia 'Meddled' In American Election, says Trump's Spy Chief


Reports suggest that White House has downplayed Russia’s involvement in Trump’s election

Russia “meddled” in last year’s presidential election as part of a decades-long effort to “undermine American democracy,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo said.

“I can’t talk about the details of the intelligence, but we have, the intelligence community has said, that this election was meddled with by the Russians in a way that is frankly not particularly original,” Pompeo said, according to the transcript of an interview with MSNBC broadcast Saturday morning. It was his first interview with a news network since he became Central Intelligence Agency director in January.

Before President Donald Trump took office, the outgoing director of the director of national intelligence released a report concluding that Russia attempted to influence last year’s presidential election under orders from President Vladimir Putin.

The White House has downplayed Russia’s involvement, even as multiple investigations look into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials to sway the election. As recently as last week, White House spokesman Sean Spicer declined to say whether Trump believes Russia interfered.

Pompeo, 53, said it isn’t surprising that Russia would meddle in a U.S. vote.

“They’ve been doing this for an awfully long time. And we are decades into the Russians trying to undermine American democracy,” he said. “So in some ways, there’s no news, but it certainly puts a heightened emphasis on our ability to figure out how to stop them.”

But the spy chief said he couldn’t confirm whether Putin personally directed the plan.

Asked about the Middle East, Pompeo said Iran represents a “longer challenge” to the U.S. than Sunni extremists such as the Islamic State, which he said poses an “enormous risk” to America.

“It remains the world’s largest state sponsor of terror,” he said of Iran. “We find it with enormous influence, influence that far outstrips where it was six or seven years ago.”

Pompeo said North Korea is a “very real danger” that’s getting closer to threatening the U.S. with nuclear weapons.

“For 20 years, America has whistled past the graveyard, hoping on hope that North Korea would turn colors and become part of the Western civilization,” he said. “There’s no evidence that that’s going to take place, absent a very real, very concrete set of policies that put pressure on the North Koreans to de-nuclearize.”

In March, the website WikiLeaks released thousands of documents it said contained secrets about how the CIA hacks into smartphones and other devices as part of the agency’s cyper-espionage efforts. Edward Snowden became a celebrity after leaking classified information from the National Security Agency about how the government monitors communications.

“There is a phenomenon, the worship of Edward Snowden, and those who steal American secrets for the purpose of self-aggrandizement or money or for whatever their motivation may be,” Pompeo said, adding that the trend seems to be accelerating.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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A US Doctor Gave So Many Painkillers, Now Charged With Killing Patients


On Nov. 21, 2012, Sheila Bartels walked out of the Sunshine Medical Center in Oklahoma with a prescription for a “horrifyingly excessive” cocktail of drugs capable of killing her several times over.

A short time later, she was at a pharmacy, receiving what drug addicts call “the holy trinity” of prescription drugs: the powerful painkiller Hydrocodone, the anti-anxiety medication Xanax and a muscle relaxant known as Soma.

In total, pharmacists handed her 510 pills that day – all legal, because she had a prescription with the signature of her doctor, Regan Ganoung Nichols, scrawled at the bottom, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Bartels’ lifeless body was found later that day,court documents say. A medical examiner concluded that she died of multiple drug toxicity, another victim of the America’s opioid epidemic.

But investigators say the 55-year-old Bartels was also a victim of Nichols, a pain management doctor who investigators concluded “either didn’t know or didn’t care what she was doing.”

Nichols is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Bartels and four other patients, some of whom died just days after receiving large prescriptions from the doctor. She was arrested Friday and released from Oklahoma County Jail on $50,000 bail.

She couldn’t be reached for comment on Saturday. A number listed for Sunshine Medical Center was disconnected. Jail officials didn’t know whether she had hired an attorney.

The doctor’s arrest is part of a new and growing offensive in America’s battle against the abusive use of opioids, which kill an average of 91 people a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Law enforcement agents aren’t just going after drug dealers and Mexican cartels – they’re also targeting pharmaceutical companies and doctors, who they say are irresponsibly flooding the nation with potent painkillers, and holding them responsible for overdose deaths.

“Nichols prescribed patients, who entrusted their well-being to her, a horrifyingly excessive amount of opioid medications,” Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter told the Associated Press on Friday as his office announced the doctor’s arrest. “Nichols’ blatant disregard for the lives of her patients is unconscionable.”

Opioids killed more than 33,000 Americans in 2015, according to the CDC. Since 1991, the number of opioid overdose deaths has quadrupled. In 2014, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 1.3 million Americans were hospitalized for opioid-related issues.

And prescription opioids are a primary driver, and prosecutors increasingly have gone to the source to stop abuse. InFebruary 2016, another doctor, Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng, was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison after three of her patients fatally overdosed, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Prosecutors said Tseng made millions from overprescribing opioids to drug-addicted patients.

