Egypt Conducts Air Strikes Against Terrorist Group In Eastern Libya That Massacred Christians Earlier Today

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

By Ahmed Aboulenein | MINYA, EGYPT

Egyptian fighter jets carried out strikes on Friday directed at camps in Libya which Cairo says have been training militants who killed dozens of Christians earlier in the day.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he had ordered strikes against what he called terrorist camps, declaring in a televised address that states that sponsored terrorism would be punished.

Egyptian military sources said six strikes took place near Derna in eastern Libya at around sundown, hours after masked gunmen attacked a group of Coptic Christians traveling to a monastery in southern Egypt, killing 29 and wounding 24.

The Egyptian military said the operation was ongoing and had been undertaken once it had been ascertained that the camps had produced the gunmen behind the attack on the Coptic Christians in Minya, southern Egypt, on Friday morning.

“The terrorist incident that took place today will not pass unnoticed,” Sisi said. “We are currently targeting the camps where the terrorists are trained.”

He said Egypt would not hesitate to carry out further strikes against camps that trained people to carry out operations against Egypt, whether those camps were inside or outside the country.

Egyptian military footage of pilots being briefed and war planes taking off was shown on state television.

East Libyan forces said they participated in the air strikes, which had targeted forces linked to al-Qaeda at a number of sites, and would be followed by a ground operation.

A resident in Derna heard four powerful explosions, and told Reuters that the strikes had targeted camps used by fighters belonging to the Majlis al-Shura militant group.

Majlis al-Shura spokesman Mohamed al-Mansouri said in a video posted online that the Egyptian air strikes did not hit any of the group’s camps, but instead hit civilian areas.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack on the Christians, which followed a series of church bombings claimed by Islamic State in a campaign of violence against the Copts.

Islamic State supporters reposted videos from earlier this year urging violence against the Copts in Egypt.

At a nearby village, thousands later attended a funeral service that turned into an angry protest against the authorities’ failure to protect Christians.

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Ambulances and medics outside Maghagha Hospital in Minya Province, Egypt in this screen grab take on May 26, 2017. REUTERS TV
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“We will avenge them or die like them,” mourners said, while marching with a giant wooden cross.

GUNFIRE AND BLOOD

Eyewitnesses said masked men opened fire after stopping the Christians, who were in a bus and other vehicles on a desert road. Local TV channels showed a bus apparently raked by gunfire and smeared with blood.

Clothes and shoes could be seen lying in and around the bus, while the bodies of some of the victims lay in the sand nearby, covered with black sheets.

Eyewitnesses said three vehicles were attacked. First to be hit was a vehicle taking children to the monastery as part of a church-organized trip, and another vehicle taking families there.

The gunmen boarded the vehicles and shot all the men and took all the women’s gold jewelry. They then shot women and children in the legs.

When one of the gunmen’s vehicles got a flat tire they stopped a truck carrying Christian workers, shot them, and took the truck.

One of the gunmen recorded the attack on the Copts with a video camera, eyewitnesses said.

The attack took place on a road leading to the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Minya province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority.

Security forces launched a hunt for the attackers, setting up dozens of checkpoints and patrols on the desert road.

Police armed with assault rifles formed a security perimeter around the attack site while officials from the public prosecutor’s office gathered evidence. Heavily armed special forces arrived later wearing face masks and body armor.

The injured were taken to local hospitals and some were being transported to Cairo. The Health Ministry said that among those injured were two children aged two.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made a point of improving relations with Cairo, said his country stood with Sisi and the Egyptian people.

“This merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt tears at our hearts and grieves our souls,” Trump said.

The Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning, said the attack was intended to destabilize the country.

“I call on Egyptians to unite in the face of this brutal terrorism,” Ahmed al-Tayeb said. The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Allam, condemned the perpetrators as traitors.

The head of the Coptic Christian church, Pope Tawadros, who spoke with Sisi after the attack, said it was “not directed at the Copts, but at Egypt and the heart of the Egyptians”.

Pope Francis, who visited Cairo a month ago, described the attack as a “senseless act of hatred”.

ONGOING PERSECUTION

Coptic Christians, whose church dates back nearly 2,000 years, make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 92 million.

They say they have long suffered from persecution, but in recent months the frequency of deadly attacks against them has increased. About 70 have been killed since December in bombings claimed by Islamic State at churches in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta.

An Islamic State campaign of murders in North Sinai prompted hundreds of Christians to flee in February and March.

Copts fear they will face the same fate as brethren in Iraq and Syria, where Christian communities have been decimated by wars and Islamic State persecution.

Egypt’s Copts are vocal supporters of Sisi, who has vowed to crush Islamist extremism and protect Christians. He declared a three-month state of emergency in the aftermath of the church bombings in April.

