A mosque has been set on fire in the Indian capital New Delhi as violent protests continue across the city with the death toll rising to 11.
Indian website The Wire reported that a mob shouting “Jai Shri Ram”, translated to “hail Lord Ram”, paraded around the burning mosque in the Ashok Nagar area of the capital on Tuesday.
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Video footage shared on social media showed a mob climbing to the top of the mosque’s minaret where they attempted to plant a saffron flag.
Local media reported that shops in the area were also being targeted by the mob.
Police imposed a restriction on large gatherings in northeast Delhi as reports emerged of stone-pelting and more structures being set ablaze.
— DOAM (@doamuslims) February 24, 2020
“I can confirm that 11 people have died in the violence, including a policeman who died yesterday,” Sunil Kumar, medical superintendent of Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, where the injured were taken to, told Al Jazeera.
Another official at the hospital, Rajesh Kalra, told AFP news agency that 31 people, including 10 who were seriously hurt, were admitted earlier on Tuesday.
“Since yesterday, we’ve been calling the police to enforce a curfew, to send reinforcements,” Saurabh Sharma, a student from a riot-hit area who took his injured friend to the hospital, told AFP.
Anil Mittal, a senior police officer, said approximately 150 people were injured in the violence that started as US President Donald Trump arrived on a two-day India trip.
“Some of the people brought in had gunshot wounds,” Rajesh Kalra, additional medical superintendent at the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, said of Monday’s violence.
Fresh violence has been reported from Muslim populated areas such as Karawal Nagar, Maujpur, Bhajanpura, Vijay Park and Yamuna Vihar, while stones were thrown in neighbourhoods such as Maujpur.
Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal appealed to residents to maintain peace after an urgent meeting of his newly elected legislators in the capital.
‘Severe shortage’ of police officers
Kejriwal told ANI news agency that his party’s legislators from the affected areas said there was a “severe shortage” of police officers.
The clashes erupted on Sunday after supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament last December, attacked anti-government protest sites. The CAA, dubbed “anti-Muslim”, has triggered nationwide protests, especially by Muslims.
Two of my colleagues @arvindgunasekar and @saurabhshukla_s were badly beaten by a mob just now in Delhi, they only stopped beating them after realising they are “our people- Hindus”. Absolutely despicable.
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) February 25, 2020
The violence started a day after the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kapil Mishra warned anti-CAA protesters to end their peaceful sit-ins in the northeastern Jafrabad and Maujpur areas of the Indian capital.
On Monday, police used tear gas and smoke grenades but struggled to disperse the stone-throwing crowds.
A tyre market was set on fire later on Monday, the Press Trust of India said. A video posted on social media showed crowds of men also shouting “Jai Shree Ram” as they went on a rampage, according to AFP.
Several vehicles and a fire truck were torched in Jafrabad and Maujpur as police imposed prohibitory orders to prevent further violence.
A man is beaten during a clash between people supporting a new citizenship law and those opposing the law in New Delhi [Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]
‘Additional police officers deployed’
Mittal, the Delhi Police official, said on Tuesday additional police officers had been deployed in the northeast district of Delhi.
One police constable was among those killed in the violence that erupted just ahead of Trump’s maiden visit to the capital city.
Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks on Tuesday at a venue located a few miles away from where the clashes occurred.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal: MLAs of the affected areas informed me that there is a severe shortage of police force and police can’t take action till they receive orders from the top. I have also asked District Magistrates to take out peace march with police in these areas. https://t.co/K9UcxvCSYR
— ANI (@ANI) February 25, 2020
Tension in parts of the city remained high on Tuesday with schools remaining shut in some areas, amid news reports of fresh clashes. At least five metro stations in the city were closed.
Several journalists covering the violence were also attacked by angry mobs at several places.
“Two of my colleagues Arvind Gunasekar and Saurabh Shukla were badly beaten by a mob just now in Delhi, they only stopped beating them after realising they are “our people- Hindus”. Absolutely despicable,” a senior journalist Nidhi Razdan wrote on twitter.
Monday’s clashes were among the worst seen in Delhi since the protests against the CAA began in early December.
India’s capital has been a hotbed of protests against the law, which eases the path of non-Muslims from three neighbouring Muslim-majority countries to gain Indian citizenship.
This has led to accusations that Modi and his Hindu nationalist BJP are undermining India’s secular ethos.
The BJP denies any bias against India’s more than 180 million-strong Muslim minority, but objectors have been holding protests and camping out in parts of New Delhi for two months.
