US billionaire among 7 feared dead in helicopter crash near Bahamas


US billionaire among 7 feared dead in helicopter crash near Bahamas

Virginia: Coal tycoon Chris Cline is amongst the seven feared dead after the helicopter they were travelling in crashed off the coast of the Bahamas on Thursday.

The Governor of Virginia, Jim Justice, confirmed Cline's demise and tweeted, "Today we lost a WV superstar and I lost a very close friend. Our families go back to the beginning of the Cline empire - Pioneer Fuel. Chris Cline built an empire and on every occasion was always there to give. What a wonderful, loving, and giving man."

 
 

The 60-year-old businessman's friends told a Virginian daily, The Register-Herald, that one of the billionaire's daughters, David Jude, was also on board the helicopter which was found submerged near the Walker's Cay. The other passengers are said to be two young adults from Beckley, friends and a helicopter mechanic from Florida. Their identities have not been revealed.

The chopper was on its way to Fort Lauderdale from the Bahamas when the mishap occurred. "Initial reports are coming in that a helicopter departed, I think it's a cay near to Walker's Cay, at 2 am and I guess shortly after takeoff it crashed," a daily from the Bahamas, The Nassau Guardian, quoted its Minister of Tourism and Aviation, Dionisio D'Aguilar, as saying. The death toll has not been confirmed yet.

 
 
 



Donald Trump celebrates US Independence Day with massive military parade


Donald Trump celebrates US Independence Day with massive military parade

Washington: US President Donald Trump on Thursday celebrated America's Independence Day with an unprecedented display of country's military might at a parade in the national capital.

Trump became the first US President in over 70 years to deliver an Independence Day address which the Opposition Democratic leaders criticised for what they alleged politicisation of the country's declaration of independence from Britain on July 4, 1776.

Joined by First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, his cabinet colleagues and top military leadership, Trump in his address to thousands of people said this was an occasion to salute the US soldiers and generals.

"Today we come together as one nation. With this very special salute to America. We celebrate our history by people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag, the brave men and women of the United States military," said the US President.

In his 'Salute to America' address, Trump said the same American spirit that emboldened country's founders has kept its people strong throughout its history.

"To this day that spirit runs through the veins of every American patriot. It lives on in each and every one of you here today. It is the spirit, daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love that built this country into the most exceptional nation in the history of the world, and our nation is stronger today than it ever was before. it is its strongest now," he said.

 
 

The President recalled the upcoming anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. He recognised Gene Kranz, the NASA flight director from that mission, and promised someday soon that the US will "plant the American flag on Mars".

Trump recognised each branch of the armed forces, noting the Space Force would soon be added. He also recognised law enforcement and Gold Star families.

"Our nation has always honoured the heroes who serve our communities. The firefighters, first responders, police, sheriffs... border patrol and all of the brave men and women of law enforcement. On this July 4th, we pay special tribute to the military service members who laid down their lives for our nation," Trump said.

Several separate flyovers of military aircraft took place as Trump spoke about the legacy of the armed forces. The air platforms which participated in 'Salute to America' included Air Force One; F-18; MH-60 (1), US Air Force Aircraft B-2/F-22; US Marine Corps Aircraft: V-92/V-22; US Army: Aircraft: AH-64 and US Navy: F-35/F-18.

Among other military equipment were M1A2 Abrams Tanks; M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles; M88 Recovery Vehicle and Contact Truck with crew. "On this July 4, we pay special tribute to the military service members who laid down their lives for our nation. We are deeply moved to be in the presence this evening of gold star families whose loved ones made the supreme sacrifice," Trump said.

Opposition Democratic leaders criticised Trump for what they alleged politicisation of the Independence Day of the United States. Two protestors were arrested near the parade site. In addition two secret service agents received minor injuries in a flag-burning incident outside the White House.

-By Lalit K Jha FPJ.

 
 
 



US: One in custody after several people stabbed in Virginia


US: One in custody after several people stabbed in Virginia

Virginia: The police has detained one suspect after several people were stabbed inside a plasma centre in Petersburg here on Thursday. The police chief Kenneth Miller told CNN affiliate WTVR that the incident occurred at the Octapharma Plasma centre on Sycamore Street.

