World Romania suspect admits murdering two teenage girls
Thousands of protesters gathered outside the interior ministry in Bucharest on Saturday evening to commemorate 15-year-old Alexandra Thousands of protesters gathered outside the interior ministry in Bucharest on Saturday evening to commemorate 15-year-old Alexandra (AFP Photo/Daniel MIHAILESCU) Bucharest (AFP) – A man in Romania has admitted to killing two teenage girls including a 15-year-old whose disappearance this week shook the country and claimed the scalp of the police chief, the suspect’s lawyer said Sunday.The suspect, named as 65-year-old Gheorghe Dinca, „has confessed his crimes”, lawyer Alexandru Bogdan was quoted as saying by Agerpres news agency.After initially refusing to answer any questions, Dinca eventually caved and admitted to the murders of Alexandra who vanished on Wednesday and 19-year-old Luiza, missing since April.Dinca was taken into custody Saturday after investigators searching his home and garden found human remains and jewellery belonging to Alexandra.She was snatched Wednesday as she tried to hitch-hike home to Dobrosloveni in southern Romania.On Thursday morning, she girl managed to ring the emergency number 112 three times and give clues to police about the place she was being held by a car driver who had picked her up.She yelled „he’s coming, he’s coming” before the line was cut, police said.The case has sparked outcry in Romania, with thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets of Bucharest on Saturday evening.Critics allege that officials failed to take the alert seriously and finally reacted too late to locate and help save the teen.- ‘Assassins’ -Interior Minister Nicolae Moga announced late Friday that he had sacked police chief Ioan Buda. Four other officials were also forced to resign.Centre-right President Klaus Iohannis — who is frequently at loggerheads with the ruling Social Democrats — said the „resignations of all those who mishandled this case which had such dramatic consequences are obligatory”.Luiza disappeared three months ago in the same area under similar circumstances.Her parents this week accused police of also botching the case.They said one official allegedly implied their daughter may have run off „with her Prince Charming” when they filed their report in April.In Alexandra’s case, officers had searched three buildings before they finally found the house where she had been held, more than 12 hours after her phone calls.Police then sought a search warrant, which is not required in emergencies, and waited till dawn to enter the house — 19 hours after Alexandra’s last call.Thousands of protesters rallied outside the interior ministry in Bucharest on Saturday evening, placing flowers and candles at a makeshift memorial.Chanting „assassins” and „incompetence”, the demonstrators demanded that Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and her cabinet step down.Critics have accused her government of weakening the criminal justice system with controversial reforms also heavily denounced by Brussels.”Why did the police not intervene earlier? Everyone needs to answer for this, from police officers and prosecutors to Dancila,” protester Cristian Nan, 55, told AFP on Saturday evening.
Earlier Saturday, Trump went after Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., in a series of tweets for the veteran congressman’s criticisms of the administration’s treatment of migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump called Cummings a „brutal bully” and said the conditions in his legislative district, which includes much of Baltimore city, are „FAR WORSE and more dangerous” than the those on the southern border.
Misspelling the lawmaker’s name, Trump said, „Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.”
„No human being would want to live there,” he added.
Rep, Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA……
In its editorial, which ran in the paper’s Sunday print edition, the Sun responded to the president by calling him, „the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are ‘good people’ among murderous neo-Nazis.”
The Sun said Trump is „stll not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity.
„Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings: What you need to know about the chairman of the House Oversight Committee
Cummings has been a fierce critic of Trump and, as the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is leading several investigations into the president and his administration. But the paper said Trump wasn’t only attacking Cummings because he „has been a thorn in the president’s side.”
„He was returning to an old standby of attacking an African American lawmaker from a majority black district on the most emotional and bigoted of arguments,” the Sun’s editorial board said. „It was only surprising that there wasn’t room for a few classic phrases like ‘you people’ or ‘welfare queens’ or ‘crime-ridden ghettos’ or a suggestion that the congressman ‘go back’ to where he came from.”
Earlier this month, Trump sparked outrage when he told four Democratic congresswomen, all of them U.S. citizens who belong to ethnic minorities, to „go back” and fix their „crime infested” countries of origin before trying to legislate change in the U.S. His remarks were condemned as racist in a House resolution.