And lawyers for the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma have sued the nation’s top six drug distributors, according to The Washington Post’s Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein. The suit says the pharmaceutical companies are profiting from the epidemic and “decimating communities across the nation’s 14 counties in the state.”

Last month, seven counties in West Virginia, a state that has the highest prescription drug overdose rate in the nation, filed suits against many of the same corporations, according to Higham and Bernstein.

A lawsuit by the state of Missouri against pharmaceutical giants strikes a similar tone.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said the companies have used bogus science to mislead patients about just how addictive opioids are, according to The Washington Post’s Katie Mettler. As a result, the companies have “profited from the suffering of Missourians.”

The lawsuits have different aims, although attorneys in the Missouri case say they want state legislatures to more closely monitor prescription drug use.

Oklahoma’s attorney general has been trying to paint Nichols in the same light.

Nichols prescribed more than 3 million doses of controlled dangerous drugs from 2010 through 2014, according to court documents, including “irrational” and dangerous combinations of drugs that led to five deaths.

On March 24, 2010, for example, Debra Messner received a prescription for 450 pills – the same cocktail of Hydrocodone, Xanax and Soma and died six days later of acute drug toxicity, according to court documents. A doctor contracted by the Drug Enforcement Administration to review her case file found that there was “no need for the quantity or combination” of those drugs.

Lynette Nelson was evaluated by Nichols once, a few days before Christmas in 2008. Still, over the next four years, Nelson was prescribed so many potent drugs from Nichols’s clinic that investigators were baffled that she didn’t die sooner.

She was found dead on March 1, 2012, five days after getting her final prescription of Xanax filled.

In the probable cause affidavit, the doctor contracted by the DEA to examine the dead patients’ files concluded that because of Nichols’s “lack of the use of the basic fundamental safeguards, patients suffer and very well may end up paying the ultimate price as all ten of these patients did.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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UK Firefighters Battle Blaze At Low-Rise Building In East London


The fire at Grenfell Tower had also spread rapidly, turning the building into a giant torch. (File)

London:  Ten fire engines and 72 firefighters were battling a blaze in east London on Saturday after flames engulfed a third-floor apartment in a low-rise block of buildings, injuring one man who was taken to hospital.

Britain has been rocked in recent days by a fire which killed at least 79 people when it engulfed a 24-storey building in west London on June 14, trapping residents in their beds as they slept.

That fire at Grenfell Tower spread rapidly, turning the burning building into a giant torch and terrifying residents.

The worst fire to hit the capital since World War Two has prompted a nationwide review of high-rise buildings after police said the cladding used on Grenfell had failed all safety checks.

The London Fire Brigade, which is also working to evacuate residents from an estate in north London found to have similar cladding to Grenfell, said it had been called on Saturday to a building in Bethnal Green, east London, where the third floor apartment and roof were on fire.

It had received 50 calls to its emergency telephone line.

“Firefighters from Bethnal Green and surrounding fire stations are attending the scene,” they said in a statement. “The cause of the fire is not known at this stage.

“The whole of a flat on the third floor and roof is also alight. A man has been taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service crews.”

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Ros Russell)
 

© Thomson Reuters 2017

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Pakistan Issues Its First Transgender Passport


The passport was issued to Farzana Riaz, a transgender in northwestern Peshawar city.

Pakistan has issued its first third-gender passport to a transgender activist, who hailed the move as a step forward for the marginalised community in the deeply conservative South Asian country.

Farzana Riaz, a transgender in northwestern Peshawar city, said the new passport would help her campaign globally on behalf of her community, who are also known as khawajasiras — an umbrella term in Pakistan denoting a third sex that includes transsexuals, transvestites and eunuchs. 

“I have received my passport which mentions my gender as X and not as a male or female,” Farzana told AFP on Saturday. 

“Earlier I had a passport which had described my gender as a male. But this time I told the authorities that I won’t accept my passport if it doesn’t identify me as a transgender,” the 30-year-old co-founder and president of rights organisation TransAction said.

“Now it will be more convenient for me to travel abroad because earlier I faced problems at international airports because of a contradiction in my appearance and sex mention on my passport,” she added.

Modern-day Pakistani transgender people claim to be cultural heirs of the eunuchs who thrived at the courts of the Mughal emperors that ruled the Indian subcontinent for two centuries until the British arrived in the 19th century and banned them.

In 2009, Pakistan became one of the first countries in the world to legally recognise a third sex, allowing transgenders to obtain identity cards, while several have also run in elections. 

They number at least half a million people in the country, according to several studies.

Like Farzana, many earn their living by being called upon for rituals such as blessing newborns or to bring life to weddings and parties as dancers — and, sometimes, in more clandestine ways. 

But despite these signs of integration they live daily as pariahs, often reduced to begging and prostitution, subjected to extortion and discrimination. 

