Donald Trump calls N Korea’s Kim Jong-Un ‘madman with nuclear weapons’


Washington: President Donald Trump called North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un a “madman with nuclear weapons” during a telephone call with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, according to a transcript of the conversation released by US media yesterday.

A White House readout of the April 29 call characterized it as a “very friendly conversation.” Days after the conversation, Trump said publicly that he would be “honored” to meet with Kim. But in the call, Trump hinted at a possible dramatic escalation on the Korean Peninsula.

“We can’t let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that. We have a lot of firepower, more than he has, times 20 — but we don’t want to use it,” the US leader said, citing “two nuclear submarines” the Pentagon sent to the area last month. Transcribed by the Philippine government, the conversation was released by The Washington Post and The Intercept.

Trump also queried Duterte about whether he believed Kim was “stable or not stable.” The Philippine leader responded that their North Korean counterpart’s “mind is not working and he might just go crazy one moment.” Kim has a “dangerous toy in his hands that could create so much agony and suffering for all mankind,” he added.

But Trump appeared reassured that North Korea’s recent missile tests had failed, saying that “all his rockets are crashing. That’s the good news.” Turning to China and its ability to counter the nuclear threat, Trump pressed Duterte to call Chinese President Xi Jinping to exert pressure.

“I hope China solves the problem. They really have the means because a great degree of their stuff come through China,” Trump said, adding: “But if China doesn’t do it, we will do it.” Duterte agreed. However, he cautioned, starkly, that “the other option is a nuclear blast, which is not good for everybody.”




Philippines President declares martial law in Mindanao amid clashes


Manila: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in entire southern region of Mindanao following deadly clashes erupting between government troops and Islamist militants on Tuesday, local media reports said.

Duterte had to curtail his visit to Russia over the situation in the southern province of Mindanao.

The state-run Philippines News Agency quoted Duterte’s spokesman Ernesto Abella as saying that the martial law will be in effect for 60 days to suppress lawless violence and rebellion and for public safety.

Two soldiers and a police officer were killed during the clashes between government forces and the Maute group, an Islamist militant organisation based in Mindanao.

Terrorism has been a persistent problem in the southern Philippines, where Maute and militant group Abu Sayyaf are based.




India considering punitive actions against Pakistan: US official


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced ex gratia of Rs two lakh for the next of kin of each of those killed in a bus accident in Uttarakhand.

“My prayers and solidarity with those who lost their loved ones in the unfortunate bus accident in Uttarkashi. May the injured recover soon,” Modi said in a tweet.  He also announced Rs 50,000 from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for those seriously injured.

At least 24 persons were killed and eight others injured when the bus carrying pilgrims from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, plunged into a deep gorge late on Tuesday.  The accident took place near Nalupani when they were returning from the Gangotri shrine.

Washington, India is moving towards isolating Pakistan diplomatically and is considering punitive actions against Islamabad for its alleged support to cross border terrorism, a top American defence intelligence chief has told lawmakers.

“India has sought and continues to move to isolate Pakistan diplomatically and is considering punitive options to raise the cost to Islamabad for its alleged support to cross- border terrorism,” Lt Gen Vincent Stewart, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency told members of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on worldwide threats.

His statement came a day after Indian Army launched “punitive fire assaults” on Pakistani positions across the Line of Control, inflicting some damage.


India, he said, is modernising its military to better posture itself to defend New Delhi’s interests in the broader Indian Ocean region and reinforce its diplomatic and economic outreach across Asia.

Bilateral relations between India and Pakistan worsened following several terrorist attacks in India, he said.

“Continued threat of high level terror attacks in India, violence in Kashmir and bilateral diplomatic recriminations will further strain India-Pakistan ties in 2017,” he said.

Following a terrorist attack on an Army base Kashmir last September, New Delhi conducted a highly publicised operation against militants across the Line of Control, he added.

“In 2016, Indian and Pakistani forces exchanged some of the heaviest fire in years along the Line of Control in Kashmir, and each expelled a number of the other’s diplomats amid growing tension,” Stewart said.

He also told lawmakers that in 2017, Islamabad is likely to slowly shift from traditional counterinsurgency operations along Pakistan’s western border to more counter terrorism and paramilitary operations throughout the country, which have had some success in reducing violence from militant, sectarian, terrorist, and separatist groups.

“Anti-Pakistan groups probably will respond to this sustained pressure by focusing their efforts against soft targets,” he said.