The identity of the suspect has not been revealed yet. The motive behind the stabbing is also not known. The number of people injured is yet to be announced.

 
 
 



Mike Pompeo arrives in Saudi Arabia to discuss Iran issue


Mike Pompeo arrives in Saudi Arabia to discuss Iran issue

Riyadh: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday for a regional visit to discuss Iran-related topics. Pompeo is expected to meet King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, before flying to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Xinhua news agency quoted Al Arabiya TV as saying.

Pompeo told reporters before departing that Washington wanted talks with Tehran even as it planned to impose "significant" new economic sanctions. Pompeo's visit comes as tensions peaked between the US and Iran after Tehran last week shot down an American reconnaissance drone.

 
 
 



3 terrorists killed in Karachi, claims Pakistan police


3 terrorists killed in Karachi, claims Pakistan police

Karachi: Three terrorists were killed in an operation conducted by Pakistani armed forces in Karachi late on Sunday.

After getting a tip-off, the police and intelligence agencies conducted an operation and during the exchange of fire, the terrorists were killed. However, two of their accomplices managed to escape.

The police have claimed that the trio was planning to "carry out sabotage activities" in Karachi. The police have also recovered a suicide jacket, hand grenades and large quantity of arms from their possession.

 
 
 



Hong Kong protest: Legislative Council meeting postponed; pepper spray used to disperse agitators


Hong Kong protest: Legislative Council meeting postponed; pepper spray used to disperse agitators

Hong Kong: The Legislative Council meeting, during which a debate on the controversial Chinese extradition bill was supposed to be held, has been rescheduled to a "later time" by the President of the Legislative Council.

This comes as swathes of anti-bill protesters have blocked major roads leading to the Legislative Council building, forcing police to use pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

"Under Rules of Procedure 14(3), the President of the Legislative Council has directed that the Council meeting of June 12 scheduled to begin at 11 am today be changed to a later time to be determined by him. Members will be notified of the time of the meeting later," CNN reported while quoting an official statement.

Lawmakers were slated to hear a second reading of the bill along with holding a debate on it during the meeting which is now rescheduled. 5,000 police personnel in anti-riot gear have sealed all entrances of the complex, around which the protests are being held.

The contested bill, which was proposed on April 3, has been defended by the region's pro-Beijing leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

"This is a very important piece of legislation that will help to uphold justice and also ensure that Hong Kong will fulfil her international obligations in terms of cross-boundary and transnational crimes," Lam said previously.

The protests took a violent turn on Monday as several hundred protesters clashed with police around Hong Kong's parliament.

Ignoring the huge public backlash, Lam said her administration had already made major concessions to ensure that the city's unique freedoms would be protected and that the bill's human rights safeguards met international standards.

"I and my team have not ignored any views expressed on this very important piece of legislation. We have been listening and listening very attentively," she said.

Calls for her resignation have been rampant throughout the protests against the document which was proposed on April 3.

Critics believe that the bill will leave anyone on Hong Kong soil vulnerable to being grabbed by the Chinese authorities for political reasons or inadvertent business offences, according to Al Jazeera.

They further reasoned that the newly framed extradition plan would dissolve the rights and legal protections, which were guaranteed under the city's handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

The vast majority of the protesters is made up of young people of high school or university age. Multiple pro-independence groups, including localist political party Youngspiration, are amongst those protesting today. The party, along with Hong Kong Indigenous, started the protests on Tuesday night.

Several appeals have been made for peaceful protests, with the leaders from the Civil Human Rights group urging demonstrators to "not confront police." The respective governments of countries like UK, USA, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan have issued travel advisories to their citizens in the wake of the protests.

Many observers have likened the latest demonstrations to the 2014 mass democracy protests, which have come to be known as the 'Umbrella Movement'. Several protesters can be seen holding umbrellas, much like the 2014 protests when the agitators used them as a tool to protect themselves from tear gas and pepper spray deployed by the police.