The Sun editorial said, „Trump sees attacking African American members of Congress as good politics, as it both warms the cockles of the white supremacists who love him and causes so many of the thoughtful people who don’t to scream.”
‘This is what racism looks like’: Congresswomen react to Trump’s ‘go back’ tweetstorm
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, a Baltimore native, also denounced the president’s comments as racist in a tweet on Saturday.
Cummings „is a champion in the Congress and the country for civil rights and economic justice, a beloved leader in Baltimore, and deeply valued colleague. We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership,” she said.
Trump rejected the accusation of racism and said there was „nothing wrong with bringing out the very obvious fact that Congressman Elijah Cummings has done a very poor job for his district and the City of Baltimore.”
Someone please explain to Nancy Pelosi, who was recently called racist by those in her own party, that there is nothing wrong with bringing out the very obvious fact that Congressman Elijah Cummings has done a very poor job for his district and the City of Baltimore. Just take…
The Sun defended its city from Trump’s attacks, pointing out that Baltimore is home to „Johns Hopkins Hospital, perhaps the nation’s leading medical center,” the U.S. Social Security Administration, „where they write the checks that so many retired and disabled Americans depend upon,” as well as „the beauty of the Inner Harbor” and „the proud history of Fort McHenry.” It also pointed out that the district’s „median income is actually above the national average.”
The paper argued that the president „has far more power to effect change in this city, for good or ill, than any single member of Congress.
„If there are problems here, rodents included, they are as much his responsibility as anyone’s, perhaps more because he holds the most powerful office in the land.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Baltimore Sun to Trump: ‘Better to have a few rats than to be one’
When Hunter Sego realized the insulin he needed to manage his Type 1 diabetes cost more than $1,400, he called his mother in a panic. His family had insurance. He did not believe it was possible a one-month supply of “life saving” medication could cost so much.
The price tag was correct.
Then a student and football player at DePauw University, he began to ration his insulin, using a quarter of what had been prescribed. He lost weight. His grades dropped. He struggled on the field.
Fortunately, his mother found out and stopped him from rationing his insulin – a practice that is increasingly common and potentially deadly.
On Sunday, Sego and his mother, Kathy, drove seven hours from Indiana to join a caravan of roughly a dozen patients with Type 1 diabetes on a bus to Canada with Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The Americans – wearing glucose monitors on their arms and shirts that said “diabetic” – set out to buy insulin for a fraction of its cost at home.
Sanders’ northern sojourn, a trip his campaign sponsored, was designed to highlight the rising cost of prescription drugs in the US, which the senator said was the result of “incredible corruption and greed” on the part of the US pharmaceutical industry.
“How does it happen 10 minutes away from the American border in Michigan, people here are paying one-10th of the price for the vitally important drug they need to stay alive?” Sanders asked, calling the disparity a “national embarrassment”.
In his remarks outside of the Olde Walkerville Pharmacy in Windsor, Sanders vowed that as president he would appoint an attorney general to investigate the pharmaceutical industry for what he described as “collusion” between the major drug companies.
“Prices go up and up and up at the same level for the same companies,” he said. “So what you do is you throw these people in jail if they engage in price-fixing.”
The greed of the pharmaceutical industry – the corruption of the pharmaceutical industry – is scandalous
The trip came just two days before the second Democratic debate in Detroit. Among 20 candidates over two nights, healthcare is expected to be a major flashpoint.
Sanders has exchanged barbs with former Vice-President Joe Biden, who has called the senator’s healthcare policies “risky”. Sanders has accused Biden, whose healthcare plan would build on the Affordable Care Act, of not being honest about Medicare for all.
Sanders’ signature proposal, which would give the US something similar to Canada’s national healthcare system, has framed the party debate. Several leading candidates support some version of it.
The bus took about an hour to drive six miles across the Detroit river to Windsor, Ontario. Sanders listened as people told their stories.
Quinn Nystrom, a Type 1 diabetic who organizes caravans out of Minnesota, said she knew people who had lost limbs, been hospitalized or even died as a result of rationing medicine.
“Insulin is our oxygen,” she said, stressing that caravan trips are not a sustainable solution to the problem, especially because many cannot afford to take a day off of work or find the fee to apply for a passport.
