Road accident in India leaves 27 dead: reports

Road accident in India leaves 27 dead: reports
Rescue teams search for survivors after a bus plunged into a canal killing at least 37 passengers in February 2021 in India, where on Saturday when a tractor pulling a trolley packed with pilgrims plunged into a pond, killing 27 people. (AFP/File)
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Updated 01 October 2022

Road accident in India leaves 27 dead: reports

Road accident in India leaves 27 dead: reports
  • The accident in the city of Kanpur in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh left another 22 people injured
  • Other news media gave slightly lower death tolls

NEW DELHI: A tractor pulling a trolley packed with pilgrims returning from a shrine in India overturned Saturday and plunged into a pond, killing as many as 27 people, Indian media reported.
The accident in the city of Kanpur in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh left another 22 people injured, The Times of India reported.
Other news media gave slightly lower death tolls.
The tractor-trolley was bringing Hindu pilgrims back from the Chandrika Devi temple, reports said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences in a tweet.
“Distressed by the tractor-trolley mishap took place in Kanpur. My thoughts are with all those who have lost their near and dear ones and prayers with the injured,” Modi said.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said this kind of vehicle — a tractor pulling a large cart — should be used only to transport farm goods and freight, not people, The Hindu said.
“The road accident in Kanpur district is very heart-wrenching,” he said.


Tyre Nichols case revives calls for change in US police culture

Tyre Nichols case revives calls for change in US police culture
Updated 18 sec ago

Tyre Nichols case revives calls for change in US police culture

Tyre Nichols case revives calls for change in US police culture
  • The unarmed black man's fatal encounter with police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, was recorded in video made public Friday
  • The five Black officers are now fired and charged with murder and other crimes in the Jan. 10 death of FedEx worker Nichols

MEMPHIS, Tennessee: An unarmed Black man dies after a videotaped beating by police. The officers involved are fired. After a thorough review of the evidence, criminal charges are swiftly filed against the offending officers.
Investigation, accountability and charges.
This is often the most Black citizens can hope for as the deaths continue. Nationwide, police have killed roughly three people per day consistently since 2020, according to academics and advocates for police reform who track such deaths.
Tyre Nichols’ fatal encounter with police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, recorded in video made public Friday night, is a glaring reminder that efforts to reform policing have failed to prevent more flashpoints in an intractable epidemic of brutality.
Nearly 32 years ago, Rodney King’s savage beating by police in Los Angeles prompted heartfelt calls for change. They’ve been repeated in a ceaseless rhythm ever since, punctuated by the deaths of Amadou Diallo in New York, Oscar Grant in Oakland, California, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and so many others.
George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis in 2020 was so agonizing to watch, it summoned a national reckoning that featured federal legislation proposed in his name and shows of solidarity by corporations and sports leagues. All fell short of the shift in law enforcement culture Black people in America have called for — a culture that promotes freedom from fear, trust in police and mutual respect.
“We need public safety, right? We need law enforcement to combat pervasive crime,” said Jason Turner, senior pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis. “Also, we don’t want the people who are sworn to protect and serve us brutalizing us for a simple traffic stop, or any offense.”
The five Black officers are now fired and charged with murder and other crimes in the Jan. 10 death of Nichols, a 29-year-old skateboarder, FedEx worker and father to a 4-year-old boy.
From police brass and the district attorney’s office to the White House, officials said Nichols’ killing points to a need for bolder reforms that go beyond simply diversifying the ranks, changing use-of-force rules and encouraging citizens to file complaints.
“The world is watching us,” Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said. “If there is any silver lining to be drawn from this very dark cloud, it’s that perhaps this incident can open a broader conversation about the need for police reform.”
President Joe Biden joined national civil rights leaders in similar calls to action.
“To deliver real change, we must have accountability when law enforcement officers violate their oaths, and we need to build lasting trust between law enforcement, the vast majority of whom wear the badge honorably, and the communities they are sworn to serve and protect,” the president said.
But Memphis, whose 628,000 residents celebrate barbecue and blues music and lament being the place where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, has seen this before. The city took steps advocates called for in a “Reimagine Policing” initiative in 2021, and mirrored a set of policy changes reformers want all departments to implement immediately, known as “8 Can’t Wait.”
De-escalation training is now required. Officers are told to limit uses of force, exhaust all alternatives before resorting to deadly force and report all uses of force. Tennessee also took action: State law now requires officers to intervene to stop abuse and report excessive force by their colleagues.
Showing unusual transparency for a police department, the MPD now publishes accountability reports that include the race of people subjected to use of force each year. They show Black men and women were overwhelmingly targeted for rougher treatment in 2019, 2020 and 2021. They were subject to nearly 86 percent of the recorded uses of guns, batons, pepper spray, physical beatings and other force in 2021, the total nearly doubling that year to 1,700 cases.
Seven uses of force by Memphis police ended in death during these three years.
“I don’t know how much more cumulative Black death our community should have to pay to convince elected officials that the policing system isn’t broken — it’s working exactly as it was designed to, at the expense of Black life,” said Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, co-executive director of the Highlander Research and Education Center, a Tennessee-based civil rights leadership training school.
The Nichols case — just one of the brutality cases to make national news this month — exposes an uncomfortable truth: More than two years since the deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks touched off protests, policing reforms have not significantly reduced such killings.
States approved nearly 300 police reform bills after Floyd’s murder, creating civilian oversight of police, more anti-bias training, stricter use-of-force limits and alternatives to arrests in cases involving people with mental illnesses, according to a recent analysis by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland.
Despite calls to “defund the police,” an Associated Press review of police funding nationwide found only modest cuts, driven largely by shrinking revenue related to the coronavirus pandemic. Budgets increased and more officers were hired for some large departments, including New York City’s.
Still stuck in Congress is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would prohibit racial profiling, ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, limit the transfer of military equipment to police departments, and make it easier to bring charges against offending officers. Biden said he told Nichols’ mother that he would be “making a case” to Congress to pass the Floyd Act “to get this under control.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton said his eulogy at Nichols’ funeral on Wednesday will include a call for new laws. NAACP President Derrick Johnson also took Congress to task.
“By failing to write a piece of legislation, you’re writing another obituary,” Johnson said. “Tell us what you’re going to do to honor Tyre Nichols. … We can name all the victims of police violence, but we can’t name a single law you have passed to address it.”
Advocates want state and federal legislation because local changes vary widely in scope and effect and can be undone by a single election after years of grassroots activism. But some say strict regulations are just the start — and the video of Nichols’ agony proves it.
“Changing a rule doesn’t change a behavior,” said Katie Ryan, chief of staff for Campaign Zero, a group of academics, policing experts and activists working to end police violence. “The culture of a police department has to shift into actually implementing the policies, not just saying there’s a rule in place.”
The five officers charged — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith — were part of the so-called Scorpion unit. Scorpion stands for Street Crimes Operations to Restore Peace in our Neighborhoods.
The Memphis police chief, Cerelyn “CJ” Davis, disbanded the unit on Saturday.
“It is in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the Scorpion unit,” she said in a statement.
Prior to the move by Davis, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said it was clear that the officers involved in the attack on Nichols violated the department’s policies and training.
“I want to assure you we are doing everything we can to prevent this from happening again,” Strickland said in a statement. “We are initiating an outside, independent review of the training, policies and operations of our specialized units.”
The Memphis police union extended condolences to Nichols’ family, saying it “is committed to the administration of justice and NEVER condones the mistreatment of ANY citizen nor ANY abuse of power.” The statement also expressed faith that the justice system would reveal “the totality of circumstances” in the case.
Patrick Yoes, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, pushed back against the conclusion that policing must change. This was not “legitimate police work or a traffic stop gone wrong,” Yoes said. “This is a criminal assault under the pretext of law.”
Protesters turned out again Friday night after the city released the video footage. Turner, the Memphis pastor, called the images “further proof that our city’s and our nation’s criminal justice systems are in dire need of change.”
“It’s not like we’re short on concrete, reasonable recommendations,” said the Rev. Earle Fisher, senior pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church. “What we’re short on is the political will and the commitment to making the structural changes.”


