Six dead in Philadelphia and Tennessee in latest US mass shootings

Philadelphia Police investigators work the scene of a fatal overnight shooting on South Street in Philadelphia, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (AP)
Philadelphia Police investigators work the scene of a fatal overnight shooting on South Street in Philadelphia, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (AP)
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Updated 06 June 2022

Six dead in Philadelphia and Tennessee in latest US mass shootings

Philadelphia Police investigators work the scene of a fatal overnight shooting on South Street in Philadelphia
  • Investigators believe one of the three killed was involved in “a physical altercation” with another man, and those two began firing at each other, with both struck by gunfire, Outlaw said

PHILADELPHIA: Mass shootings in Pennsylvania and Tennessee killed at least six people and wounded more than 25, police said on Sunday in the latest cases of US gun violence after recent massacres in Texas, New York and Oklahoma.
Multiple shooters opened fire in Philadelphia’s busy South Street, an area filled with bars and restaurants, shortly before midnight on Saturday. Two men and a woman were killed, officials said, with two of the dead and most if not all of the wounded being innocent bystanders.
Surveillance video showed people on a crowded street running in panic in the closing moments of the 22-second clip, presumably after gunshots were fired. The clip had no audio. Reuters was able to verify the video using geolocation.
Likewise in Chattanooga, Tennessee, shooting broke out as people were otherwise enjoying a Saturday night on the town, though the violence erupted after midnight.
No suspects were in custody in either shooting.
In yet another shooting in the early hours of Sunday, three people were killed in Saginaw, Michigan, Mlive.com reported, citing Saginaw police.
In the Chattanooga shooting, three people were dead and 14 suffered gunshot wounds, authorities said, adding that two people died from gunshot wounds and one person died from injuries after being struck by a vehicle while fleeing the scene.
Three victims were injured as they attempted to flee and were struck by vehicles, Tennessee officials said, adding several among the injured remained in critical condition.
The incidents followed recent shootings that killed 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York; 21 victims at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas; and four people at a medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Gun safety advocates are pushing the US government to take stronger measures to curb gun violence.
There have been at least 240 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group. It defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.
Philadelphia police reported at least three separate shooting incidents in the crowded South Street entertainment district on Saturday night, involving at least five shooters.
In the one deadly outburst, police believe two men got into a physical altercation and began shooting at each other, and one of those two was killed by gunfire. A police officer observed the other shooter firing into the crowd and fired at him.
Police believe that shooter was wounded as he dropped his gun, but he nevertheless escaped through the crowd, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told a news conference
“We’re still using every resource available to get to the bottom of what occurred, not just out there last night, but behind this gun violence in this city, period,” Outlaw said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney described the shooting as “horrendous, despicable and senseless.” The deceased were aged 22, 27 and 34 while the ages of the people wounded ranged from 17 to 69.
There were multiple shooters in Tennessee as well. Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy appealed for the public’s help, asking any witnesses to call a tip line.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday called on Congress to ban assault weapons, expand background checks and implement other gun control measures to address the string of mass shootings.
Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic US senator working on bipartisan gun safety talks, said on Sunday he thinks a package including investments in mental health and school safety and some changes to gun laws can pass Congress.
A broad majority of American voters, both Republicans and Democrats, favor stronger gun control laws, but Republicans in Congress and some moderate Democrats have blocked such legislation for years.


Founder of UK charity Penny Appeal visits Pakistan to review sustainable aid projects

Founder of UK charity Penny Appeal visits Pakistan to review sustainable aid projects
Updated 20 sec ago

Founder of UK charity Penny Appeal visits Pakistan to review sustainable aid projects

Founder of UK charity Penny Appeal visits Pakistan to review sustainable aid projects
  • Adeem Younis and two of his fellow trustees visited projects serving vulnerable people, including children, orphans and the elderly, and some of the 31 mosques established by the charity
  • ‘We all have a great love for Pakistan. There is so much beauty and so much potential, we all must play our part in helping lift our country up,’ said Mohammed Jehangir, chair of trustees

LONDON: The founder of UK-based humanitarian charity Penny Appeal, Adeem Younis, visited Pakistan recently to monitor and evaluate some of the development projects funded by the organization across the country with the aim of providing a sustainable and empowering route out of poverty.

The charity said it funds a diverse portfolio of relief projects in the country, including water wells, hunger relief, eye surgery, care for the elderly, homes for orphans and a number of schools.

“Now in its 13th year, the charity has helped transform the lives of over 20 million people around the world and has worked in 60 countries,” Penny Appeal said.

“To date, the charity has distributed an estimated £9.7 million ($10.7 million) in aid across Pakistan and been instrumental in disaster relief, as well as launching income-generating projects to support women and children in need.”