“What [the pharmaceutical companies] are doing to Americans is price-gouging us and they’re holding us hostage and people are dying,” she said.
When the bus arrived at the pharmacy, around 100 Canadians greeted the passengers. Some held signs that said “Insulin is a human right”. A little girl held a Sanders plush toy with a button on the back that said: “Push to activate the revolution.” An elderly man played accordion while trying to finagle a moment with the senator.
In Canada, insulin does not require a prescription. When the American group finished their purchases, Sanders drew gasps from the Canadian crowd.
Citing a Yale study, he told them that one in four American diabetics ration their insulin because of cost. That prince for one vial has risen astronomically in two decades, he said, as pharmaceutical companies have spent “hundreds of millions of dollars on campaign contributions” and “billions of dollars lobbying Congress”.
“Shame!” someone shouted.
Another yelled: “Disgrace!”
“They buy and sell politicians, Republicans and Democrats,” the senator said, “to make sure that they can continue to charge the American people any price they want. This is not just insulin, it is prescription drug after prescription drug.”
Kathy and Hunter Sego paid $1,000 for 25 vials of insulin, enough for about six months. They estimated it would have cost $10,000 more for the same supply back home.
Speaking to the crowd at the pharmacy, she described the hardship of choosing to pay the electricity bill or for son’s medicine. On at least two occasion’s their power has been turned off.
“How can that be that in the United States of America that I am paying so much for insulin?” she asked, fighting back tears.
Pharmaceutical companies are price-gouging us and they’re holding us hostage and people are dying
Sanders’ Medicare for all plan would cap the out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs at $200 per year. Earlier this year, he introduced a package of bills aimed at lowering prices. The legislation would allow the government to directly negotiate with drug manufacturers, to obtain lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries. It would also enable US consumers to import pills from Canada and other industrialized countries and it would set drug prices based on what they cost in those other places.
“This resonates in Canada as well,” said Nada Temerinski, 29, who had come from Montreal.
Unlike Sanders’ vision for the US, Canada has a private heath insurance since its system does not cover the cost of all benefits, such as prescription drugs. Instead, a review board negotiates prices in part based on rates in other countries.
“I would hope that it inspires Canadian politicians,” Temerinski said of Sanders’ work. “I’m hoping as America moves further left, that Canada does as well and ideally we could move towards prescription-free.”
Rachael Lockwood, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was sharing insulin prescribed for one child with Type 1 diabetes between two when another son was diagnosed.
“We were desperate,” she said. On Sunday, she and her three children aged 7, 12, and 16, made their second trip to Canada for the insulin.
In 2016, she voted for Donald Trump in hopes that a businessman might be able to fix the nation’s problems. But now that she is a “medical refugee,” as one member of the caravan described them, forced to travel abroad for affordable medicine, her perspective has changed. Trump, she said, will not be her choice in 2020.
This was not Sanders’ first trip to Canada for prescription drugs. He said he had made a similar trip from Vermont to Montreal, with women with breast cancer.
“It never ends,” he said, shaking his head. “The greed of the pharmaceutical industry – the corruption of the pharmaceutical industry – is scandalous and we have got to take them on.”
Protest monitor OVD-Info reported that 1,373 people were detained in Moscow — the highest number since mass demonstrations in 2012
Moscow (AFP) – Russian police arrested nearly 1,400 people as they gathered in Moscow at the weekend to demand free and fair elections, a monitor said Sunday, the biggest such crackdown in years.
About 3,500 people took part in the unauthorised protest on Saturday according to official figures, after authorities blocked prominent opposition candidates from taking part in municipal elections.
Police used batons on protesters as they tried to gather outside city hall, and AFP reporters at the scene saw demonstrators with injuries.
The rally comes amid wider public frustration over declining living standards that has hit President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings.
A week before, 22,000 took to the streets in a sanctioned protest, calling on authorities to reverse their decision ahead of the September city council vote.
After that demonstration, investigators raided the homes and headquarters of a number of disqualified candidates. Top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was jailed for 30 days for calling the fresh protest.
On Sunday, Navalny was taken to hospital from jail after suffering what his press secretary said was a „severe allergic reaction”, despite having never suffered from allergies.
