Vatican to dig up graves in search for missing teen


Vatican to dig up graves in search for missing teen

Vatican City: The Vatican will dig up two graves Thursday after an anonymous tip-off that they may contain the remains of an Italian teenager who went missing 36 years ago.

Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of Vatican employee, was last seen leaving a music class aged 15, and theories have circulated for decades about who took her and where her body may lie.

Orlandi's brother Pietro, who has campaigned tirelessly for the Vatican to open an investigation into her disappearance, will be present when the graves are opened at the Teutonic Cemetery.

The exhumation comes after the family's lawyer received a tip-off with a picture of an angel-topped grave in the cemetery, and a message which simply read: "Look where the angel is pointing".

The small, leafy cemetery, located on the original site of the Emperor Nero circus, is usually the last resting place for German-speaking members of Catholic institutions.

Beyond St Peter's Basilica, in an area off-limits to tourists, neat rows of tombstones lie behind a wrought-iron gate, some shaded by palm trees, others bordered by pink roses.

The tombs that will be opened belong to two princesses, buried in 1836 and 1840. The remains found within will be removed and examined on-site by Italian forensic anthropologist Giovanni Arcudi.

He expects to be able to roughly date the bones within about five hours, he said in an interview published by the Vatican on Wednesday. "The state of conservation of the bones is what will determine the time required.

"Much depends on the environmental conditions, on the microclimate in which they are found, on the humidity, on the presence of infiltrations, on possible actions of microfauna," he said.

It will be possible to say "whether a bone has been there 50 years or 150 years". He expects to be able to determine the gender and whether or not the remains belong to more than one person per tomb.

Arcudi will extract material for DNA analysis, regardless of his initial findings. "The DNA test will be done in any case, in order to be certain and to exclude definitively and categorically the chance that any remains in the two tombs are attributable to poor Emanuela," he said.

Results could take up to 60 days, he added. "I've always hoped she's alive, and to find her alive," 60-year-old Pietro Orlandi, whose mother still lives within the Vatican walls, told AFP on Wednesday.

"But if Emanuela is dead and is buried there, it's right that what has been hidden for so many years comes to light". According to some theories widely circulated in Italian media, the teen was snatched by a mobster gang to put pressure on the Vatican to recover a loan.

Another claim often repeated in the press was that she was taken to force the release from prison of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981.

The family braced for a possible breakthrough last year, when human remains were found at a Vatican property in Rome. In 2017, conspiracy specialists were driven into a frenzy by a leaked -- but apparently falsified -- document, purportedly written by a cardinal and pointing to a Vatican cover-up.

Five years earlier, forensic experts exhuming the tomb of a notorious crime boss at a Vatican church uncovered some 400 boxes of bones. Enrico De Pedis, head of the Magliana gang, was suspected of involvement in her kidnapping and some speculated the youngster may be buried alongside him -- but DNA tests failed to find a match.

-By AFP

 
 
 



Harvard economist suspended for 'unwelcome sexual conduct'


Harvard economist suspended for 'unwelcome sexual conduct'

Cambridge: Harvard University has suspended a well-known economist after an investigation found he engaged in "unwelcome sexual conduct" toward several people.

Claudine Gay, a Harvard dean, said in an email to the economics department Wednesday that the review found Roland Fryer Jr. created a "hostile work environment" over several years.

Gay says Fryer will be placed on administrative leave for two years. Fryer was accused last year of talking about sex, making inappropriate comments and objectifying women in his research lab.

He called those allegations "patently false" and denied ever discriminating against or harassing anyone in his lab. Fryer said in an emailed statement Wednesday he's "deeply disappointed," particularly because his colleagues' work in the research lab has been stopped. He says "Harvard has spoken" and "in due course" he will as well.

-By AP




US: Outrage over killing of black teen over rap music complaint


US: Outrage over killing of black teen over rap music complaint

Phoenix: Hundreds of people including a presidential candidate spoke out on Twitter this week after a 17-year-old black youth was killed at suburban convenience store, allegedly by a white man charged Tuesday with first-degree murder who has said he felt threatened by the boy's rap music.

Family members have told local media that Elijah Al-Amin would have turned 18 in two weeks and was looking forward to his last year in high school. Friends and family hugged Monday at the Islamic Community Center in Tempe, where prayers for the teen were held before burial in Maricopa County.

A modest makeshift memorial outside the convenience store where Al-Amin was stabbed was still erected on Tuesday, with a pair of white porcelain angels, fresh flowers and burning calendars - including one dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Catholic patron saint of Mexico.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said it filed a direct complaint Tuesday charging Michael Adams, 27, in the Thursday morning killing. First-degree murder carries a sentence of life behind bars or death. Adams is next scheduled to appear in court July 15.

The Twitter hashtag #JusticeForElijah began trending over the Independence Day weekend after police in the suburban Phoenix city of Peoria arrested Adams. He had been released from state prison two days before.

"Another one of our children has been murdered in a heinous and unprovoked way_the DOJ must investigate this hate crime immediately," Democratic candidate Cory Booker wrote on his Twitter account Monday.

"RIP Elijah. #JusticeForElijah." Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian American civil rights activist from Brooklyn, New York, called the crime "outrageous" and said it recalled the 2012 killing of 17-year-old high school student Jordan Davis in Jacksonville, Florida. "Rest in power Elijah Al-Amin," she wrote.

Michael Dunn, who is white, was later convicted of first-degree murder in that earlier killing, a shooting that erupted during an argument about loud music coming from a car carrying Davis and other black teenagers.

In the Arizona attack, first responders discovered Al-Amin collapsed outside the Peoria Circle K store's gas pumps and took him to a hospital, where he died. Several people inside the store had watched as Al-Amin was stabbed in the throat and the back before he ran outside.

Officers found Adams nearby with a pocket knife and blood on his body. Adams told them he had felt threatened by the rap music coming from Al-Amin's vehicle.

Adams' attorney, Jacie Cotterell, told the judge at his initial appearance hearing that her client was mentally ill and released without any medication, "no holdover meds, no way to care for himself." Cotterell said during the videotaped court hearing that "this is a failing on the part of the (Arizona) Department of Corrections." Adam's bond was maintained at $1 million. He had been freed July 2 after serving a 13-month sentence for aggravated assault.

Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux said in a statement that "the tragic death is terrible, and Mr. Adams will have to answer for his alleged actions."

The statement said that when Adams was released he "was not designated seriously mentally ill" and that once the department transported him from the state prison complex in Yuma where he had served his sentence to Maricopa County it "had no further legal authority over him."

Many of the people commenting on Twitter said that claims about Adams' mental illness should not be used to explain away what they believe was a hate crime. There is no hate crime statute in Arizona, but a judge's determination that a hate crime has occurred can toughen sentencing.

-By AP

 
 
 



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
 



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