Younis, who was joined by fellow trustees Mohammed Jahangir and Irfan Rajput, visited some of Penny Appeal’s ongoing projects serving vulnerable groups including children, orphans and the elderly. The charity said it prioritizes projects that have long-term, multiplying effects on the lives of beneficiaries.

“With cutting-edge water-waste management for example, through its network of 9,334 kitchen gardens, the charity produces the equivalent of 65,000 meals every single day,” according to Penny Appeal.

“This is in addition to 18,645 tube wells benefiting 216,020 individuals, 461 deep wells benefiting 105,200 individuals, and 27 solar-powered wells and power centers benefiting 32,600 individuals.”

“We all have a great love for Pakistan,” said Mohammed Jehangir, the charity’s chair of trustees. “There is so much beauty and so much potential, we all must play our part in helping lift our country up.

“There is so much to do, no one person can do everything but we can all do something and this is the wonderful spirit of Penny Appeal, enabling everyone to play their part.”

The charity said that by focusing on sustainability, it has helped transform Zakat receivers into Zakat givers. In 2018, for example, it provided 168 pregnant goats to vulnerable families and widows in Vehari District, Punjab province, and four years later the number of goats has grown to 1,512. With the income, meat and milk the animals provide, Penny Appeal said, families who once struggled to feed their children are now able to support multiple families in addition to their own.

“As a child of this nation I’m very privileged to be asked to support Penny Appeal’s incredible work in Pakistan,” Rajput said.

“The charity brings a wealth of expertise and experience, and its multi-pronged approach to sustainable development will help those in need not just lift themselves out of poverty but lift generations of Pakistanis out of poverty for good.”

The trustees also visited a few of the 31 mosques established by the charity, which serve 31,800 people. In addition to providing places of worship they are also used to provide about 6,700 children with a comprehensive Islamic education.

The charity began in Pakistan, Younis said, and “it’s here where we draw our inspiration to serve vulnerable people and communities all over the world … we want to help people not just escape poverty but become agents of change in their own communities.”

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UN chief urges more effort to ensure access to Ukrainian grain

UN chief urges more effort to ensure access to Ukrainian grain
Updated 19 August 2022

UN chief urges more effort to ensure access to Ukrainian grain

UN chief urges more effort to ensure access to Ukrainian grain
  • Guterres called for unimpeded access to global markets for Russian food and fertilisers

KYIV: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday there was still much more to do to ensure full global access to Ukrainian food products and Russian food and fertilizers after a UN-brokered food export deal.
At a briefing in Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa, Guterres said developing countries needed help to purchase such grain and called for unimpeded access to global markets for Russian food and fertilizers which are not subject to sanctions.
“This is an agreement between two parties locked in bitter conflict. It is unprecedented in scope and scale. But there is still a long way to go on many fronts,” he said.
“It is time for massive and generous support so developing countries can purchase the food from this and other ports – and people can buy it,” he said.


Malaysian prosecutors rest case against ex-PM Najib Razak in final 1MDB appeal

Malaysian prosecutors rest case against ex-PM Najib Razak in final 1MDB appeal
Updated 19 August 2022

Malaysian prosecutors rest case against ex-PM Najib Razak in final 1MDB appeal

Malaysian prosecutors rest case against ex-PM Najib Razak in final 1MDB appeal
  • Najib Razak’s lawyers declined to present their case in court this week, citing insufficient time to prepare

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian prosecutors on Friday wrapped up their arguments against former premier Najib Razak’s final bid to overturn a 12-year jail sentence for corruption, saying he was aware that he had received funds from an “unlawful activity.”
Najib’s lawyers declined to present their case in court this week, citing insufficient time to prepare. They had submitted written arguments before the proceedings began.
It is unclear how the Federal Court will proceed when it resumes on Tuesday. It could potentially either deliver its verdict or set a new date for its decision.
Najib, 69, was convicted in July 2020 by a lower court for criminal breach of trust, abuse of power, and money laundering for illegally receiving about $10 million from a former unit of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Prosecutors have said some $4.5 billion were stolen from 1MDB — co-founded by Najib as premier in 2009 — in a wide-ranging scandal that has implicated officials and financial institutions around the world.
An appellate court last year upheld the guilty verdict against Najib but the former premier appealed again to the Federal Court, which began proceedings this week in what would be his final appeal.
Najib, who faces several trials over the allegations, has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His lawyers have argued in the lower courts that Najib was misled by 1MDB officials.
Najib “knew, or had reason to believe or had reasonable suspicion that the monies that he received in his bank accounts were proceeds from an unlawful activity,” lead prosecutor V. Sithambaram told the court.
Najib had replaced his legal team just three weeks before his appeal began on Monday.
After the prosecution wrapped up its arguments, Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat again asked Najib’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik to begin his submissions on Tuesday.
Hisyam declined.
Najib and Hisyam declined to comment after the day’s proceedings.


