US streets calmest in days, protests largely peaceful


US streets calmest in days, protests largely peaceful

Protests were largely peaceful and the nation's streets were calmer than they have been in days since the killing of George Floyd set off demonstrations that at times brought violence and destruction along with pleas to stop police brutality and injustice against African Americans.

There were scattered reports of looting in New York City overnight, and as of Wednesday morning there had been over 9,000 arrests nationwide since the unrest began following Floyd's death May 25 in Minneapolis. But there was a marked quiet compared with the unrest of the past few nights, which included fires and shootings in some cities.

The calmer night came as many cities intensified their curfews, with authorities in New York and Washington ordering people off streets while it was still daylight.

A block away from the White House, thousands of demonstrators massed following a crackdown a day earlier when officers on foot and horseback aggressively drove peaceful protesters away from Lafayette Park, clearing the way for President Donald Trump to do a photo op at nearby St. John's Church. Tuesday's protesters faced law enforcement personnel who stood behind a black chain-link fence that was put up overnight to block access to the park.

"Last night pushed me way over the edge," said Jessica DeMaio, 40, of Washington, who attended a Floyd protest Tuesday for the first time.

"Being here is better than being at home feeling helpless." Pastors at the church prayed with demonstrators and handed out water bottles. The crowd remained in place after the city's 7 pm curfew passed, defying warnings that the response from law enforcement could be even more forceful. But the crowd Tuesday was peaceful, even polite.

At one point, the crowd booed when a protester climbed a light post and took down a street sign. A chant went up: "Peaceful protest!" Trump, meanwhile, amplified his hard-line calls from Monday, when he threatened to send in the military to restore order if governors didn't do it.

"NYC, CALL UP THE NATIONAL GUARD," he tweeted. "The lowlifes and losers are ripping you apart. Act fast!" Thousands of people remained in the streets of New York City Tuesday night, undeterred by an 8 pm curfew, though most streets were clear by early Wednesday other than police who were patrolling some areas. Midtown Manhattan was pocked with battered storefronts after Monday's protests.

Protests also passed across the US, including in Los Angeles, Miami, St. Paul, Minnesota, Columbia, South Carolina and Houston, where the police chief talked to peaceful demonstrators, vowing reforms.

"God as my witness, change is coming," Art Acevedo said. "And we're going to do it the right way." More than 20,000 National Guard members have been called up in 29 states to deal with the violence.

Biden: Floyd won’t be another hashtag

Extending support to George Floyd's family, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday said that Floyd's death wouldn't 'just become another hashtag'.

"I made a promise to George's family that he wouldn't just become another hashtag. We're going to tackle this head-on -- and we're going to need your help to do it. Grateful for your support," Biden tweeted.

"George Floyd's last words...didn't die with him. They're still being heard. They're echoing across this nation. It's a wake-up call for all of us," he added.

Commenting on the upcoming US presidential elections, he said, "I have said from the outset of this election that we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. Who we are. What we believe. And maybe most important--who we want to be. It's all at stake. That is truer today than ever."

LA mayor takes knee at protests

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti took a knee in solidarity with protesters in a demonstration over the death of African American man George Floyd in police custody last week in Minneapolis.

Garcetti took a knee during one of the demonstrations held near LA Police Department headquarters in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, expressing his support for peaceful protests against police brutality, Xinhua news agency reported.

Retired police captain shot dead while protecting friend's store

A retired police captain who died during a night of violent protests was trying to protect his friend's pawn shop, his widow said. David Dorn's last moments were caught on video and apparently posted on Facebook Live, though the video has since been taken down. He was killed by people who had broken into Lee's Pawn & Jewelry, and his body found on the sidewalk at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. No arrests have been made.

His death came on a violent night in St. Louis, where four officers were shot, officers were pelted with rocks and fireworks, and 55 businesses were burglarized or damaged, including a convenience store that burned. Police also shot and gravely injured a burglary suspect who they say shot at officers. Dorn was a friend of the pawn shop's owner and frequently checked on the business when alarms went off, his wife, St. Louis police Sgt. Ann Marie Dorn, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.




Donald Trump criticised for photo shoot outside St John church in Washington holding a Bible amid protests


Donald Trump criticised for photo shoot outside St John church in Washington holding a Bible amid protests

Washington: US President Donald Trump had to face widespread criticism after he stood outside a church in Washington for minutes holding a Bible in his hand during a photo shoot, even as the police used teargas and flash grenades to clear his path of peaceful protestors. Several priests were part of the crowd that was teargassed.