Putin threatened to kill me with missile attack: Boris Johnson

Putin threatened to kill me with missile attack: Boris Johnson
Updated 47 min 26 sec ago

Putin threatened to kill me with missile attack: Boris Johnson

Putin threatened to kill me with missile attack: Boris Johnson
  • Johnson emerged as one of the most impassioned Western backers of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

LONDON: President Vladimir Putin threatened to personally target Boris Johnson with a missile attack just before ordering Russian forces into Ukraine, the former UK prime minister has claimed.
The apparent threat came in a phone call just ahead of the invasion on February 24, according to a new BBC documentary to be broadcast on Monday.
Johnson and other Western leaders had been hurrying to Kyiv to show support for Ukraine and try to deter a Russian attack.
“He sort of threatened me at one point and said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile, it would only take a minute’, or something like that,” Johnson quoted Putin as saying.
Johnson emerged as one of the most impassioned Western backers of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
But prior to the invasion, he says he was at pains to tell Putin that there was no imminent prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, while warning him that any invasion would mean “more NATO, not less NATO” on Russia’s borders.
“He said, ‘Boris, you say that Ukraine is not going to join NATO any time soon.
“’What is any time soon?’ And I said, ‘well it’s not going to join NATO for the foreseeable future. You know that perfectly well’.”
On the missile threat, Johnson added: “I think from the very relaxed tone that he was taking, the sort of air of detachment that he seemed to have, he was just playing along with my attempts to get him to negotiate.”
The BBC documentary charts the growing divide between the Russian leader and the West in the years before the invasion of Ukraine.
It also features Zelensky reflecting on his thwarted ambitions to join NATO prior to Russia’s attack.
“If you know that tomorrow Russia will occupy Ukraine, why don’t you give me something today I can stop it with?” he says.
“Or if you can’t give it to me, then stop it yourself.”
 