But many Christians feel the state either does not take their plight seriously enough or cannot protect them against determined fanatics.

The government is fighting insurgents affiliated with Islamic State who have killed hundreds of police and soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula, while also carrying out attacks elsewhere in the country.

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Additonal reporting by Eric Knecht, Mostafa Hashem, and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Writing by Giles Elgood; Editing by John Stonestreet, Lisa Shumaker and Andrew Hay)

Heavy rain and floods in Sri Lanka leave 91 dead, government says

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Heavy rain and floods in Sri Lanka leave 91 dead, government says

Residents of Bellana village in the Kalutara district watch as heavy machinery tries to move landslide debris on Friday, May 26, 2017

Story highlights

  • India is sending two ships filled with relief supplies, minister says
  • The monsoon rains came after two months of drought

Colombo, Sri Lanka (CNN) At least 91 people are dead and more than 100 are missing after heavy monsoon rains drenched Sri Lanka’s southwest, the country’s Disaster Management Centre said Friday.

Nearly 24,000 people in 13 districts have been impacted by flooding or landslides, the disaster center said.
The districts most affected were Ratnapura, 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Colombo and Kalutara, about 40 km (25 miles) south of the capital, which both had a series of landslides after the monsoon rains.

Sri Lankan military rescuers and villagers stand on the debris of a house that was destroyed by a landslide in Bellana village on Friday.

Troops have been deployed for rescue operations and the Home Ministry has set up a 24-hour relief center for the people affected.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was scheduled to return to Colombo Friday night after a two-day state visit to Australia and plans to hold an emergency meeting with emergency officials to discuss relief operations, an administration official said.
Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake told CNN a ship full of relief supplies from India will arrive at the Colombo Port on Saturday morning. He said this was only part of the assistance India has offered — a larger vessel carrying more supplies and personnel will arrive Sunday.
“We have a problem of limited resources to cope with the situation. Hence, we have made many appeals,” he said.

Residents watch a rescue operation in Bellana village after monsoon rains caused landslides in the region.

The South West monsoon responsible for the rain came after nearly two months of prolonged drought, which had prompted the World Food Programme to deliver aid to those affected.
Dunesh Gankanda, acting minister of Disaster Management, told reporters that a full assessment of the damage and an updated toll for the dead and missing would be known only when all reports from the districts were received.

Russian diplomat claimed Kushner wanted back channel to Kremlin: report says

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Russian diplomat claimed Kushner wanted backchannel to Kremlin: report says

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner suggested backchannel communications between the Trump transition and Russia, Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak reportedly said.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner suggested backchannel communications between the Trump transition and Russia, Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak reportedly said.

(EVAN VUCCI/AP)

Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner wanted to create a backchannel communications link between the President’s transition and the Kremlin, according to alleged discussions reported Friday.Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak told other officials in Moscow that Kushner had suggested the backchannel after a meeting at Trump Tower that also included future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to the Washington Post.

Friday night’s report, based off of information from U.S. officials, came the same day that the Post reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election had requested documents from the Trump campaign.

A letter from the committee, one of the four main inquiries into the election interference and possible Trump campaign collusion, asked for all documents going back to 2015, the Post reported.

Jared Kushner scrutinized in Trump-Russia investigation: reports

The investigations into the meddling and potential collusion have accelerated in recent weeks after the firing of FBI Director James Comey, who confirmed the FBI investigation in March and reportedly resisted pressure from Trump to end it’s look at Flynn.

Flynn and former Trump campaign chair Manafort are believed to be targets of the investigation, though multiple outlets reported Thursday that Kushner was considered a person of interest.

Team Trump had previously confirmed the meeting between Kushner, Flynn and Kislyak, but has said it was not out of the ordinary.

The Post report Friday was based off of conversations Kislyak had with other Russian officials, and the Americans involved did not comment.

Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner fail to disclose art worth millions

Sergey Kislyak reportedly told superiors about the potential of a backchannel after a December meeting.

Sergey Kislyak reportedly told superiors about the potential of a backchannel after a December meeting.

(CLIFF OWEN/AP)

It is not unusual for incoming presidential administrations to meet with foreign leaders, though before the December meeting the Kremlin had been accused of orchestrating a campaign to influence the November election.

A joint intelligence community report released in January said that the effort was aimed at helping Trump.

Kushner had originally failed to report his meeting with Vladimir Putin’s man in America on his application for a security clearance, but his lawyer said that the documents were submitted prematurely and his client would inform authorities in an interview.

A potential backchannel between the Trump team and the U.S.’s former Cold War foe had previously been raised by a report in April, when the Post reported that controversial Blackwater founder Erik Prince, also Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s brother, had acted as a go-between in January.