Trump was allegedly angry about news coverage that he scampered into a White House bunker on Friday during George Floyd protests, and told his aides he wanted to be seen outside the White House gates, prompting his walk to the church, according to the CNN White House Correspondent.

One protestor said it all happened while they were distributing water and handing out snacks when the police hustled them out to pave the way for Trump's photo shoot. Soon, the police started using tear gas and the crowd was scrambling for eyewashes and wet paper towels.

An exasperated bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Mariann E. Budde, said in an interview: "I am outraged. I am the bishop and was not given even a courtesy call that they would be clearing the path with tear gas so that they could use one of our churches as a prop, with Trump holding a Bible. He did not pray. He did not mention George Floyd, he did not mention the agony of people who have been subjected to this kind of horrific expression of racism and white supremacy for hundreds of years. We need a president who can unify and heal. He has done the opposite of that, and we are left to pick up the pieces."

According to Daily Mail.com, an active duty military police battalion is on its way to Washington D.C. to help patrol streets. The deployment marks the first time that the Army has been sent in to patrol US streets since the 1992 LA riots. It came as Trump threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 to mobilize 'thousands and thousands' of soldiers in cities across the country to 'end riots and lawlessness.' There was no let-up in violence: Four cops were shot in St Louis on Monday – the seventh consecutive night of mayhem. In New York City, looters descended on luxury stores for a second night in a row as peaceful protests gave way to looting, adds Daily Mail.

 
 
 



Curfew imposed in NYC as protesters loot stores across Manhattan


Curfew imposed in NYC as protesters loot stores across Manhattan

The authorities in the upscale New York City have imposed a week-long night curfew and ramped up police presence after violence and looting incidents were reported across the city amid widespread protests triggered by the custodial killing of African-American George Floyd.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio announced on Monday that the citywide curfew in New York City will begin at 11 PM on Monday and will be lifted at 5 AM Tuesday morning.

However, Blasio later said the curfew across the city will be extended through the week. "We're going to continue that curfew for the remainder of this week, 8 p.m. each evening until 5 a.m. the next morning," he said.

The New York City Police Department doubled its presence, bringing nearly 8000 police personnel to help prevent violence and damage to property, in angry response to the killing of Floyd, a 46-year-old man who was pinned to the ground in Minneapolis last week by a white police officer who kneeled on his neck as he gasped for breath.

The additional officers will be deployed in areas where violence broke out and property was damage during the previous night's protests - specifically in lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn.

Videos and photos posted on social media showed that while demonstrators protested peacefully around most areas in the city, there were several instances of looting as well.

People were seen breaking into high end stores around Manhattan's Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, home to almost all luxury and high-end brands from around the world, and running way with merchandise from the shops. Groups of people also looted pharmacies, electronic stores and other businesses across the city.

Governor Cuomo said that the curfew was imposed is to help separate the overwhelming majority of peaceful protesters from "people who are looking to exploit the moment by looting".

Yet, a curfew and increased police presence could not stop looters to break into retail stores in Manhattan that have been shuttered for over two months due to the shutdown in place because of COVID19.

Cuomo strongly lashed out at the looters, saying those people breaking store windows, going in and stealing are indulging in "criminal activity." He also criticized the New York police saying they have not done their job well. "The police must stop the looting and the criminal activity. That is the essence of the police force. They are supposed to protect the community, protect the property, they did not do that in New York City last night," he said.

"I am disappointed and outraged at what happened in New York City last night. Those looters those criminals that criminal activity, hurt everyone," he said.

Cuomo earlier said while there are "extremist groups that just want to propose anarchy", the majority of the people are making a very valid point that discrimination and abuse by police should finally end.

The governor said in a statement that while the state authorities encourage people to protest peacefully and make their voices heard, the safety of the general public was paramount and cannot be compromised.

"I stand behind the protestors and their message, but unfortunately there are people who are looking to distract and discredit this moment. The violence and the looting has been bad for the city, the state and this entire national movement, undermining and distracting from this righteous cause," Cuomo said.

He also criticised President Donald Trump for threatening to call in the military to end protests around the country.

"What the president today did was he called out the American military against American citizens. That's what they did. They used the American military to push back a peaceful protest, which everyone watched on TV, just so he could have a photo-op of walking to a church. When was the last time you saw the American military called out against Americans?," he said.