Meanwhile homosexuality, prohibited by Islam, is punishable by 10 years imprisonment or even 100 lashes in Pakistan.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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UK Parliament Cuts E-Mail Access After Cyberattack


UK Parliament has disabled remote access to protect the network.

London, United Kingdom:  Britain’s parliament shut down external access to e-mail accounts on Saturday following a cyberattack.

A House of Commons spokeswoman said that “the Houses of Parliament have discovered unauthorised attempts to access parliamentary user accounts.

“We have systems in place to protect member and staff accounts and are taking the necessary steps to protect our systems.

“Parliament has disabled remote access to protect the network,” she said.

The threat follows reports in British media, including the Times, that hackers were selling passwords for MPs online.

Liberal Democrat lawmaker Chris Rennard tweeted that there was a “cyber security attack on Westminster; Parliamentary e-mails may not work remotely.”

The National Crime Agency said it was “aware of a possible cyber incident affecting parliament”.

International Trade Minister Liam Fox told ITV News said it was a “warning to everyone we need more security and better passwords”.

Fox told the BBC: “We know that our public services are attacked so it is not at all surprising that there should be an attempt to hack into parliamentary emails”.

A global ransomware attack last month hit hundreds of thousands of computers, including hospitals in Britain that were forced to shut down, divert emergency cases and postpone operations.

The so-called WannaCry ransomware locked access to user files and in an on-screen message demanded payment of $300 (275 euros) in the virtual currency Bitcoin in order to decrypt the files.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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In Iraq's Mosul, Ghostly Civilians Emerge From Old City Hell


Mosul:  They all say they are back from “hell”. Quivering and emaciated, the civilians emerging from Mosul’s Old City have survived famine but often lost relatives and sometimes their sanity.

They come in small groups, dropped off by the armoured vehicles of the Iraqi security forces on dusty, deserted streets where emergency field clinics are set up.

A few hundred metres away, fighting rages in the alleyways of old Mosul, where die-hard ISIS group jihadists are mounting a desperate defence of their last redoubt in the city.

Elite Iraqi fighters backed by jets and special forces from a US-led anti-ISIS coalition massively outnumber and outgun the jihadists, who at this stage in the battle owe their survival to an estimated 100,000 civilians they are using as human shields.
 

An Iraqi forces member aims his gun towards an ISIS position in the Old City of Mosul

With every home they retake, the security forces free families they often find holed up in their basements to shelter from the deluge of munitions that has been falling on the area since a push into the Old City was launched on June 18.

Adding to the constant threat of their homes collapsing over their heads from bombs, missiles or shells, ISIS has not hesitated to shoot down civilians to prevent them from fleeing.

Once their identity has been checked, rescued families are moved to a field clinic, where children devour the biscuits soldiers give them.

The adults, some of them with protruding bones and sunken eyes that speak of the famine they left behind, look shellshocked.

One woman wrapped in black lets out a hysterical, lonely howl of despair: “Too many innocents have been killed.”

“We’re back from the dead,” says Amir, a 32-year-old man with a sickly grey complexion, shaking like a leaf between his sons Qusay and Hassan, aged two and four.

He shows a few crumbs in the bottom of a tin cup that he kept like it was a priceless treasure: “This is what we’ve been eating for weeks.”

Umm Nashwan, a frail woman in her sixties, explains how she fed her family by mixing flour with water and baking the resulting dough.

She says she had only one obsession recently: “I just wanted to forget hunger”.

‘Take all my blood’

“They live hidden in their basements and are almost starving to death,” says one officer with the federal Iraqi forces. “Some of them resort to eating grass, others even eat dogs.”

“Most IDPs (internally displaced persons) suffer from malnutrition and dehydration, kids above all,” says Ahmed Diran, one of several volunteers at the emergency clinic.

“Adults often come in hysterical condition, crying and shouting, because nearly all of them have lost three to four family members,” he says.
 

mosul isis war

Iraqi forces advance through Mosul during the ongoing offensive to retake the last district  held by the ISIS.

“It’s getting worse and worse. And it may get very much worse because all civilians are now trapped with jihadists in a limited number of buildings, so more vulnerable,” Diran explains.

The reception that rescued civilians get however is sometimes tainted by suspicion, with large sections of the Iraqi public arguing that whoever did not flee ISIS’s brutal “caliphate” in three years was agreeable to it.

A suicide bomb attack by a jihadist who blended in with fleeing civilians on Friday and killed at least 12 people has only added to the tension.

An umpteenth humvee comes screeching to a halt to offload a young couple carrying a small inert body covered in blood.

The woman in a black abaya and pink veil collapses on a chair and shouts at the soldiers: “We’ve been waiting for you for months, what took you so long?”

The blood of her child, who was aged around six and killed by a stray bullet or a sniper a few blocks away, drips heavily down her arms.

“It’s my only child, save him, I beg you. Take all my blood if you have to,” she screams, banging her head against a wall.