Bilal Kuchay contributed to this report from New Delhi
People supporting the new citizenship law beat a Muslim man during a clash with those opposing the law in New Delhi [Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]
Ginsburg’s death punctures Biden’s carefully crafted ‘Seinfeld’ campaign
ANALYSIS/OPINION: The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (which has yet to be described as “untimely”) gives President Trump the opportunity he needs to change the subject and focus of the presidential campaign. Whether he can take advantage of it is an open question. At the same time, Justice Ginsburg’s death poses the most daunting…
The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (which has yet to be described as “untimely”) gives President Trump the opportunity he needs to change the subject and focus of the presidential campaign. Whether he can take advantage of it is an open question.
At the same time, Justice Ginsburg’s death poses the most daunting challenge to the Biden campaign’s careful and brilliant strategy. The Biden crew created and has remained committed to a campaign in which the candidate says nothing, surrogates say nothing and the campaign itself consists of very limited interaction of any kind — no door knocks, no field offices — with voters.
Similarly, the campaign has been quiet about its preferred policies, other than its opposition to the current occupant of the White House. It is, in short, the “Seinfeld” of campaigns.
This approach is brilliant. It is predicated on Mr. Trump’s penchant to make everything good, bad or indifferent — about himself. Even in an election in which it is essential to draw distinctions between the candidates and make the campaign a referendum about the challenger, Mr. Trump has been unable to resist the spotlight.
The strategy also accounts for the intellectual and mental fragility of the Democratic Party’s own candidate. Mr. Biden is almost certainly incapable of enduring the physical and psychological demands of a traditional campaign. More importantly, the campaign’s silence throughout the duration of the election season has also enabled Mr. Biden to avoid taking sides in the sub rosa ideological strife incinerating the Democratic Party.
The opinion research about the race confirms the wisdom of the strategy. No matter what else has happened in the world, the race has been static for the last nine months. Mr. Biden retains a reliable 6- to 10-point advantage in nationwide surveys and holds narrow leads in most of the states that will determine the election.
Unfortunately for Mr. Biden, the death of Justice Ginsburg, and the nomination and confirmation of her replacement, guarantees that the internal disagreements among the Democrats will now break into public view. Leaders, most especially Mr. Biden, will be compelled to take positions with respect to institutional changes including ending the filibuster, packing the U.S. Supreme Court and providing statehood to places that may not want it (Puerto Rico) or to places to which the American people may not want to tie their fates.
Mr. Biden’s carefully-curated silence will be pierced. He will have to say something about each of these ill-advised ideas.
That will provide Mr. Trump with a way to expose his rival as what he is — an empty vessel for pink collectivism — rather than what he was — a marginally competent career clubhouse Democrat.
A contest that has been mired in stasis for the last eight months, has finally found its MacGuffin. The only question that remains is whether Mr. Trump can maintain the spotlight on Mr. Biden as he flails in the newly energized and volatile environment of an angry, splintered Democratic Party. That party rightly wants to be sure that all of its leaders are prepared to disrupt governmental institutions to the extent necessary to achieve its goals.
The struggle will clarify the Senate races as well. Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina now have a chance to energize voters on their behalf. Gov. Steve Bullock in Montana will suffer in his Senate campaign, too, as he also is forced to pick sides.
Mr. Trump’s best chance to win reelection is to keep the attention on Mr. Biden for the next six weeks. That’s a tall order for a man like Mr. Trump. At this point, however, it is what remains.
• Michael McKenna, a columnist for The Washington Times, is the president of MWR Strategies. He was most recently a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.
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Death toll rises as wildfires ravage US West Coast |NationalTribune.com
The death toll from wildfires that have ravaged the United States’ West Coast has risen to 33 as the National Weather Service has issued a “red flag warning” amid high winds and dry conditions in Oregon and some California counties. Authorities said the conditions are expected to “contribute to a significant spread of new and…
The death toll from wildfires that have ravaged the United States’ West Coast has risen to 33 as the National Weather Service has issued a “red flag warning” amid high winds and dry conditions in Oregon and some California counties.
Authorities said the conditions are expected to “contribute to a significant spread of new and existing fires”, amid days of blazes across the states of California, Oregon and Washington that have destroyed neighbourhoods and forest land, leaving barren and grey landscapes the size of New Jersey.
At least 10 people have been killed in the past week throughout Oregon. Officials have said more people are missing from other blazes, and the number of fatalities is likely to rise. Twenty-two people have died in California since early August, and one person has been killed in Washington state.
‘Unprecedented’ wildfires rage across western US
On Sunday, search and rescue teams, with dogs in tow, were deployed across the blackened ruins of southern Oregon towns.
At least 35 active fires were burning in the state, as drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high winds created the “perfect firestorm” for the blazes to grow, Governor Kate Brown told CBS news on Sunday.
Crews in Jackson County, Oregon were hoping to venture into rural areas where the Alameda Fire has abated slightly with slowing winds, sending up thick plumes of smoke as the embers burned. From Medford through the neighbouring communities of Phoenix and Talent, an apocalyptic scene of charred residential subdivisions and trailer parks stretched for miles along Highway 99.