Noting that Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile continues to grow, Stewart said the US is concerned that this growth, as well as an evolving doctrine and inherent security issues
associated with Pakistan’s developing tactical  nuclear weapons, presents an enduring risk.

“Islamabad is taking steps to improve its nuclear security and is aware of the extremist threat to its program,” Stewart said.

Observing that China has long identified the protection of its sovereignty and territorial integrity as a “core interest,” he said in the South China Sea, China has embarked on a multi year, whole-of-government approach to securing sovereignty, principally through maritime law enforcement presence and military patrols.

In 2016, China rejected the international arbitration ruling on its excessive South China Sea claims, built infrastructure at its man made outposts on the Spratly Islands, and for the first time, landed civilian aircraft on its airfields at Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef.

“China will be able to use its reclaimed features as persistent civil-military bases, which will enhance its presence and its ability to control the features and nearby
maritime space. Beijing recognises the need to defend these outposts and is prepared to respond to any military operations near them,” he told the lawmakers.

Stewart said a key component of PLA strategy in a regional contingency is planning for potential US intervention.

The PLA Rocket Force has given priority to developing and deploying regional ballistic and cruise missiles to expand its conventional strike capabilities against US forces and bases throughout the region.

“In addition to the Rocket Force’s fielding of an anti ship ballistic missile, China is fielding an intermediate range ballistic missile capable of conducting conventional and
nuclear strikes against ground targets in the Asia-Pacific region as far away as Guam,” he said.




Timeline of major terror attacks in UK


Police deploy at scene of a reported explosion during a concert in Manchester, England, on May 23, 2017. British police said early May 23 there were "a number of confirmed fatalities" after reports of at least one explosion during a pop concert by US singer Ariana Grande. Ambulances were seen rushing to the Manchester Arena venue and police added in a statement that people should avoid the area. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS
London: Nineteen people have been killed and about 50 injured in a suspected terror attack at the Manchester Arena.

The blast took place on Monday night during a pop concert performed by the American singer Ariana Grande.

Following the attack, British Prime Minister Theresa May has suspended her general election campaign.he Prime Minister said, “We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack. All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”

Terror attack at Manchester Arena is just the latest in a long list of terror attacks on Britain since 9/11.

Also Read: 19 killed in suspected terror attack during Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in UK

Here’s a rundown of major attacks in London since 2001.

Timeline of major terrorist attack in UK since 2001

 
  • August 3, 2001, Ealing Broadway

     

    Seven people were injured after a car bomb exploded just after midnight in Ealing Broadway, west London. This was the last known attack carried out in the capital by the “Real IRA,” a rogue faction of the Provisional IRA who did not accept the terms of the 1998 peace agreement. Four men were arrested and later sentenced in connection with the blast.

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  • 7 July 2005, London Underground trains

    On July 7, 2005, a series of suicide bombings in London killed 52 people and wounded more than 770. The attackers targeted the city’s transport system, detonating bombs hidden in their backpacks on three London Underground trains. Around an hour later, a fourth attacker blew himself up on a double-decker bus.

    The incident was one of the worst terror attacks in British history. Four British attackers linked to al Qaeda were found to have carried out the bombings, and all of them died in the blasts. On July 21, a similar plot failed when unexploded bombs were found on three subway trains and a bus.

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  • March 7, 2009, Northern Ireland

    On 7 March 2009, two off-duty British soldiers of 38 Engineer Regiment were shot dead outside Massereene Barracks in Antrim town, Northern Ireland. Two other soldiers and two civilian delivery men were also shot and wounded during the attack. An Irish republican paramilitary group, the Real IRA, claimed responsibility for the incident.

    The shootings were the first British military fatalities in Northern Ireland since 1997. Two days later, the Continuity IRA shot dead a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer, the first Northern Irish police officer to be killed by paramilitaries since 1998. These attacks marked the beginning of the most intensive period of “dissident republican” activity since the start of their campaign.

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  • May 22, 2013, Woolich

    Lee Rigby, a 25-year-old British soldier, was killed in a terror attack in Woolwich, southeast of London, on May 22, 2013. Two assailants rammed Rigby with a car before stabbing and attempting to behead him on a street outside his army barracks. Horrified bystanders witnessed the attack, which was also caught on video.

    The killers were two British Islamist extremists in their 20s who said they killed Rigby as an act of war. Both men were arrested at the scene and later convicted for murder. The violence of the attack shocked Britain, and prompted numerous memorials for Rigby.