The couple say they decided to risk being shot by ISIS to flee the Old City after two of their close relatives were killed by shelling.

The distressed mother recalls how happy her son was at the prospect. “He was hungry, he said: ‘I want to say hello to the soldiers and get biscuits from them’.”



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15 Dead, Over 100 Missing In China Landslide


Rescuers pulled 15 bodies from an avalanche of rocks that buried a mountain village in southwest China on Saturday as an increasingly bleak search for some 100 people carried into the night.

Only three survivors — a couple and their one-month-old baby — have been found so far after 62 homes in Xinmo village vanished under a mass of mud and rocks in Sichuan province.

Heavy rain caused the side of the mountain to collapse onto the riverside village in the early morning, according to authorities.

Qiao Dashi, the baby’s father, said he had woken up after 5:00 am to change his crying son’s diaper when he “heard a big noise coming from the back”.

“The house shook,” he told state broadcaster CCTV from his hospital bed. “Rocks were in the living room. My wife and I climbed over, took the baby, and got out.”

“I have superficial injuries. Overall, I’m okay. But psychologically, it’s hard. The entire village, with dozens of families, was flattened,” he said, with a bandage around his head.

The rescue operation’s headquarters reported that 15 people had been found dead by the late evening, according to the official Xinhua news agency. 

The Maoxian, or Mao county, government said earlier that six people died and 112 people were missing. Xinhua had reported that more than 120 were buried.

The landslide blocked a two-kilometre (one-mile) stretch of river and 1.6 kilometre of road, according to state media.

As night fell, authorities shined lamps onto the rubble while rescuers wore lights on their helmets as they sifted through the rocks, aided by sniffer dogs, according to photos from the official Xinhua news agency.

During the day, rescuers and local residents used ropes to move a boulder while others lifted rocks with their bare hands, according to videos broadcast by the Maoxian government and CCTV.

Nearly 2,000 police, soldiers and civilians were taking part in the rescue.

Bulldozers and excavators that were used earlier in the day stopped their work due to bad lighting as night fell, according to CCTV.

No sign of the village could be seen in aerial footage, which showed a grim and grey rock-strewn landscape covering the area where it once existed by a river.

“It’s the biggest landslide in this area since the Wenchuan earthquake,” said Wang Yongbo, one of the officials in charge of rescue efforts, referring to the disaster that killed 87,000 people in 2008 in a town in Sichuan.

More rain forecast

Local police captain Chen Tiebo said the heavy rains that hit the region in recent days had triggered the landslide.

“There are several tonnes of rock” over the village, he told CCTV.

“It’s a seismic area here. There’s not a lot of vegetation,” Chen said.

Trees can help absorb excess rain and prevent landslides.

Tao Jian, director of the local weather service, told CCTV that the 2008 earthquake had “weakened the mountain” and that even a small amount of rain could provoke a geological catastrophe.

President Xi Jinping called for rescuers to “spare no effort” in their search for survivors and prevent more disasters, state media said.

China’s national weather observatory said more heavy rain was expected in parts of Sichuan and other southwestern provinces.

More than 100 people living close to the landslide were being evacuated on Saturday night, Xinhua reported.

Past disasters

Landslides are a frequent danger in rural and mountainous parts of China, particularly at times of heavy rains. 

At least 12 people were killed in January when a landslide crushed a hotel in central Hubei province.

More than 70 were killed by a landslide in the southern commercial hub of Shenzhen in December 2015, caused by the improper storage of waste.

One of the deadliest landslides took place in 1991, when 216 were killed in southwestern Yunnan province.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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UK Parliament Under Cyber Attack


British media had reported earlier that hackers were selling passwords for MPs online.

London:  British lawmakers on Saturday said they were unable to access their e-mail accounts remotely as parliament’s security team battled against a cyber attack.

Liberal Democrat lawmaker Chris Rennard tweeted that there was a “cyber security attack on Westminster; Parliamentary e-mails may not work remotely.”

A House of Commons spokesman confirmed that “the Houses of Parliament have discovered unauthorised attempts to access parliamentary user accounts.

“We have systems in place to protect member and staff accounts and are taking the necessary steps to protect our systems,” it added.

The threat follows reports in British media, including the Times, that hackers were selling passwords for MPs online.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Six Dead, Over 100 Missing In China Landslide


Beijing:  Rescuers scoured through an avalanche of rocks into the night on Saturday in an increasingly bleak search for more than 100 people whose southwest China mountain village was buried by a huge landslide.

At least six bodies were pulled from the rubble while just three survivors — a couple and their one-month-old baby — were found after 62 homes in Xinmo village vanished under a mass of mud and rocks.

Heavy rain caused the side of the mountain to collapse onto the riverside village in the early morning, according to authorities.

Qiao Dashi, the baby’s father, said he had woken up after 5:00 am to change his crying son’s diaper when he “heard a big noise coming from the back”.