Trump, who was taken to an underground bunker in the White House on Friday as protesters gathered outside the presidential residence, on Monday ventured outside the White House grounds to pose for photographs at a nearby church.

Before Trump came out of the White House, riot police and National Guard troops used tear gas and flash grenades to disperse a peaceful protest in a nearby park.

Mayor Blasio said he supported peaceful protest in the city.

The mayor said while demonstrations have been generally peaceful, "we can't let violence undermine the message of this moment. It is too important and the message must be heard".

He said there had been incidents over the past few days, as the protests intensified, where police officers did not uphold the values of New York City or of the Police Department.

"We agree on the need for swift action," he said, adding that it will be ensured that such officers are held accountable.

Considered to be the worst ever civil unrest in the US in decades, the violent protests have engulfed at least 140 cities across America in the days following the death of Floyd.

A report in The New York Times said looters stormed into Macy's flagship store in Herald Square, a retail space of over 2.5 million square feet and one of the largest retail stores in the world, and stole merchandise before they were chased down by the police.

Looters also broke stores of other high-end brands such as Nike and Coach store, stealing expensive goods and vandalized a Barnes & Noble bookstore while destroying other smaller storefronts along the way.

 
 
 



Nepal Communist Party calls for bilateral meet with India to resolve territorial issue


Nepal Communist Party calls for bilateral meet with India to resolve territorial issue

The ruling Nepal Communist Party has called for a bilateral meeting between Kathmandu and New Delhi to resolve the ongoing territorial issue between the two neighbours.

Diplomatic ties between the two countries got tensed after the inauguration of road linking Kailash Mansarovar via Lipulekh on May 8.

Calling "diplomacy" to be the "first line of defence in the contemporary world", Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the spokesperson for the ruling party and former foreign minister, called on all parties for de-escalation of the ongoing rift through dialogues.

"Diplomacy is the first line of defence. We should find a solution to the ongoing problem through diplomatic dialogue. Let us not be impulsive, outrageous, stimulated and provocative over it. Focus on the diplomatic talks and take the ongoing problem to the path of solution. I appeal with all sides," Shrestha said.

Shrestha added, "We also would request our neighbouring nation, India, to resolve the issue through talks as soon as possible. Diplomatic talks can be initiated so that we can solve the issue on the basis of historical evidence and facts which would help in further strengthening relations between the two countries." Nepal handed over a diplomatic note to India objecting the move after India inaugurated the road linking Kailash Mansarovar via Lipulekh.

Prior to the handover of the diplomatic note, Nepal also had strongly objected over India's unilateral move of constructing the road. Following a strong objection from Nepal, India's Ministry of External Affairs had said that the road going through Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district lies completely within the territory of India.

Nepal on May 20 had issued an updated political map incorporating Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura (tri-junction) within its own territory. The same places were included by India within its own territory in last November.

Nepal said it has "consistently maintained" that as per the Sugauli Treaty (1816), "all the territories east of Kali (Mahakali) river, including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and LipuLekh, belong to Nepal." The Indian Defence Ministry had said the Border Road Organisation (BRO) in Uttarakhand has connected Kailash Mansarovar route to Lipulekh pass, which will provide connectivity to border villages and security forces.

Last month, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Shivamaya Tumbahangphe tabled the amendment proposal to include a new political map at the House of Representatives.

 
 
 



Belgian Prince Joachim tests positive for coronavirus after attending a party


Belgian Prince Joachim tests positive for coronavirus after attending a party

Belgian Prince Joachim, a nephew of Belgium's King Philippe, has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a party during the lockdown in Spain, according to local media reports cited by China's CGTN network.

The reports said the party took place at a private residence and was attended by 27 people. Prince Joachim's symptoms are said to be mild.

Prince Albert II of Monaco was the first known royal to become infected with the deadly disease. The palace confirmed he had caught COVID-19 in March, just days after he announced a string of new reforms to tackle the outbreak.

As the contagion continued to spread across Europe, the British royal family also came under its grip. Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to the throne, tested positive for the coronavirus in March.

Prince Philip was flown to Windsor to self-isolate with Queen Elizabeth during the coronavirus crisis. Thankfully, no members of the UK royal family have so far been diagnosed with the deadly disease.