After four days of brutally hot, windy weather, the weekend brought calmer winds blowing inland from the Pacific Ocean, and cooler, moister conditions that helped crews make headway against blazes that had burned unchecked earlier in the week.
Still, emergency officials worried that the shifting weather might not be enough to quell the fires.
“We’re concerned that the incoming front is not going to provide a lot of rain here in the Medford region and it’s going to bring increased winds,” Bureau of Land Management spokesman Kyle Sullivan told Reuters news agency.
In California, nearly 17,000 firefighters were battling 29 major wildfires, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). Improving weather conditions had helped them gain a measure of containment over most of the blazes.
More than 4,000 homes and other structures have been incinerated in the state alone over the past three weeks. Three million acres of land have been burned in the state, according to Cal Fire.
The heavy smoke that has painted California skies orange has also helped fire crews corral the state’s deadliest blaze this year by blocking the sun, reducing temperatures and raising humidity.
The smoke created cooler conditions in Oregon as well. But it was also blamed for creating the dirtiest air in at least 35 years in some places, which the state’s environmental quality spokesperson described as “literally off the charts”.
Took the drone up to show just how smoky it is in Daly City! @RobMayeda @KTVU @NWSBayArea @nbcbayarea @KPIXtv @MaryKPIX @abc7newsbayarea @DrewTumaABC7 @weatherchannel @Weather_West @WeatherNation @SFmeteorologist #CAwx #CAFires #CAfire #ORwx #ORfires #BayArea pic.twitter.com/uiaU2yxrfg
— Antonio Maffei (@AMaffeiWX) September 10, 2020
On Saturday, all five of the world’s most air-polluted cities were on the US West Coast, according to IQAir, with dense smog and ash coating the atmosphere from Los Angeles up to Vancouver in Canada.
In Portland, residents stuffed towels under door jambs to keep smoke out or wore N95 masks in their own homes.
Role of climate change
The three Democratic leaders of California, Oregon and Washing blamed the states’ dire conditions on climate change.
“It’s maddening right now we have this cosmic challenge to our communities, the entire West Coast of the United States on fire, to have a president to deny that these are not just wildfires, these are climate fires,” Washington State Governor Jay Inslee told ABC’s “This Week” programme.
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said it was “undeniable” the extreme circumstances were connected to climate change.
A massive smoke plume – emanating from a ~74,000 acre (~115 square mile) wildfire near Sequoia National Forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains – moves downwind (northward) into central/northern California during the late morning hours on Sunday Sept 13, 2020. #KSwx #COwx #NEwx pic.twitter.com/XKYuNNetE8
— NWS Goodland (@NWSGoodland) September 13, 2020
Trump, for his part, is set to visit California on Monday and meet with federal and state officials.
He has said that western governors bear some of the blame for intense fire seasons in recent years, and has accused them of poor forest management.
“They never had anything like this,” said Trump, who systematically downplays global warming, at a campaign event in Nevada. “Please remember the words, very simple: forest management.”
John Lewis death sparks calls to rename Edmund Pettus Bridge for late civil rights icon
Calls to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge civil-rights landmark in honor of late Rep. John Lewis have swelled following the Georgia Democrat’s death Friday at the age of 80. Beatles co-founder Paul McCartney and former United Nations ambassador Samantha Power are among the people who took to Twitter on Saturday to propose naming the bridge…
Calls to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge civil-rights landmark in honor of late Rep. John Lewis have swelled following the Georgia Democrat’s death Friday at the age of 80.
Beatles co-founder Paul McCartney and former United Nations ambassador Samantha Power are among the people who took to Twitter on Saturday to propose naming the bridge for Lewis.
Online petitions created in support of the proposed name change, including some launched weeks before his death, received a spike in signatures over the weekend as well.
Mr. Lewis, a longtime civil rights activist, famously marched across the Pettus Bridge with fellow demonstrators during a 1965 protest that ended in them being viciously assaulted.
A flashpoint during the civil rights movement, the brutal attack was followed days later by the introduction of the Voting Rights Act, federal legislation to combat suppression of voting right of African Americans in the segregated South.
Spanning the Alabama River in the city of Selma, the bridge is currently named for Pettus, a former Confederate general, U.S. senator and Ku Klux Klan leader who died in 1907.
Mr. McCartney remembered Mr. Lewis as a “great leader who fought with honesty and bravery for civil rights in America” in a Twitter post where he endorsed renaming the bridge for him.
Ms. Power, the U.S. ambassador to the UN under former President Barack Obama, similarly encouraged her social media followers to sign a petition in support of the name change.
Two other separate but similar petitions hosted on the website Change.org had been digitally signed a combined total of close to 400,000 times since being created, meanwhile.
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