“The house shook,” he told state broadcaster CCTV from his hospital bed. “Rocks were in the living room. My wife and I climbed over, took the baby, and got out.”

“I have superficial injuries. Overall, I’m okay. But psychologically, it’s hard. The entire village, with dozens of families, was flattened,” he said, with a bandage around his head.

The Maoxian, or Mao county, government said six bodies were found while 112 people remained missing. State media had earlier revised the number of missing people down from 141 to over 120.

The landslide blocked a two-kilometre (one-mile) stretch of river and 1.6 kilometre of road, according to state media.

As night fell, authorities shined lamps onto the rubble while rescuers wore lights on their helmets as they sifted through the rocks, aided by sniffer dogs, according to photos from the official Xinhua news agency.

During the day, rescuers and local residents used ropes to move a boulder while others lifted rocks with their bare hands, according to videos broadcast by the Maoxian government and CCTV.

Nearly 2,000 police, soldiers and civilians were taking part in the rescue.

Bulldozers and excavators that were used earlier in the day stopped their work due to bad lighting as night fell, according to CCTV.

No sign of the village could be seen in aerial footage, which showed a grim and grey rock-strewn landscape covering the area where it once existed by a river.

“It’s the biggest landslide in this area since the Wenchuan earthquake,” said Wang Yongbo, one of the officials in charge of rescue efforts, referring to the disaster that killed 87,000 people in 2008 in a town in Sichuan.

More rain forecast

Local police captain Chen Tiebo said the heavy rains that hit the region in recent days had triggered the landslide.

“There are several tonnes of rock” over the village, he told CCTV.

“It’s a seismic area here. There’s not a lot of vegetation,” Chen said.

Trees can help absorb excess rain and prevent landslides.

Tao Jian, director of the local weather service, told CCTV that the 2008 earthquake had “weakened the mountain” and that even a small amount of rain could provoke a geological catastrophe.

President Xi Jinping called for rescuers to “spare no effort” in their search for survivors and prevent more disasters, state media said.

China’s national weather observatory said more heavy rain was expected in parts of Sichuan and other southwestern provinces.

More than 100 people living close to the landslide were being evacuated on Saturday night, Xinhua reported.

Past disasters

Landslides are a frequent danger in rural and mountainous parts of China, particularly at times of heavy rains. 

At least 12 people were killed in January when a landslide crushed a hotel in central Hubei province.

In October landslides battered eastern China in the wake of torrential rains brought by Typhoon Megi, causing widespread damage and killing at least eight.  

More than 70 were killed by a landslide in the southern commercial hub of Shenzhen in December 2015, caused by the improper storage of waste.

One of the deadliest landslides took place in 1991, when 216 were killed in southwestern Yunnan province.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Arconic Inc Knowingly Supplied Flammable Panels In London Tower: Report


London:  Six emails sent by and to an Arconic Inc sales manager raise questions about why the company supplied combustible cladding to a distributor for use at Grenfell Tower, despite publicly warning such panels were a fire risk for tall buildings.

The emails, dating from 2014 and seen by Reuters, were between Deborah French, Arconic’s UK sales manager, and executives at the contractors involved in the bidding process for the refurbishment contract at Grenfell Tower in London, where 79 people died in a blaze last week.

When asked about the emails, Arconic said in a statement that it had known the panels would be used at Grenfell Tower but that it was not its role to decide what was or was not compliant with local building regulations.

The company manufactures three main types of Reynobond panel– one with a polyethylene (PE) core, one with a fire retardant core and another with a non-combustible core, according to its website.

Diagrams in a 2016 Arconic brochure for its Reynobond panels describe how PE core panels are suitable up to 10 metres in height. Panels with a fire resistant core — the FR model — can be used up to 30 metres, while above that height, panels with the non-combustible core — the A2 model — should be used, the brochure says.

Grenfell Tower is more than 60 metres tall.

The brochure also issued a blunt warning that cladding can be a fire risk. “When conceiving a building, it is crucial to choose the adapted products in order to avoid the fire to spread to the whole building. Especially when it comes to facades and roofs, the fire can spread extremely rapidly,” the brochure said.

“As soon as the building is higher than the fire fighters’ladders, it has to be conceived with an incombustible material.”

Nonetheless, between May and July 2014, French, who was based at Arconic’s factory in Merxheim, France, responded to requests from the companies involved in refurbishing Grenfell Tower on the availability of samples of five different types of Reynobond aluminium-covered panels, all of which were only available in the combustible PE and FR versions, according to Arconic brochures.

In the end, Arconic said today, the company provided PE panels.

“While we publish general usage guidelines, regulations and codes vary by country and need to be determined by the local building code experts,” the company said in an emailed statement in response to the Reuters enquiry.