Prince reportedly acted as an envoy for Trump in a secretive meeting with unidentified emissary from Putin in the Seychelles, remote islands in the Indian Ocean, though Prince and the White House denied that he was sent by the incoming adminitration.

The Post reported Friday that the Kushner-Kislyak conversation in December talked about a Trump representative meeting a “Russian contact.”

Trump’s bid to open U.S. monuments to development draws calls for protection

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

Trump’s bid to open U.S. monuments to development draws calls for protection

By Valerie Volcovici | WASHINGTON

The Trump administration’s call for an opening of U.S. national monuments to economic development has drawn 107,00 comments from the public, with many expressing hope that sites like Utah’s Bears Ears can maintain their protected status.

President Donald Trump last month ordered the Interior Department to review some 27 national monuments created since 1996, with an eye to rescinding or shrinking the size of some of them to increase development opportunities.

“It would be a travesty to leave this landscape vulnerable to uranium and fossil-fuel mining, and excessive off-road vehicle use,” the Navajo-led Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition wrote in one public comment.

The five-tribe group oversees the Bears Ears monument and lobbied hard to secure its monument designation by former President Barack Obama in December.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke gave the public until May 26 to comment on Bears Ears, the country’s newest monument, and until July 10 to comment on the rest.

As of Friday, groups and individuals had posted more than 107,000 comments on a government website created to receive them as part of the review process, a high number given the short time frame.

A Commerce Department call for public comments on regulatory hurdles completed last month drew under 200 comments.

One public comment, made anonymously, urged Zinke not to bow to industry and political pressure to alter the Bears Ears monument. “Do the hard thing, speak for the many and not the few,” it said.

Many industry groups and politicians, including Utah’s governor, two senators and congressman, want Zinke to reverse monument designations and turn over control of the protected lands to states.

Zinke is due to give his recommendation to Trump on Bears Ears on June 10 and publish a report on the other monuments later.

Conservation groups said support of national monuments is wider than the online comments suggest.

“This issue just strikes a nerve with people,” said Randi Spivak of the Center for Biological Diversity.

But many opponents of the monument designations have posted comments, with some arguing that barring large swaths of land from any development keeps the public from fully enjoying these areas.

“Sweeping monument designations … restrict or eliminate opportunities for responsible off-highway motorized recreation on public lands,” said one anonymous comment, from a self-described member of the American Motorcycle Association.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Tom Brown)

Toate alimentele sunt controlate de doar ZECE corporatii!

Source: Toate alimentele sunt controlate de doar ZECE corporatii!

Being a Fanatic!! 

LAVANYA'S BLOG

Greetings, dear readers!

Summers have finally set in whole sole, and well, who can’t be thinking of the colder times? I love summers, but well, it’s human basic psychology! 😀

So this piece of verse was already a draft for quite a while, and has finally made through. I do hope you find relevance. (Mind, it’s Harry Potter fanatism;-))


Fandom!

​It’s over

My mind reminds

My heart doesn’t agree

Should read once more

Maybe, Harry has

Another adventure up his sleeve


Oh, it must be hidden away

Like the three headed Fluffy,

Or in the Forbidden Forest it lies

Like the unicorn or Aragog

Never have I forgone that!


“Wingardium leviosa”,

I call out thrice

None happens however

I hope Hermione appears back

To help me raise my bag


I wonder, where’s our other friend

Atleast, I expect him to be here

Red head, the blood traitor

Who’s proved his…

View original post 132 more words

When Injustice becomes law…. Resistance becomes Duty

nadiaharhash

When injustice becomes law …. Resistance becomes a Duty

The photo with a person covered with the Palestinian flag and a statement that says: When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. A quote by Thomas Jefferson, the American founding father, the principle author for the declaration of independence and the third American president. Ok, this statement always made me stop and make a respectful salute for it. I have to admit that knowing it was made by an American president made it kind of confusing. But it makes it in the meaning of today more applicable. After all, we are trying to practice the American school of democracy, since America is the place of democracy.

Anyway, the quote is something that I strongly feel it resembles me as a Palestinian. I often wanted to put it as my profile picture on Facebook, but I end up keeping my daughters’, thinking…

View original post 368 more words

‘Un-Islamic’ Statue Of Lady Justice Taken Down In Bangladesh

(NO SURPRISE, ISLAMIC LAW DOES NOT TOLERATE HONESTY AND FAIRNESS TO THE PEOPLE AS THESE QUALITIES ARE TRULY UN-ISLAMIC)

 

Islamists oppose ‘idol worship’ and considered the statue un-Islamic.