Leonid Volkov, an ally of Navalny, said he had a similar allergic reaction after serving time last month in the same jail. But he suggested hygiene conditions rather than a „conspiracy” was to blame.
Several would-be candidates were detained before or during the protest on Saturday.
OVD-Info, an organisation that monitors protests, reported Sunday that 1,373 people were arrested.
It said this was the highest number since mass demonstrations in 2012, when tens of thousands protested Putin’s return to the Kremlin after four years as prime minister.
Opposition activists have called for another rally for open elections next weekend.
– ‘Disproportionate police force’ –
The US embassy in Moscow denounced the use of what it said was „disproportionate police force” against peaceful protestors.
The violence and arrests „undermine rights of citizens to participate in the democratic process,” embassy spokeswoman Andrea Kalan wrote in a tweet.
The EU said police actions undermined „the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly,” while Amnesty International also criticised the crackdown.
In a statement, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland emphasised that „all legitimate candidates should be allowed to participate and free and fair elections must be guaranteed.”
Elections to Moscow’s 45-seat legislative body, currently controlled by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, are to be held in six weeks.
While pro-Kremlin candidates enjoy the support of the state, independent candidates say they have been made to jump through countless hoops in order to get on the ballot for the city polls.
Following pickets last week, including outside the local election commission building, investigators said they were launching a criminal probe into obstructing the work of election officials.
If found guilty, organisers risk up to five years in prison.
Local polls are a rare opportunity for dissenting voices to participate in political life as anti-Kremlin parties have been squeezed out of parliament over Putin’s two decades in power.
Russia detains more than 1,000 people in opposition crackdown
By Gleb Stolyarov and Andrew Osborn
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian police rounded up more than 1,000 people in Moscow on Saturday in one of the biggest crackdowns of recent years against an increasingly defiant opposition decrying President Vladimir Putin’s tight grip on power.
The detentions came around a protest to demand that opposition members be allowed to run in a local election. Authorities had declared it illegal and sought to block participation, but thousands of people turned up anyway in one of the longest and most determined protests of recent times.
Chants of „Russia without Putin” and „Putin resign” echoed through central Moscow as guardsmen clad in riot gear beat back protesters with batons and roughly detained people.
At least one woman and a man appeared to have suffered serious head wounds. Activists said the crackdown was the harshest since a wave of anti-Kremlin protests in 2011-12.
Saturday’s events showed how Kremlin critics and especially younger people remain intent on pressing to open Russia’s tightly-choreographed political system to competition.
Jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny had called the protest to persuade officials to allow opposition-minded candidates to run in a Sept. 8 vote.
Authorities say they were barred because they failed to collect sufficient genuine signatures in their support.
Navalny and his allies have no seats in parliament and are starved of air time on state TV where many Russians still get their news.
Opinion polls in the past have shown support for Navalny, a lawyer and anti-corruption activist, only in the single digits. But backers note he won almost a third of the vote in a 2013 Moscow mayoral race and say his movement could build momentum in the Russian capital if allowed to compete fairly.
Though Putin’s approval rating is still high at well over 60 percent, it is lower than it used to be due to discontent over years of falling incomes. Last year, the 66-year-old former KGB intelligence officer won a landslide re-election and a new six-year term until 2024.
Burnishing his man of action image, Putin spent Saturday diving to the bottom of the Gulf of Finland in a mini-submarine to honor a Soviet submarine that sunk there in World War Two.
ARRESTED „SITTING ON A BENCH”
OVD-Info, an independent monitoring group, said police detained at least 1,373 people before or at Saturday’s protest. As in past sweeps, many were only held for a matter of hours.
Police put participation at more than 3,500 people, of whom it said around 700 people were journalists and bloggers. Activists said the number attending was likely to have been much higher.
Some activists were arrested twice after being released and then returning to protest in a different place. Reuters witnesses said some of those detained appeared to be ordinary passersby in the wrong place at the wrong time.
One of those detained, Alexander Latyshev, 45, said he had came from the nearby Vladimir region to discuss business with an associate and been randomly detained. „I was just sitting on a bench (when they took me),” he told Reuters inside a police bus.
Police also raided an office being used by Navalny’s supporters to live-stream the protest.
TV Rain, an independent station covering the protests, said its editor-in-chief had been called in for questioning after police visited its offices.