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  • December 7, 2015, Leytonstone Station Stabbing

    An attacker stabbed multiple people in the Leytonstone Underground station in East London on Decmber 6, 2015. Muhiddin Mire, a 30-year-old taxi driver diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, randomly targeted people in the station in what he later claimed was an act of revenge for Western airstrikes on Syria.

    In footage of the attack, commuters can be heard screaming at Mire to put down his knife. One man calls out “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv.” People on Twitter later took up the phrase as a way to emphasize that Mire’s actions didn’t represent Islam.

    Mire was convicted for attempted murder and multiple counts of attempted wounding. Two doctors who reviewed the case disagreed on whether his mental illness, as opposed to his extremist beliefs, could be considered the cause for the attack.

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  • March 22 2017, UK Parliament

    London attacker Khalid Masood mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing two men and two women and injuring many others.

    He crashed his car into the railings outside Parliament, got out and ran into New Palace Yard where he stabbed a police 




Ariana Grande ‘broken’ after UK concert terror attack


London, US pop star Ariana Grande said today that she was “broken” and at a loss for words over the deadly terror attack at her concert in the British city of Manchester.

“Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. i don’t have words,” she tweeted hours after a powerful blast ripped through a crowded arena hosting her concert, killing 19 people and injuring over 50 others.

Eyewitnesses said the explosion was heard outside the auditorium after the artist had finished her show and left the stage.

Grande, a 23-year-old American TV teen actress-turned-pop star, is a big draw for young fans, with hits including Problem, featuring Iggy Azalea, which hit number one in the UK
in 2014, and Side To Side, featuring Nicki Minaj.

She is currently on a European tour and has already played in Birmingham and Dublin and was due to be at the O2 Arena in London tomorrow and Thursday.

However, following the blast there was no clarity on whether she will continue with her tour.

Her current ‘The Dangerous Woman Tour’ is in support of her third studio album, ‘Dangerous Woman’ which released last year on May 20. The tour began on February 3, in Phoenix, Arizona.

The album is the follow-up to her 2014 studio album ‘My Everything’ and features guest appearances from Minaj, Lil Wayne, Macy Gray and Future. The lead single “Dangerous
Woman” was released on March 11, 2016.




Manchester attack: Local Gurudwaras offer shelter to blast victims, stranded survivors


London [UK]: Gurudwaras in Manchester are offering shelter to those affected and stranded by Tuesday’s deadly Manchester Arena blast.

“Sikh Temples in Manchester, UK offering food & accommodation. They are open for ALL people. #PrayForManchester #ManchesterArena #England,” tweeted Harjinder S Kukreja along with the address of the four Sikh temples located in the vicinity.

The Gurudwaras are Sri Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara Educational & Cultural Centre located at 57 Upper Chorlton Rd, Manchester M16 7RQ; Gurdwara Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib located at 12 Sherborne St, Manchester M3 1FE, Dasmesh Sikh Temple located at 98 Heywood St, Manchester M8 0DT and Central Gurdwara Manchester located at 32 Derby St, Manchester M8 8RY.

The locals in the area also took to Twitter to offer shelter to those affected.

 #RoomForManchester: Locals open their homes for those stranded post blast
“#roomformanchester. Anyone needing help or a place to stay tonight we are 10 minutes walk from the Manchester arena. Spare room and 2 sofas,” said a Twitter user.

“If anyone needs a sofa, a charger, a brew-please dm. Located just off Piccadilly Gardens #roomformanchester @GMPCityCentre #ManchesterArena,” said another.

In what could be described as one of the worst terror attack in Britain, at least 19 people were killed and dozens of other injured as a suspected suicide bomber carried out a carnage during an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

The explosion occurred near the foyer area of the arena in what is being reported as a “nail bomb attack”.

A man found dead at the scene is thought to be the probable suicide bomber, according to reports.

Last England saw such a deadly terror attack was in 2005 when on July 7, terrorists carried out a series of coordinated suicide bomb attacks in central London which targeted civilians using the public transport system during the rush hour.

Fifty-two people were killed and over 700 more were injured in the attacks.

Also, in 2009, the Manchester police had thwarted a major terror bid to attack Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre on the busy Easter bank holiday weekend.

With up to 90,000 shoppers in or near the shopping centre at the time, police believe an attack would have killed hundreds and maimed thousands.

A student identified as Abid Naseer, 29, who plotted the mass suicide bomb attack was jailed for 40 years in 2015.




Pleased to meet Nawaz Sharif: Donald Trump


Riyadh: United States of America President Donald Trump had a brief encounter with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday and said he was pleased to meet him. The interaction took place before the Arab Islamic American Summit at the King Abdulaziz Conference Centre in Riyadh, GEO News reported. The US president shook hands with PM Nawaz and exchange of pleasantries took place between the two leaders.