Manhattan crash: Deceased pilot wasn't certified to fly in bad weather


Manhattan crash: Deceased pilot wasn't certified to fly in bad weather
 



Easter attacks aftermath: Five-year jail term for those caught spreading fake news in Sri Lanka


Easter attacks aftermath: Five-year jail term for those caught spreading fake news in Sri Lanka

Colombo: Sri Lanka's government will introduce five-year jail terms for those caught spreading fake news and hate speech on social media, the government said Wednesday, following a surge in online vitriol and disinformation after the Easter suicide attacks.

The cabinet of ministers approved a proposal by the acting justice minister, which will also see offenders fined one million rupees (USD 5,715), the government said in a statement.

It did not immediately release a definition of the two offences, but said the penal code will be amended to introduce the new penalties.

The move follows repeated government allegations that platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp have been used to spread online hate, in a country where ethnic divisions still linger after decades of war.

Sri Lanka shut down internet access in March last year to prevent further violence when anti-Muslim mobs went on the rampage in the island nation's central region, killing three people and destroying hundreds of homes, shops, vehicles and mosques.

During the violence, mobs used social media platforms to organise attacks against minority groups.

Sri Lankan social networks also saw a surge in fake news after the Easter suicide bombings that left 258 people dead and nearly 500 wounded.

A nine-day ban on platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp was introduced following the Islamic State-claimed attacks on three churches and three hotels on April 21.

Last month Singapore's parliament passed laws to combat fake news that will allow authorities to order the removal of content and could see those convicted of violations imprisoned for up to 10 years.

 




Donald Trump targets India, China on bad air, water


Donald Trump targets India, China on bad air, water

water and they don't fulfil their responsibilities towards world's environment. Trump made the remark in an interview to British channel ITV when he was asked about his meeting with UK monarch Prince Charles. The leader, who facilitated his country's unceremonious exit from the Paris Agreement on climate change, also claimed the United States had one of the cleanest climates in the world.

"We (He and Prince Charles) were going to have a 15 minute chat... and it turned out to be an hour and a half...he did most of the talking. He is really into climate change," he told the interviewer. "I did say that the United States is among the cleanest climates there are based on all statistics and it is even getting better," he claimed. He said countries like India, China and Russia didn't have a sense of pollution and cleanliness.

"China, India, Russia, many other nations, they have not very good air, not very good water, and the sense of pollution and cleanliness," he said. "If you go to certain cities... I am not going to name these cities, but I can. If go to certain cities, you can't even breathe," he said adding," They don't do the responsibility," reports NDTV.

Online Report

  •  



Everest deaths: Nepal to limit access, but doubts linger


Everest deaths: Nepal to limit access, but doubts linger

Kathmandu: Under pressure after a deadly season on traffic-clogged Mount Everest, Nepal is considering tightening access to the world’s highest peak, but mountaineering experts fear the proposed changes could amount to little more than lip service.

Eleven people died during the climbing season that ended this week, as record numbers lined the route to the summit. Although overcrowding was blamed for at least four deaths, many say inexperience is a bigger killer.

“People who know nothing of climbing, never been on a mountain, came and tried to climb Everest,” Chilean mountaineer Juan Pablo Mohr told AFP after returning to Kathmandu.

“A lot of people didn’t know how to put (on) crampons or (use) the fixed rop­es,” he said, adding they rel­i­ed on an Army of sherpas or Nepali guides to help th­em accomplish such basic tasks.

For years, Kathmandu has issued permits to anyone willing to pay $11,000, regardless of whether they are rookie climbers or skilled mountaineers. After a devastating spring season, officials said they are mulling imposing more restrictions.

“We are looking into having a minimum requirement for climbers, fixing more ropes or taking more oxygen and sherpas,” said Mohan Krishna Sapkota, secretary at Nepal’s tourism ministry.

For veteran mountaineers, the announcement of new rules amounts to little more than a futile annual exercise —with the government each year promising tougher measures that fail to materialise by the following spring.

  •  



Top