Under Russian law, the location and timing of such protests needs to be agreed with authorities beforehand, something that was not done for Saturday’s event.
Kremlin critic Navalny was jailed for 30 days on Wednesday and other members of the opposition have had their homes searched. Ilya Yashin, a Navalny ally, said police had searched his Moscow flat overnight before detaining him and driving him out of the capital. He called for another protest next Saturday.
Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokeswoman, said on Twitter she had been detained on Saturday morning. Other prominent activists Dmitry Gudkov and Lyubov Sobol were also held.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a Putin ally, had warned beforehand that authorities would act decisively against the risk of „serious provocations”.
The police’s investigative arm has already opened a criminal investigation into an opposition rally in June which it said may have obstructed the work of Moscow’s electoral commission.
An authorized protest in Moscow last weekend, also calling for the disbarred candidates to be registered, was attended by more than 20,000 people, according to the White Counter monitoring group.
(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov, Maria Tsvetkova, Maxim Shemetov, Katya Golubkova, Shamil Zhumatov, Maria Vasilyeva and Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Katya Golubkova/Andrew Osborn; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)
Hong Kong Protests
HONG KONG (AP) — Police repeatedly fired tear gas and rubber bullets to drive back protesters blocking Hong Kong streets with road signs and umbrellas Sunday in another night of pitched battles as protests for democracy in the Chinese territory escalate.
It was the second night in a row that tear gas was used against protesters. Their demonstrations began early last month in opposition to an extradition bill that has since been suspended, but the movement has become a broader push for full democracy.
Protesters occupied two areas at opposite ends of central Hong Kong on Sunday following a midafternoon rally against police use of tear gas at a demonstration the previous weekend.
On the western end of Hong Kong Island, one group blocked areas near the Chinese government’s liaison office and began to move forward as night fell. Police issued warnings, and protesters threw eggs at them. Officers fired tear gas to halt the advance.
Police then embarked on an hourslong effort to push the protesters eastward and get them to disperse.
In repeated standoffs, spontaneous but highly organized protesters set up behind scaffolding that they built across a street. Police lined up behind clear shields about 30 meters (100 feet) down the road. Dozens of journalists in bright yellow vests stood on the sidelines between the groups.
The police would advance gradually, firing bursts of tear gas. Protesters in hard hats scurried about, rearranging makeshift barriers of pilfered road signs and other items. By the time the police reached the scaffolding, they had backed off about 6 meters (20 feet).
Another team of officers, more mobile with smaller shields, then swept in to clear the area. Local media reported some protesters were detained.
For more than seven weeks, protesters have taken to Hong Kong streets, initially to demand the scrapping of a proposed extradition law that would send suspects to mainland China to face trials. The legislation is seen as a threat to Hong Kong’s freedoms that were guaranteed for 50 years when China took back control of the former British colony in 1997.
The bill was eventually suspended, but the protesters then called for the resignation of the city’s leader and an investigation into whether police have used excessive force in quelling the protests.
Underlying the movement is a push for full democracy in the city, whose leader is chosen by a committee dominated by a pro-Beijing establishment, rather than by direct elections.
Earlier Sunday, protesters rallied at a park in Hong Kong’s financial district before marching out in several directions despite not winning police approval for a public procession. It was the second straight day that protesters took to the streets without official permission.
A sea of black-shirted protesters, some with bright yellow helmets and masks but many with just backpacks, streamed out of Chater Garden park. Chanting „Add oil,” a phrase that roughly means „Keep up the fight,” a huge crowd marched east down a wide thoroughfare.
They stopped near the Sogo department store and set up barricades to block off the area and defend it against police.
Another group headed west toward mainland China’s liaison office. Protesters egged the office last weekend and splattered black ink on the national emblem, eliciting an angry reaction from the Chinese government.
Some stopped about two blocks short of the office and used orange and white construction barricades to build a wall spanning a major road. They massed behind the barriers as night fell, with umbrellas pointed forward to shield their identities and ward off any police move to clear them.
Some nearby stores shuttered early as police in riot gear gathered nearby ahead of the all but inevitable clearing operation.
The rally in Chater Garden was called to protest the police use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other force to break up a protest the previous Sunday.