“The loss of lives, injuries and destruction following the Grenfell Tower fire are devastating, and we would like to express our deepest sympathies to everyone affected by this tragedy … We will fully support the authorities as they investigate this tragedy,” the statement said.

French did not respond to requests for comment.

Arconic, which was known as Alcoa Inc until 2016, declined to say if it knew how tall the tower was and the emails seen by Reuters do not specifically refer to its height. They do, however, refer to “Grenfell Tower” and mention other high rise projects where panelling has been used when discussing the appearance that was being sought for Grenfell Tower.

Arconic also knew the quantity of panels being supplied and thus the total exterior coverage. A source at one of the companies involved in the process said Arconic had “full involvement” throughout the contract bidding process.

Omnis Exteriors, Arconic’s UK distributor, Harley Facades Ltd., the company which installed the panels, Rydon Group, the overall contractor on the 2014-2016 Grenfell refurbishment, and the local authority which owns the tower block all declined to comment.

Rydon and Omnis have previously said in statements that their work on the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, which was intended to give the building better heat and sound insulation, complied with all building regulations. Harley said last week it was “not aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding to the tower”.

In the emails, French and representatives of Harley, Omnis and Rydon also discuss the choice of panel models and colours and how they were inching towards securing the contract with the local authority, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC).

Harris did not respond to requests for comment. RBKC declined to comment.

At the weekend, British finance minister Philip Hammond said the type of panels used, which are cheaper than non-combustible panels, were banned for use in high rise buildings in Britain, as they are in Europe and the United States.

Safety experts say the regulations are not black and white as they consider the overall safety of a project, taking account of how the safety measures taken interact.

This ‘principles-based’ approach is different to the highly specific ‘rules-based’ approach to regulation taken in the United States.

The fatal fire was started by a faulty Hotpoint fridge-freezer in one of the apartments, London police said on Friday. Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said insulation on the building, and the cladding panels, had failed safety tests carried out after the disaster.

The police investigation was considering the possibility of manslaughter and criminal offences in respect of the fire.

© Thomson Reuters 2017



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French Journalist Wounded In Mosul Has Died: France Televisions


French journalist Veronique Robert died because of her wounds.

Paris, France:  Journalist Veronique Robert, wounded in the same landmine blast that killed two colleagues in the Iraqi city of Mosul earlier this week, has died, employers France Televisions announced Saturday.

Robert had been operated on in Iraq and then flown back for treatment in France overnight Thursday to Friday, but died of her wounds, the public broadcaster said in a statement.

French colleague Stephan Villeneuve, 48, and Iraqi Kurdish reporter Bakhtiyar Addad, 41, were also killed in Monday’s blast.

All three were working for production company #5 Bis Productions on a programme for the French news show Envoye Special, aired on public television channel France 2.

A fourth journalist with them, Samuel Forey, suffered light injuries.

French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen paid tribute to a “great war correspondent”, in a post on the ministerial Twitter account.

Robert, 54, was an experienced war correspondent specialising in coverage of the Middle East, Iraq in particular, said the statement from France Televisions.

She worked for several news outlets in France and Switzerland, including Le Figaro newspaper and Paris Match magazine. Robert has two adult sons.

The journalists were accompanying Iraqi special forces during the battle for Mosul, where jihadists from the Islamic State group entrenched in the narrow streets of the Old City have set numerous booby traps.

France Televisions and #5 Bis Productions paid tribute to Robert’s work and offered their condolences to her family in the statement.

Emilie Raffoul, a producer at #5 Bis Productions, told AFP: “She was someone who was very determined.”

On Tuesday, the day after the landmine blast, Raffoul flew to Iraq to take care of Robert, along with colleagues from France Televisions.

The US doctors who had treated her at a military hospital said that even in a coma, Robert seemed mentally very strong, she added.

‘Extremely rigorous’

“She was used to combat zones, she was a professional war (correspondent) who had covered several conflicts, a specialist in the Middle East,” said Raffoul, who worked with Robert for around 15 years.

“She was extremely rigorous in the preparation of her reports,” she added.

Robert’s producer Nicolas Jaillard wrote in a Facebook post that they had been hoping for better news.

“The word sadness is not enough to describe how we feel,” he added.

Reporters without Borders (RSF), the Paris-based media rights watchdog, also saluted her.

In comments on his Twitter account RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire lamented too many foreign correspondents killed on the front line.

According to RSF’s own tally, Robert’s death brings to 29 the number of journalists killed in Iraq since 2014.

On Tuesday, the French president’s office announced that Villeneuve would be posthumously awarded the Knight of the Legion of Honour, one of France’s highest honours.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Five Dead, 120 People Missing In China Landslide


The landslide, which occurred following heavy rains in the region, struck 62 homes. (AFP photo)

Beijing, China:  At least five people were found dead and over 120 remained missing hours after a massive landslide buried a mountain village in southwest China on Saturday as rescuers scoured through rocks for survivors.