Source: ‘Un-Islamic’ Statue Of Lady Justice Taken Down In Bangladesh

Indiana faces records request backlog as Pence drags feet

Source: Indiana faces records request backlog as Pence drags feet

Kentucky: Unions Sue Governor Blevins Over His Un-Constitutional ‘right to work law’)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE RICHMOND REGISTER OF KENTUCKY)

Labor groups sue over right-to-work law

FRANKFORT — Labor groups filed suit in Franklin Circuit Court on Thursday claiming the recently passed Kentucky right-to-work law violates the state constitution’s prohibition on illegal takings and unequal treatment.

The Kentucky AFL-CIO and Teamsters Local 89 are asking the law be thrown out and seek an injunction prohibiting its enforcement, claiming it discriminates against unions while not prohibiting forced dues collections by other volunteer member organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Bar Association.

The suit alleges that the law violates the constitutional bar on “illegal takings without just compensation” because it robs unions and their members of unreimbursed expenses for negotiating wage and benefits for workers who choose not to pay union dues or join the union.

After Republicans captured control of the state House of Representatives last year, giving the GOP control of the governor’s office and both legislative chambers, the General Assembly quickly passed right-to-work legislation in the first week of the 2017 General Assembly. The law prohibits unions from requiring workers at union work places to pay dues in support of collective bargaining expenses.

Republican Matt Bevin urged its passage and credits the legislation for subsequent announcements by Braidy Industries to construct an aluminum mill near Ashland and Amazon to expand operations in northern Kentucky.

“It’s shameful that groups like the AFL-CIO and Teamsters are playing political games at a time when Kentucky is experiencing unprecedented economic development growth,” said Amanda Stamper, Bevin’s spokeswoman.

“This frivolous lawsuit threatens to hurt Kentucky’s families, robbing them of high-paying job opportunities — a good example of which are the 550 jobs coming to northeastern Kentucky as a result of the new right-to-work law,” she said.

House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, who sponsored the legislation, said he’s confident it will stand up in court.

“Not only am I confident the Kentucky Right-to-Work Act is constitutional, but we are also seeing results we predicted when the bill was passed.”

But AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan called claims that right-to-work laws improve a state’s overall economy a “total falsehood” aimed at attracting low-wage industries and dividing workers.

“In other states where right-to-work laws have been implemented,” Londrigan said, “wage rates have gone down. We found that across the United States when we compare right-to-work states to non-right-to-work states, there is a significant amount of wages that workers make, ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 a year less a year in right to work states.”

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said the law is constitutional and pointed to a recent federal district court that dismissed a suit challenging Wisconsin’s right-to-work law.

But Irwin Cutler Jr., one of the attorneys for the AFL-CIO and Teamsters, said that’s only half the story.

That suit challenged the Wisconsin law under provisions of the federal constitution. But a second suit that challenges the law under the Wisconsin constitution won a favorable lower court decision. So did a similar suit in West Virginia. All three suits are under appeal.

Cutler and William Johnson, another attorney representing the union groups, said they are challenging the law under Kentucky’s constitution because it has stronger “illegal takings” and equal treatment provisions than the U.S. Constitution.

“In each state, you have to look at how the law that was passed comports with the constitution of that state and we think that is a strong point in our suit,” Johnson said.

Cutler said federal law requires unions to represent all workers at a worksite with a collective bargaining unit, even if they can’t collect dues from some workers.

“Under this law, unions still have the obligation to represent every worker in the plant, and yet the only ones who pay for that service are the ones who decide they want to,” Cutler said. “That constitutes, under the Kentucky Constitution, an unlawful taking of the services, the property, of the labor union and its members.”

The suit also contends the right-to-work law is discriminatory because it applies only to unions but not to other groups which require membership dues. (In fact, the law specifically exempts several membership organizations, including chambers of commerce and the Kentucky Education Association.)

Cutler said Kentucky law actually requires Chambers of Commerce to collect dues to pay for their services — “yet unions are required to pay for their services and are prohibited from charging dues unless someone voluntarily wants to pay for that service.”

Chapter 102.020 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes authorizes chambers of commerce and specifies articles of incorporation. It says in part: “The annual dues of the members of this corporation shall be not less than twelve dollars ($12), payable as provided in the bylaws of the corporation.”

Ashli Watts, Vice President of Public Affairs for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, didn’t dispute the language of that statute but said it is open to interpretation. She said the state chamber supports right-to-work.

“As the last southern state to pass right to work, Kentucky is already benefiting from this law that’s only been in effect 5 months. The point to be made is that membership in the Kentucky Chamber, and other chambers of commerce, is voluntary,” Watts said. “We are confident that the law will be upheld, like it has been in other states.”

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Follow him on Twitter @cnhifrankfort.

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