In the same month, Spanish Princess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Parma became the first royal to pass away due to coronavirus complications. According to Fox News, the 86-year-old was a cousin of Spain's King Felipe VI. Her brother Prince Sixto Enrique de Borbon, the Duke of Aranjuez, announced on Facebook that she died after contracting COVID-19.

The next month, the New York Times reported that as many as 150 members of the Saudi royal family were sickened by the virus doctors at the elite hospital that treats Al-Saud clan members are preparing as many as 500 beds for an expected influx.

King Salman, 84, has secluded himself for his safety in an island palace near the city of Jeddah on the Red Sea, while Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his son and the 34-year-old de facto ruler, has retreated with many of his ministers to the remote site on the same coast where he has promised to build a futuristic city known as Neom. The respiratory illness has infected over 6 million people globally and killed more than 3,67,000 others, though the true number is thought to be higher as testing is still limited and many countries haven't counted fatalities outside of hospitals.

 
 
 



SpaceX Dragon capsule docks successfully at International Space Station


SpaceX Dragon capsule docks successfully at International Space Station

SpaceX delivered two astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA on Sunday, following up a historic liftoff with an equally smooth docking in yet another first for Elon Musk's company.

With test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken poised to take over manual control if necessary, the SpaceX Dragon capsule pulled up to the station and docked automatically, no assistance needed.

It was the first time a privately built and owned spacecraft carried astronauts to the orbiting lab in its nearly 20 years. NASA considers this the opening volley in a business revolution encircling Earth and eventually stretching to the moon and Mars.

The docking occurred just 19 hours after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off Saturday afternoon from Kennedy Space Center, the nation's first astronaut launch to orbit from home soil in nearly a decade.

Thousands jammed surrounding beaches, bridges and towns to watch as SpaceX became the world's first private company to send astronauts into orbit, and ended a nine-year launch drought for NASA.

A few hours before docking, the Dragon riders reported that the capsule was performing beautifully. Just in case, they slipped back into their pressurized launch suits and helmets for the rendezvous.

The three space station residents kept cameras trained on the incoming capsule for the benefit of flight controllers at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, and NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Gleaming white in the sunlight, the Dragon was easily visible from a few miles out, its nose cone open and exposing its docking hook as well as a blinking light. The capsule loomed ever larger on live NASA TV as it closed the gap.




US protests risk second coronavirus wave, warns Atlanta mayor


US protests risk second coronavirus wave, warns Atlanta mayor
 



Donald Trump says US terminating relationship with WHO; takes steps against China


Donald Trump says US terminating relationship with WHO; takes steps against China

Washington: US President Donald Trump on Friday said that America is terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization as he blamed it and China for the deaths and destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe.

Stating that the funding of the WHO would now be diverted to other global public health organisations, Trump announced a series of decisions against China including issuing proclamation to deny entry to certain Chinese nationals and tightening of regulations against Chinese investments in America.

Trump also announced that the US will end special treatment of Hong Kong in response to Chinese imposition of new controls. He said that the US will revise its travel advisory to warn of surveillance in Hong Kong.

"The world needs answers from China," Trump said in his aggressive speech on a bright sunny day from the Rose Garden of the White House. The president, however, did not take any questions. For decades it has ripped off the US like no one has ever done before, he said, reiterating his charges against China.

China not only stole intellectual property, took away billions of dollars from the US and offshored the jobs, but also violated its commitment under the World Trade Organization, he said, adding that it was able to get away with the theft, like no one before because of past politicians and past presidents.

China, he alleged, has unlawfully claimed territories in the Indo-Pacific ocean, threatening freedom of navigation and international trade and broke its word to the world on ensuring the autonomy of Hong Kong. "The United States wants an open and constructive relationship with China, but achieving this relationship requires us to vigorously defend our national interest," he said.

Trump alleged that the Chinese government has continually violated its promises to the US and many other nations. "These plain facts cannot be overlooked or swept aside," he said. Observing that the world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government, Trump reiterated that China's cover-up of the Wuhan virus allowed the disease to spread all over the world, instigating a global pandemic that has cost more than 100,000 American lives and over one million lives worldwide.

"Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities. Countless lives have been taken, and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe," he said.

China, he said, has total control over the WHO despite only paying USD 40 million per year compared to what the US has been paying which is approximately USD 450 million a year. "We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engage with them directly, but they have refused to act.

"Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs," Trump said. The world needs answers from China on the virus, he said.