A couple and a baby were rescued and taken to hospital after dozens of homes in the village of Xinmo were swallowed by boulders when the side of a mountain collapsed, according to the local Maoxian, or Mao county, government.

A fourth survivor was found but rescuers were still trying to get to him hours after heavy rain triggered the avalanche of rock in Sichuan province, officials said.

Wu Xiaobin, captain of the local fire department, told state broadcaster CCTV that five bodies were pulled from the rubble.

The early morning landslide, which occurred following heavy rains in the region, struck 62 homes and blocked a two-kilometre (one-mile) stretch of river and 1.6 kilometre of road, according to state media.

Rescuers used ropes to move a massive rock while dozens of others, aided by dogs, searched the rubble for survivors, according to videos posted online by the Maoxian government and CCTV.

Bulldozers and heavy diggers were also deployed to remove boulders, the images showed. Medics were seen treating a woman on a road. Hundreds of police, military and firefighters were taking part in the rescue.

More than 120 people were still missing hours after the landslide, CCTV and China’s official news agency Xinhua reported. State media had earlier reported that 141 people may have been buried but did not explain why the figure had been revised.

Wang Yongbo, one of the officials in charge of rescue efforts, said the vital signs of one of the survivors “are weak”.

“It’s the biggest landslide in this area since the Wenchuan earthquake,” he said, referring to the disaster that killed 87,000 people in 2008 in a town in Sichuan.

More rain forecast

Local police captain Chen Tiebo said the heavy rains that hit the region in recent days had triggered the landslide.

“There are several tonnes of rock” over the village, he told CCTV.

“It’s a seismic area here. There’s not a lot of vegetation,” Chen said.

Trees can help absorb excess rain and prevent landslides.

Tao Jian, director of the local weather service, told CCTV that the 2008 earthquake had “weakened the mountain” and that “a weak rain can provoke a geological catastrophe”.

President Xi Jinping called for rescuers to “spare no effort” in their search for survivors, according to CCTV.

China’s national weather observatory said more heavy rain was expected in parts of Sichuan and other southwestern provinces.

Past disasters

Landslides are a frequent danger in rural and mountainous parts of China, particularly at times of heavy rains.

At least 12 people were killed in January when a landslide crushed a hotel in central Hubei province.

In October landslides battered eastern China in the wake of torrential rains brought by Typhoon Megi, causing widespread damage and killing at least eight.  

More than 70 were killed by a landslide in the southern commercial hub of Shenzhen in December 2015, caused by the improper storage of waste.

One of the deadliest landslides took place in 1991, when 216 were killed in southwestern Yunnan province.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Japan Media Mourns Death Of Cancer-Fighting Newsreader


Mao Kobayashi aged 34 died because of breast cancer on Thrusday.

Tokyo, Japan:  The death of a former newsreader who won acclaim for blogging about her breast cancer fight hit the headlines Saturday in Japan, with the media and officials praising her courage.

Mao Kobayashi died Thursday aged 34, her husband and popular kabuki actor, Ebizo Ichikawa, said Friday at a nationally televised news conference attended by about 400 reporters.

Kobayashi shocked the country in September with her blog titled “Kokoro” – or heart — after concealing her illness from the public for about two years.

Her blog racked up millions of registered readers on one of Japan’s biggest blog platforms as she chronicled her painful battle, posting pictures of her with tubes on the face and a wig for hair loss because of anti-cancer treatment.

She was later named in the 2016 edition of the BBC’s 100 Women list of inspirational and influential female figures.

“I decided to say goodbye to myself who hid behind (cancer),” Kobayashi, a mother of two, wrote in her first post.

The Mainichi Shimbun said on its front page that her blog, which attracted media attention with every update, became a social phenomenon.

The Nikkei business daily, quoting the head of a breast cancer patient support group, called her blog “courageous” because a number of cancer sufferers concealed their illness in Japan.

Japan’s top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said: “It’s so regrettable (but) I’m sure that her fighting stance against the disease encouraged a lot of patients.”

A tearful Ichikawa told the news conference: “She passed away just saying,’I love you.'”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Istanbul Gay Pride Banned For 'Safety Concerns': Sources


Riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who defied the ban.(Reuters)

Istanbul, Turkey:  Turkish authorities said on Saturday that an annual Gay Pride march in Istanbul’s Taksim Square would be banned due to ‘safety concerns’, defying the calls of organisers.

Activists had called for the march for 5 pm (1400 GMT) on Sunday but the city governor’s office said that Taksim was not an official rallying ground.

“There will be no permission for a demonstration or a march on the said date considering the safety of tourists in the area… and public order,” it said in a statement.

Authorities also urged citizens to ignore calls to participate in the parade and abide by the security forces’ warning.

Last year, organisers were denied permission to march with the city on the edge over bombings blamed on ISIS group and Kurdish terrorist, sparking anger from gay rights activists.

Riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who defied the ban.

This year, the march coincides with the first day of the Islamic feast of Eid al-Fitr, and far right groups have warned on social media against the parade.

Thousands took part in previous Istanbul pride marches, which were among the most significant LGBT events in the mainly Muslim region.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Sikh Woman Becomes First Turbaned Supreme Court Judge In Canada


Palbinder Kaur Shergill is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Community Service. (File)

Canberra:  Indian-origin Sikh human rights advocate Palbinder Kaur Shergill has been appointed a judge at the Supreme Court of British Columbia in New Westminster. Ms Shergill is the first turbaned Sikh to be appointed to the judiciary in Canada.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the appointment on Friday under the new judicial application process announced on October 20 last year.

Welcoming the decision, World Sikh Organisation (WSO) President Mukhbir Singh said: “The appointment of Justice Shergill is another milestone for the Sikh community in Canada. It is a matter of great pride that today we have the first turbaned Sikh appointed to the judiciary in Canada.”

The appointment was made with immediate effect as Justice Shergill replaces Justice EA Arnold-Bailey, who retired on May 31, a report by news portal Voice Online said.

Regarded as a leading human rights advocate, she has been instrumental in helping shape human rights and religious accommodation law in Canada through her work as general legal counsel for the WSO since 1991.

Prior to her appointment to the bench, Ms Shergill practised as a lawyer and mediator with her law firm, Shergill & Company, Trial Lawyers.

She has extensive trial and appellate experience and has appeared before courts and tribunals across the country, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Ms Shergill was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2012 and is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Community Service. She lives in Surrey with her husband, daughter and twin sons.

She was born in Punjab and immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of four. She grew up in Williams Lake, British Columbia, and received her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

Called to the British Columbia Bar in 1991, she has held leadership positions both within and outside the legal community. She has been involved with the Cabinet of Canadians, the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, and the Canadian Bar Association.



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UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn Will 'Try To Force Early Election'


Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to ‘try to force an early general election’. (Reuters)

London:  British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to “try to force an early general election” after Prime Minster Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority, in an interview published today.

Corbyn’s Labour Party outperformed expectations in this month’s election, turning what was predicted to be a procession for May into a disaster, severely weakening her authority as Britain kicks off crucial Brexit talks.

Jeremy Corbyn told the left-wing newspaper the Daily Mirror that it was “ludicrous” to believe the Conservatives’ minority government could survive, and that his party “will challenge this government at every step and try to force an early general election.”

A poll for the paper asking the public who would make the best prime minister has put Corbyn ahead for the first time, although other surveys have revealed little appetite for another vote after two tumultuous years for British voters.

May’s party is currently in negotiations with Northern Ireland’s DUP to secure an informal parliamentary deal that would give it an effective majority.

MPs will vote on May’s legislative agenda next week, and opposition parties have vowed to block her programme in what is traditionally seen as a test of confidence in the government.

Members of May’s own party are reportedly lined up to dump their leader if it looks like her government will lose the vote.

© Thomson Reuters 2017



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China, US Agree Aim Of 'Complete' North Korean Denuclearisation


US and China affirm for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. (Reuters)

Beijing:  China and the United States agreed that efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula should be “complete, verifiable and irreversible”, Chinese state media said today, reporting the results of high level talks in Washington this week.

“Both sides reaffirm that they will strive for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a consensus document released by the official Xinhua news agency said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said on Thursday that the United States pressed China to ramp up economic and political pressure on North Korea, during his meeting with top Chinese diplomats and defense chiefs.

China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui met Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis during the talks. Yang later met with US President Donald Trump in the White House, where they also discussed North Korea, Xinhua reported.

The consensus document also highlighted the need to fully and strictly hold to UN Security Council resolutions and push for dialogue and negotiation, which has long been China’s position on the issue.

Military-to-military exchanges should also be upgraded and mechanisms of notification established in order to cut the risks of “judgement errors” between the Chinese and US militaries, the statement also said.

Chinese state media described the talks, the first of their kind with the Trump administration, as an upgrade in dialogue mechanisms between China and the United States, following on from President Xi Jiping’s meeting with Trump in Florida in April.

Xi and Trump are next expected to meet again in Hamburg during the G20 Summit next month.

A day last week’s talks, President Donald Trump said China’s efforts to use its leverage with North Korea had failed, raising fresh doubts about his administration’s strategy for countering the threat from North Korea.

The death of American university student Otto Warmbier earlier this week, after his release from 17 months of imprisonment in Pyongyang, further complicated Trump’s approach to North Korea.

China, North Korea’s main trading partner, has been accused of not fully enforcing existing UN sanctions on its neighbour, and has resisted some tougher measures.

Washington has considered further “secondary sanctions” against Chinese banks and other firms doing business with North Korea, which China opposes.

 

© Thomson Reuters 2017



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