UAE marks 47th National Day by unveiling Sheikh Zayed’s statue in India

UAE ambassador to India Ahmed Al-Banna alongside the statue of the UAE founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Al-Nahyan. (Photo/UAE embassy)
Updated 03 December 2018
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UAE marks 47th National Day by unveiling Sheikh Zayed’s statue in India

  • Dr. Ahmed Al-Banna: As a national leader, Sheikh Zayed was widely respected as a man who sought endlessly to promote peace and reconciliation

NEW DELHI: To mark the 47th National Day of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a statue of its visionary leader and founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan was unveiled in India’s capital New Delhi on Saturday evening.
“The 47th National Day of the UAE coincides with the 100th birth anniversary of our loving founding father ‘Sheikh Zayed bin Al Nahyan,” says Dr. Ahmed Al-Banna, the UAE ambassador to India.
“In 2018, we are celebrating as ‘The year of Zayed’ so to make this event more memorable and significant, we specially unveiled the sculpture of Sheikh Zayed on this auspicious day,” said the envoy in an interview with Arab News.
“As a national leader, Sheikh Zayed was widely respected as a man who sought endlessly to promote peace and reconciliation. The UAE’s image is founded on a core belief system of tolerance and coexistence,” he said.
“Our belief in his vision gives the UAE its unique ability to welcome different races, religions, and cultures without abandoning its social and cultural identity,” added Ambassador Al-Banna.
He underlined that the late sheik’s “principles of peace” are the elements required for maintaining peace and for a better future for our next generation at a time when we face wars and internal and external conflicts.
Arzan Khambatta, the famous Indian artist who sculpted the statue feels “privileged to be part of this project.”
“It was an honor for me to be selected to make a sculpture of someone as big as Sheikh Zayed,” Khambatta told Arab News.
“If you look at my works, I have been sculpting for the last 30 years now. I generally don’t do life sculptures. This is one of the very few ones that I have done,” said the Mumbai-based artist.
“I studied about Sheikh Zayed and found that his excellency was a leader of great foresight. The UAE that we see today was visualized by the king years back,” added Khambatta, whose art work can be found many corporate offices, public places and other landmarks.


US police overseers fire 4 officers in 1994 fatal shooting of black teenager

Updated 11 min 3 sec ago
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US police overseers fire 4 officers in 1994 fatal shooting of black teenager

  • Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson in 2016 accused the officers of either giving or approving knowingly false statements
  • The Laquan McDonald case has roiled the criminal justice system in Chicago

CHICAGO: The Chicago Police Board on Thursday fired four police officers for allegedly covering up a white officer’s 2014 fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald.
The nine-member board found the officers exaggerated the threat posed by the 17-year-old McDonald to justify his shooting by Jason Van Dyke and voted unanimously for the dismissal of Sgt. Stephen Franko, and officers Janet Mondragon and Ricardo Viramontes. All but one voted to fire Daphne Sebastian because of violations of department rules. She was not found to have made false reports.
The Fraternal Order of Police slammed the police board for its decision, contending the officers did nothing wrong.
“It is obvious that this police board has out-served its usefulness,” said the organization’s vice president Patrick Murray.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson in 2016 accused the officers of either giving or approving knowingly false statements. None of the four were charged criminally, however they were stripped of police powers and assigned to desk duty as their case proceeded. The firings can be appealed through a lawsuit.
A Cook County judge acquitted three other officers in January of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct charges in the case.
Former Officer Joseph Walsh, Officer Thomas Gaffney and former Detective David March were charged with obstruction of justice, conspiracy and official misconduct. Prosecutors said they lied to shield Van Dyke from prosecution. A judge rejected the contention that a video of McDonald’s death proved police officers staged a cover-up.
McDonald was allegedly high on PCP and carrying a small knife in 2014 when Van Dyke exited his squad car and almost immediately opened fire. Police video released in 2015 showed Van Dyke firing 16 bullets into McDonald, many after the teen had crumpled to the ground.
Franko was accused of approving false police reports that McDonald attempted to stab Van Dyke and another officer and had in fact injured Van Dyke.
Mondragon was accused of falsely reporting that she did not see the shooting of McDonald because she was shifting the gear of her squad car. She was also accused of incompetence for not inspecting the video equipment in her car to see if it was working and recording events.
Viramontes was accused of reporting that McDonald continued to move after he shot and that he tried to get up with the knife still in his hand. He held to his statement even when an investigator showed him a video of the shooting.
Sebastian was not found to have filed a false report. However, it was determined she gave misleading and inconsistent statements to investigators that McDonald turned toward Van Dyke and another officer with a knife in a motion toward them.
Jurors convicted Van Dyke of murder in October. He’s serving a more than six-year prison term.
Illinois’ Supreme Court denied a bid by the state’s attorney general and a special prosecutor to resentence Van Dyke. The prosecutors expressed the belief the sentence was too lenient for the crime.
The McDonald case has roiled the criminal justice system in Chicago. The then police superintendent, Gerry McCarty, was fired by then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the then top prosecutor, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, was ousted by voters. Many believe Emanuel decided against running for a third term because of the case. It also led to a US Justice Department investigation that found a “pervasive cover-up culture” and prompted plans for far-reaching police reforms.