„We need to have a protest to show that we are strongly against this kind of brutality and we need them to respond to our demands,” said rally organizer Ventus Lau.
Police had denied Lau’s request to march west to the Sheung Wan district, where the tear gas was used the previous weekend, citing escalating violence in clashes with protesters that have broken out after past marches and rallies.
„The police must prevent aggressive protesters from exploiting a peaceful procession to cause troubles and violent clashes,” said Superintendent Louis Lau of the police public relations branch.
On Saturday, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as demonstrators threw bricks and other objects and ducked behind makeshift shields at a march in an outlying district toward the border with mainland China.
Police had also denied permission for that protest in Yuen Long, where a mob apparently targeting demonstrators had beaten people brutally in a train station the previous weekend.
Police wearing helmets charged into the same train station, where a few hundred protesters had taken refuge from the tear gas. Some officers swung their batons at demonstrators, while others appeared to be urging their colleagues to hang back. For the second week in a row, blood was splattered on the station floor.
Police arrested 13 people, including march organizer Max Chung, for offenses including unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapon and assault, according to police and Hong Kong media. At least four officers were injured.
The Hospital Authority said 24 people were taken to five hospitals. As of Sunday morning, eight remained hospitalized, two in serious condition.
Amnesty International, the human rights group, called the police response heavy-handed and unacceptable.
„While police must be able to defend themselves, there were repeated instances today where police officers were the aggressors,” Man-kei Tam, the director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said in a statement.
Police said they had to use what they termed „appropriate force” because of the bricks and other objects thrown at them, including glass bottles with a suspected corrosive fluid inside.
Associated Press writer Ken Moritsugu in Beijing contributed to this report.
Amman (AFP) – A controversial US plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace could spell the demise of Jordan and turn it into a „Palestinian state”, Jordanians and analysts warn.
The initiative launched by US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner at a June conference in Bahrain dangles the prospect of $50 billion of investment into a stagnant Palestinian economy.
But it fails to address key issues such as an independent Palestinian state, Israeli occupation and the Palestinians’ right to return to homes from which they fled or were expelled after Israel’s creation in 1948.
The Palestinian Authority boycotted the Bahrain forum, accusing the unabashedly pro-Israel Trump of using the prospect of cash to try to impose political solutions, and of ignoring the fundamental issue of occupation.
Trump has taken the landmark step of recognising disputed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Kushner has suggested the peace plan would not mention a Palestinian state.
Kushner is returning to the Middle East later this month to push his economic plan which has been rejected by the Palestinians and criticised by Jordan.
„No economic proposal could replace a political solution that ends the occupation” of Palestinian territories by Israel, Jordan’s foreign ministry spokesman Sufyan al-Qudah said.
Jordan, one of only two Arab countries to have a peace treaty with Israel, sent only a low-level official to the June 25-26 conference in Manama.
In Amman, protests have been staged against what has been dubbed the „deal of the century”.
„It would mean the end of the Palestinian cause and it would wipe out Jordanian identity, both in one go,” said Khaled al-Khrisha, a 65-year-old Jordanian, at a rally last month outside the US embassy.
„Jordan will be the biggest loser after the Palestinians.”
Another demonstrator, 81-year-old Widad al-Aruri whose family originates from the West Bank, said the deal „means selling off the Palestinians and is dangerous for Jordan”.
The kingdom hosts millions of Palestinians who poured into the country in two waves, after Israel’s creation and following the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel occupied the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.
– ‘Gates of hell’ –
The largely desert country — which has little resources and relies heavily on international donors, including $1 billion a year from Washington — is home to 9.5 million people, more than half of them of Palestinian origin.
Two thirds of them are Jordanian citizens, while the others are considered refugees who many Jordanians fear will be settled permanently and given citizenship as well if the Kushner plan goes through.
More than two million Palestinians in Jordan are UN-registered refugees.
„Jordan is worried because the deal ignores the idea of an independent Palestinian state,” said Oraib Rintawi who runs the Al-Quds Centre for Political Studies.
As a result, he said, „this will mean that the sustainability of a Palestinian nation would be conditioned to it being linked somehow with Jordan and that will open the gates of hell for Jordan”.