 


UK vows to deport foreign criminals under slavery overhaul

UK vows to deport foreign criminals under slavery overhaul
Updated 30 January 2023

UK vows to deport foreign criminals under slavery overhaul

UK vows to deport foreign criminals under slavery overhaul
  • The measures taking effect under a new Nationality and Borders Act mean that Home Office caseworkers can in future demand evidence of modern slavery, rather than taking a victim’s word

LONDON: Britain’s government Monday enacted new measures to accelerate the deportation of foreign criminals, clamping down on some who have claimed protection under UK law as purported victims of “modern slavery.”
It cited the case of one convicted rapist who appealed against a decision by the Home Office (interior ministry) to expel him from Britain, by claiming he was a victim of criminal gangs engaged in human trafficking.
He was bailed pending the appeal, committed another rape, and remains in the UK, the Home Office said.
“It is totally unfair that genuine victims of modern slavery may be left waiting longer to receive the protections they need due to the flagrant abuse of the system,” Home Secretary Suella Braverman said in a statement.
“The changes coming into force will mean if you’ve committed an offense, we have the power to refuse your protections and kick you out of our country,” she said.
The measures taking effect under a new Nationality and Borders Act mean that Home Office caseworkers can in future demand evidence of modern slavery, rather than taking a victim’s word.
That could include evidence from a charity worker or police officer who has helped rescue the victim.
But the changes have been criticized by rights groups for undermining protections for genuine victims. One Braverman initiative — to fly cross-Channel migrants to Rwanda for permanent resettlement — has already been blocked in the courts.
Britain’s National Crime Agency reported in November that Albanian crime groups in particular were manipulating the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which is being reformed under the new act.
Established in 2009 to help protect human trafficking victims, the NRM is used to identify and refer them to UK government agencies to ensure they receive appropriate support.
If caught working in cannabis farms or other criminal enterprises, Albanian migrants have been coached to claim they are victims of modern-day slavery and apply to the NRM, the crime agency’s report said.
In December, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a new deal with Albania to stem the flow of migrants from the country crossing the Channel on small boats from mainland Europe.
The agreement only came about after the government in Tirana demanded an apology for an anti-migrant “campaign” in UK media, following some incendiary rhetoric from Braverman.
But the minister has maintained a hard line, to the delight of Conservative right-wingers keen to show that Britain can control its borders after Brexit, and the clampdown is one of five priorities promised by Sunak for this year.
“We must stop people exploiting our immigration and asylum laws,” Braverman said in Monday’s statement.
“And I am personally determined to crack down on those abusing the generosity of the British public and taking our country for a ride.”


Cleveland police investigating report of missing Saudi citizen

Omar Al-Anazi. (Police photo)
Omar Al-Anazi. (Police photo)
Updated 29 January 2023

Cleveland police investigating report of missing Saudi citizen

Omar Al-Anazi. (Police photo)
  • The police have categorized the disappearance as “endangered” because of his circumstances as a visitor to the city with limited English language skills

CHICAGO: Police in Cleveland, Ohio released a statement Sunday saying they are actively investigating the Jan. 27 reported disappearance of a visiting Saudi citizen, Omar Al-Anazi.

Al-Anazi, 30, was last seen around 10 a.m. by friends after spending time in the city’s tourist area along the Lake Erie waterfront.

According to witnesses, he was socializing with friends in the downtown area when he was reported missing, the Cleveland Division of Police officials said.

“He went with a group to the East 9th Street Pier at approximately 2:30 a.m. to look at the water and was reportedly intoxicated,” officials of the Cleveland Division of Police Department said in a statement.

When the group went to leave, the statement added, “Al-Anazi reportedly walked away.”

Cleveland Police said that Al-Anazi’s friends searched for him but were unable to locate him. The police have categorized the disappearance as “endangered” because of his circumstances as a visitor to the city with limited English language skills.

Al-Anazi, police said, is visiting from Saudi Arabia and reportedly does not speak English.

He was last seen wearing a beige jacket and pants.

Cleveland Police are asking anyone with information to contact them immediately by calling 1-216-621-1234.

 


Pope condemns increasing ‘death spiral’ in Middle East

Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from his window at the Vatican, January 29, 2023. (REUTERS)
Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from his window at the Vatican, January 29, 2023. (REUTERS)
Updated 30 January 2023

Pope condemns increasing ‘death spiral’ in Middle East

Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from his window at the Vatican, January 29, 2023. (REUTERS)
  • Francis, 86, cited 10 Palestinians, including a woman, killed in an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank, and an attack Friday by a Palestinian gunman that killed seven Israelis outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Sunday condemned a resurgence of violence in the Middle East, calling on both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to engage in a “sincere search for peace.”
“The death spiral that increases day by day only closes the few glimmers of trust that exist between the two peoples,” said the pope following his traditional Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square.
Francis, 86, cited 10 Palestinians, including a woman, killed in an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank, and an attack Friday by a Palestinian gunman that killed seven Israelis outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem.
“Since the beginning of the year, dozens of Palestinians have been killed in clashes with the Israeli army,” said the pope.
“I appeal to the two governments and the international community to find other ways without delay, including dialogue and the sincere search for peace.”
“It is with great sorrow that I learn of the news coming from the Holy Land,” he said.