US lawmakers meet detained Philippine opposition leader

US lawmakers meet detained Philippine opposition leader
Updated 19 August 2022

US lawmakers meet detained Philippine opposition leader

US lawmakers meet detained Philippine opposition leader
  • Leila de Lima was charged with non-bailable drug cases that landed her in jail in February 2017

MANILA: US Sen. Edward Markey, who was once banned from the Philippines by former President Rodrigo Duterte, on Friday met a long-detained Filipino opposition leader, whom he says was wrongfully imprisoned under Duterte and should be freed.
Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and a group of US legislators met former Sen. Leila de Lima for more than an hour in her high-security detention cell in the main police camp in Metropolitan Manila, according to her lawyer, Filibon Tacardon, and police.
Details of their court-authorized meeting were not immediately available.
Duterte had banned Markey and two other American legislators from traveling to the Philippines after they called for de Lima’s release and raised alarm over human rights violations under his presidency. Duterte’s turbulent six-year term ended in June.
The former president’s brutal anti-drugs crackdown, which left thousands of mostly poor suspects dead, has sparked an investigation by the International Criminal Court.
Duterte was succeeded by Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who took office on June 30 following a landslide election victory with his vice presidential running mate Sara Duterte, the former president’s daughter.
Markey and his delegation met Marcos Jr. at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila on Thursday. After the meeting, Marcos Jr. said he looked forward “to continuing our partnership with the US in the areas of renewable energy use, agricultural development, economic reform, and mitigation of drug problems.”
A top critic of Duterte, the 62-year-old de Lima has been locked up for more than five years and has accused the former president and his then-deputies of fabricating the non-bailable drug-linked charges that landed her in jail in February 2017. Her arrest and detention effectively stopped her at the time as a senator from investigating the widespread killings under Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Duterte had insisted on her guilt, saying witnesses testified that she received payoffs from imprisoned drug lords. Several witnesses, however, have recently recanted their allegations against her, re-igniting calls for the Marcos Jr. administration to free her.
Markey, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations East Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, renewed deep concerns over human rights conditions under then-outgoing President Duterte in a joint statement in June with two other US senators.
They said then that the incoming administration of Marcos Jr. provided an “opportunity to reject the repression of the past, release Sen. Leila de Lima and embrace policies that support the rule of law and a vibrant free press in the Philippines.”
It was not immediately clear if Markey renewed his call for de Lima’s release in Thursday’s meeting with Marcos Jr. and how the Philippine leader responded.


No Tube: London subway hit by strike, day after rail walkout

No Tube: London subway hit by strike, day after rail walkout
Updated 19 August 2022

No Tube: London subway hit by strike, day after rail walkout

No Tube: London subway hit by strike, day after rail walkout
  • No subway trains were running on most of London’s Tube lines because of the strike over jobs, pay and pensions
  • Rail unions accuse Britain’s Conservative government of preventing train companies from making a better offer

LONDON: A strike by London Underground workers brought the British capital’s transit network to a grinding halt on Friday, a day after a nationwide walkout by railway staff. Another rail strike is scheduled for Saturday as the UK endures a summer of action by workers demanding pay increases to offset soaring food and energy price hikes.
No subway trains were running on most of London’s Tube lines because of the strike over jobs, pay and pensions by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, operator Transport for London said.
“It is going to be a difficult day,” said Nick Dent, TFL’s director of customer operations. “We’re advising customers not to travel on the Tube at all.”
There was also continuing disruption above ground as trains started to run again following Thursday’s strike by thousands of railway cleaners, signalers, maintenance workers and other staff. Only about a fifth of trains ran during the 24-hour walkout, the latest in a series of strikes on Britain’s railways.
Rail unions accuse Britain’s Conservative government of preventing train companies — which are privately owned but heavily regulated — from making a better offer. The government denies meddling, but says rail companies need to cut costs and staffing after two years in which emergency government funding kept them afloat.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Times Radio that “it’s a kick in the teeth” to the public for unions “to turn round after we provided 16 billion pounds of support for the railways and go ‘Right, well, the next thing we’re going to do is go on strike.’”
More public- and private-sector unions are planning strikes as Britain faces its worst cost-of-living crisis in decades. Postal workers, lawyers, British Telecom staff and port workers have all announced walkouts for later this month.
Garbage collectors and recycling workers in Edinburgh, Scotland, began an 11-day strike on Thursday, warning that trash will pile up in the streets as tourists flock to the city for the Edinburgh Fringe and other arts festivals.
UK inflation hit a new 40-year high of 10.1 percent in July, and the Bank of England says it could rise to 13 percent amid a recession later this year. The average UK household fuel bill has risen more than 50 percent so far in 2022 as Russia’s war in Ukraine squeezes global oil and natural gas supplies. Another increase is due in October, when the average bill is forecast to hit 3,500 pounds ($4,300) a year.