And under pressure, Jordan would be forced to take in more Palestinians and eventually give them Jordanian citizenship.
„This is a nightmare,” he added.
– Economic challenges –
With an unemployment rate of about 18.5 percent, Jordan, whose stability is seen as vital for the volatile Middle East, was last year shaken by widespread economic protests.
In addition to hosting millions of Palestinians, the country has taken in a mass influx of refugees from its conflict-riddled neighbours Syria and Iraq, stretching its cash-strapped economy.
Ahmad Awad, head of the Phoenix Centre for Economics and Informatics Studies, said: „Forfeiting the right of return and compensation (for refugees) will be dangerous for Jordan and the Palestinians”.
He noted that a majority of Jordanians are of Palestinian origin, and a large number of West Bank residents are Jordanian citizens.
Jordan administered the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, until the 1967 war.
It remains custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, whose status is one of the thorniest of the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
„Jordan has no choice but to reject the (US) plan… and has already rejected it quite firmly (because)… it would turn Jordan into a Palestinian state,” said analyst Kirk Sowell of Utica Risk Services.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II has repeatedly ruled out a confederation with the Palestinians or giving up custodianship of Jerusalem holy sites, calling them „red lines”.
Showdown over the Sea of Japan?
World War III? How Russia, China, Japan and South Korea Nearly Started a War
The morning dawned peacefully enough on July 22 as Chinese and Russian warplanes soared towards a rendezvous point over the Sea of Japan for what was to be their first-ever joint patrol.
As Russia’s defense ministry put it, this was intended to deepen “Russian-Chinese relations within our all-encompassing partnership, of further increasing cooperation between our armed forces, and of perfecting their capabilities to carry out joint actions, and of strengthening global strategic security.”
Representing the PLA Air Force were two H-6K jet bombers which threaded their away through the international airspace of the Korean Strait to meet over the Eastern Sea with two modernized Russian Tu-95MS “Bear” bombers, each with four turboprop engines with noisy contra-rotating propellers.
Accompanying the Bears was a Russian A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning plane with a huge rotating radar dish mounted on a dorsal pylon to helped coordinate the multinational elements.
These aircraft repeatedly entered and exited South Korea’s air-defense identification zone (ADIZ), so the South Korean air force dispatched eighteen domestically-built F-15K Slam Eagle and KF-16 jet fighters to intercept them.
What happens now?
Turkey Stockpiled F-16 Parts Ahead of Getting the Russian S-400 Anti-Air System
NATO member Turkey is determined to acquire ballistic missile technology, and aims to co-produce the next generation of the S-400, the officials added, citing discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Erdogan said his country will take delivery of the S-400 within days.
A Bloomberg report says Turkey has been stockpiling parts for F-16s and other military equipment in anticipation of a U.S. sanction for acquiring the Russian S-400 air defense system.
Two anonymous officials from Turkey who spoke to the news outlet refused to clarify on what types of spares were accumulated, how much was acquired and how long they can last.
Relations between the two countries deteriorated over the course of the Syrian civil war, when the U.S. armed a Kurdish militia that Turkey views as a terrorist group, and in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan that his government blames on a Turkish imam residing in the U.S.
(This first appeared earlier in July 2019.)
NATO member Turkey is determined to acquire ballistic missile technology, and aims to co-produce the next generation of the S-400, the officials added, citing discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Erdogan said his country will take delivery of the S-400 within days.
“The first batch of S-400s will be delivered in a week or 10 days,” Haberturk newspaper cited him as saying in a report Monday. “I’ve clearly told this to Trump, Mr. Putin also said it.”
Italy Policeman Slain
ROME (AP) — The Latest on two Americans in custody over the killing of a policeman (all times local):
An Italian detention order says two American teenagers from California are being held in jail for investigation of murder in the fatal stabbing of a police officer.
The detention order was displayed on Italian state broadcaster RAI and it named the two suspects as Gabriel Christian Natale Hjorth and Finnegan Lee Elder. The order says they were both born in San Francisco in 2000. Police confirmed that the detention order shown on state TV was authentic.
Both are suspected in the fatal stabbing of 35-year-old officer Mario Cerciello Rega after a drug deal gone wrong. They are also being investigated for attempted extortion.