During the brief meeting, Trump said that he was very pleased to meet PM Nawaz to which the premier responded that the feeling is mutual. King Salman Bin Abdulaziz also warmly welcomed the PM. Trump addressed the summit which was attended by leaders from 55 countries. PM Sharif arrived in Riyadh to attend the summit on the invitation of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz. After departing Islamabad in the morning, the premier arrived along with his delegation, which comprises several government officials and media persons, including foreign affairs’ adviser Sartaj Aziz and lawyer Akram Sheikh. The summit is being attended by around three dozen leaders of Islamic countries, including the prime ministers of Bangladesh and Malaysia, and presidents of Afghanistan, Egypt, as well as Trump.




New organism discovered by NASA in space station named after Kalam


Los Angeles: In great news for India, scientists at NASA have named a new organism discovered by them after much-loved and former Indian President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Till date, the new organism – a form of a bacteria – has been found only on the International Space Station (ISS) and has not been found on earth!

Researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the foremost lab of NASA for work on inter-planetary travel, discovered the new bacteria on the filters of the International Space Station (ISS) and named it Solibacillus kalamii to honour the late president, who was a renowned aerospace scientist.

Kalam had his early training at NASA in 1963 before he set up India’s first rocket-launching facility in the fishing village of Thumba in Kerala. “The name of the bacterium is Solibacillus kalamii, the species name is after Dr Abdul Kalam and genus name is Solibacillus which is a spore forming bacteria,” said Dr Kasthuri Venkateswaran, senior research scientist, Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group at JPL.

The filter on which the new bug was found remained on board the ISS for 40 months. Called a high-efficiency particulate arrestance filter or HEPA filter, this part is the routine housekeeping and cleaning system on board the international space station. This filter was later analysed at JPL and only this year did Venkateswaran publish his discovery in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

According to Venkateswaran, even as it orbits the earth some 400 kilometres above, the ISS is home to many types of bacteria and fungi which co-inhabit the station with the astronauts who live and work on the station. Venkateswaran said even though Solibacillus kalamii has never been found on earth till date, it is really not an extra-terrestrial life form or ET.

“I am reasonably sure it has hitch hiked to the space station on board some cargo and then survived the hostile conditions of space,” explained Venkateswaran.




President Donald Trump begins first foreign trip to Middle East, Europe


New York: U.S. President Donald Trump on May 19 embarked on his first foreign visit to Saudi Arabia, Israel and global summits in Italy and Belgium.

As he leaves for Saudi Arabia on Friday afternoon, Trump posted a tweet “Getting ready for my big foreign trip. Will be strongly protecting American interests – that’s what I like to do!”

But the political turmoil in Washington over Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey and the simultaneous developments involving allegations of forcing Comey to stop investigating former security adviser Michael Flynn and the appointment of a special counsel to look into the allegations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections and his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia, threatens to overshadow his first overseas trip as President.

With his first stop at Riyadh, President Trump will focus on strengthening relations between the Saudis and America.

President Trump will then land at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel on Monday, May 22 where he will be received in a special ceremony on the tarmac.

President Trump will have meetings with President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump will be the first serving president to visit the Western Wall.

Both, Jerusalem and Riyadh, will question President Trump on the Iran nuclear deal.

In Europe especially, they want to know whether Trump will pull out of the Paris climate accord and want to test his true feelings for Russia, which is seen as a threat in much of Europe, The CNN reported.




Indian detained by US immigration at Atlanta airport dies in custody


Washington: A 58-year-old Indian man died in Atlanta in the US after he was detained by US Customs for not possessing necessary immigration papers.

Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel, taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, died due to congestive heart failure on Wednesday, the American Bazaar Online reported on Friday.

Patel landed at Atlanta airport on May 10 from Ecuador. After his detention, Patel was shifted to the Atlanta City Detention Centre where he received an initial medical screening and was identified to have high blood pressure and diabetes, according to an ICE statement.

On May 13, two days after being in ICE custody, a nurse checking Patel’s blood sugar noticed he had a breathing problem following which he was shifted to a hospital where he passed away, said the report.

According to the ICE, the agency followed all protocols and all appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies were notified about the death. The agency said it also informed the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility about the incident.

Patel is the eighth detainee to die in ICE custody in this fiscal year.

ICE officials informed the Indian consular representatives, who notified Patel’s family about his death, the report said.




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