"We must have transparency. Why is it that China shut off infected people from Wuhan to all other parts of China? It went nowhere else; it didn't go to Beijing, it went nowhere else, but they allowed them to freely travel throughout the world, including Europe and the United States. The death and destruction caused by this is incalculable," he said.

"We must have answers not only for us but for the rest of the world. This pandemic has underscored the crucial importance of building up America's economic independence, reshoring our critical supply chains, and protecting America's scientific and technological advances. For years, the government of China has conducted illicit espionage to steal our industrial secrets of which there are many," Trump said.

Trump said that later in the day, he will issue a proclamation to better secure America's vital university research and "to suspend the entry of certain foreign nationals from China who have been identified as potential security risks".

Asserting that he is also taking action to protect the integrity of America's financial system, Trump said he is instructing his presidential working group on financial markets to study the differing practices of Chinese companies listed on the US financial markets with a goal of protecting American investors.

"Investment firms should not be subjecting their clients to the hidden and undue risks associated with financing Chinese companies that do not play by the same rules. Americans are entitled to fairness and transparency," he said.

Referring to the unilateral Chinese action control over Hong Kong security, Trump said that this was a plain violation of Beijing's treaty obligations with the UK in the declaration of 1984 and explicit provisions of Hong Kong's basic law which has 27 years to go.

"China's latest incursion, along with other recent developments that degraded the territory's freedoms, makes clear that Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant the special treatment that we have afforded the territory since the handover," he said.

"China has replaced its promised formula of one country, two systems with one country, one system; therefore, I am directing my administration to begin the process of eliminating policy exemptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment," Trump added.




Zookeeper critically mauled by two lions at shut Australian zoo


Zookeeper critically mauled by two lions at shut Australian zoo

Two lions mauled and critically injured a zookeeper inside their enclosure Friday at a closed Australian zoo.

Emergency services were called to Shoalhaven Zoo north of Sydney on Friday morning where a 35-year-old woman suffered serious head and neck injuries, police and ambulance statements said. She was airlifted to a Sydney hospital and remained in critical condition.

The zoo is closed to the public because of coronavirus pandemic.

Ambulance officer Faye Stockman described the attack as "absolutely harrowing," adding it was frightening to be the first to walk into the enclosure to treat the zookeeper.

"This is one of the worst jobs I have ever experienced," Stockman said in a statement.

Police Detective Superintendent Greg Moore said the two male lions were secured shortly after and posed no further threat.

He said it was too early in the investigation to say whether the lions would be killed.

Another zookeeper suffered a hand injury at the same zoo in 2014 when a crocodile dragged him into water during a feeding show.




Woman removes underwear, puts it on her face after post office denies service


Woman removes underwear, puts it on her face after post office denies service

As the coronavirus pandemic took over globally, the demand for face masks increased in a bid to keep the infectious virus at bay. While some adhered to the norm, others invented their own protective gear. From wear the helmet of a Toy Story character, to a Marauders map mask inspired by Harry Potter that unravels when breathed upon, there have been some interesting picks.

A woman from Kiev, Ukraine was told she would not be served at the post office for not wearing a mask. However, she found an innovative way to get by the rules, by removing her underwear in front of queuing customers, and putting it on her face.

According to a report by Metro, CCTV footage shows the woman approaching the post office counter without wearing a mask, which was a compulsion to go about in a 'public place' given the viral outbreak.

The video was shared by the company's employee, who is also facing punishment for sharing it without consent.

 

As of Tuesday, the overall number of global coronavirus cases on Tuesday surpassed the 5.5 million mark, while the deaths have increased to more than 346,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Currently, the total number of cases stood at 5,508,904, while the death toll increased to 346,508, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US was also reaching a grim milestone of 100,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Currently, the country has 1,662,768 confirmed cases and 98,223 deaths, both tallies account for the highest in the world, according to the CSSE.

In terms of cases, Brazil comes in the second place with 374,898 infections.

This was followed by Russia (362,342), the UK (262,547), Spain (235,400), Italy (230,158), France (183,067), Germany (180,802), Turkey (157,814), India (145,456), Iran (137,724), and Peru (123,979), the CSSE figures showed.

Meanwhile, the UK ranked second after the US with 36,996 COVID-19 deaths, the highest fatalities in Europe.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (32,877), France (28,460), Spain (26,834), and Brazil (23,473).

 
 
 
 
 



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