Elder’s lawyer, Francesco Codini, said his client exercised his right not to respond to questions during a detention hearing held Saturday in the Rome jail where the two teens are being kept.
The judge hasn’t ruled if they will be kept in jail beyond an initial three-day period.
Italian police say two young American tourists have confessed in the fatal stabbing of an Italian paramilitary policeman investigating the theft of a bag with a cellphone.
In a statement Saturday, Carabinieri officers investigating the death Friday of officer Mario Cerciello Rega, 35, said the Americans, both 19, have been detained for alleged murder and attempted extortion.
Separately, an investigator who declined to be named said the two had snatched the bag of a drug dealer in Rome who had given them „a different substance” instead of cocaine.
The Carabinieri said the Americans demanded a 100-euro ($112) ransom and a gram of cocaine to return the bag. The man called police, saying he had arranged a meeting with the thieves to get his bag back. There was a scuffle at the meeting and the policeman was stabbed to death.
Police Respond To Active Shooter At Gilroy Garlic Festival In California
Police and emergency crews responded Sunday to reports of an active shooter at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California.
Videos posted on social media show festivalgoers running en masse toward the exits.
The Gilroy Police Department said Sunday evening in a statement that the “scene is still active.” The statement said people looking for friends and family should head to the reunification center at parking lot B at Gavilan College.
The hearts of Gilroy PD and entire community go out to the victims of today’s shooting at the Garlic Festival. The scene is still active. If you are looking for a loved one, please go to the reunification center at Gavilan College at parking lot B. #GilroyActiveshooter
Several people were down in the incident, NBC’s Bay Area affiliate reported, citing emergency personnel. One eyewitness told the station that he had been leaving the event when he felt a bullet whiz past his head. HuffPost has not independently confirmed reports of injuries.
Miquita Price told the NBC affiliate that she was with three family members at the festival when she heard shots fired.
“We hid under a utility truck,” she said. “We used that for shelter.”
She described running away from the scene with a handful of people, including one woman Price said had been “shot in the neck.”
One of Price’s family members is still missing, she said.“I’m in front of where all the ambulances are, they are taking people and air-lifting people,” she said. “It’s crazy.”
#BREAKING: Gilroy police have confirmed an active shooter at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. We are working to provide you more details on this breaking news, stay tuned.
The three-day garlic festival, which is hosted by community volunteers and held at Gilroy’s Christmas Hill Park, raises money for local schools, charities and nonprofit organizations, according to the event’s website.
Tens of thousands of food lovers flock to the town annually to attend the event.
This is a developing story. Please back for updates.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
An airline has been asked to apologise after offering two strangers who had missed their flights an overnight stay in a room with a single bed.
Elizabeth Coffi Tabu, 71, had been due to return to Paris on 19 July after spending a month with her family in Canada.
However, when she missed the second leg of her journey from Montreal after her first flight was delayed, she was offered an overnight stay with another passenger – a 35-year-old man she had never met before.
Speaking to CNN, Coffi Tabu’s daughter Jerryne Mahele Nyota said: “My mother told the Air Canada agent, ‘I don’t know this man. We are not a couple,’ – but they said there was only one room.”
She added that her mother, who makes the trip out to North America every year, struggled to make her connection as she was currently a wheelchair user following a run of cancer treatment.
Upon discovering the room only had a single bed for them to sleep in, the man offered to spend the night on the sofa.
Ms Mahele Nyota added: „He was a perfect gentleman but I obviously felt uncomfortable with my mom spending a night with a man half her age, a man that’s a total stranger.”
After several hours Ms Mahele Nyota was able to arrange for another hotel room for her mother, who received two $10 (£8) food vouchers for her flight and a seat with additional leg room from the airline after explaining her ordeal.
She was returned to Paris almost 24 hours after her scheduled arrival time.
Mahele Nyota has since called on the airline to apologise, and expressed concern that vulnerable people unable to ask for help could be left in the same situation as her mother.
She told Canadian broadcaster CBC: “Now [my mother is] realising, how is it possible? You know? And she said, ‘It’s not fair, it’s not fair, they never gave me another option.'”
In a statement an Air Canada spokesperson said: “It is not our policy to have passengers who are not travelling together share a room. In this case an error was initially made allocating rooms.”