India: BJD Candidate Arrested For ‘among other things’ Attempted Murder

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Lok Sabha elections 2019: BJD candidate arrested for leading attack on EC team in Odisha

Pradeep Maharathy has been charged under several sections of Indian Penal Code including an attempt to murder, assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty, wrongful restraint and rioting and Section 123 of the Representation of People’s Act.

LOK SABHA ELECTIONS Updated: Apr 22, 2019 16:29 IST

Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
BJD candidate,Pradeep Maharathy,Election Commission
The BJD’s candidate for the Pipili assembly constituency in Odisha’s Puri district, Pradeep Maharathy, was arrested on Monday. (Pradeep Maharathy Pipili Delanga/Facebook)

The BJD’s candidate for the Pipili assembly constituency in Odisha’s Puri district, Pradeep Maharathy, was arrested on Monday, hours after he led an attack on a team of officials of the Election Commission at his farmhouse.

Puri’s superintendent of police Umashankar Dash said Pradeep Maharathy, who is a former state minister, was arrested after a lengthy interrogation.

Pradeep Maharathy has been charged under several sections of Indian Penal Code including an attempt to murder, assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty, wrongful restraint and rioting and Section 123 of the Representation of People’s Act.

Dash said 15 more people were involved in the attack and would be arrested soon.

A flying squad and a static and video surveillance teams comprising 15 members led by executive magistrate Rabi Narayan Patra had raided Maharathy’s farmhouse in Pipili around 12.30am over information that a feast was being held and money and alcohol were being distributed to influence voters.

But as soon as the surveillance team reached the farmhouse in Hunkeipur village, they were attacked with Maharathy taking the lead. Patra and his team, who were bleeding profusely, fled the spot in one of their vehicles as Maharathy’s men chased them.

“We had to flee leaving one of our vehicles on the spot. Had we stayed any longer we would have been killed,” said Patra.

Videographers Purna Chandra Dash, Sushant Pradhan and two others from the EC team were also injured in the attack.

Voting in Pipili assembly constituency under the Puri Lok Sabha constituency is scheduled to be held on Tuesday along with 41 other seats. Six Lok Sabha seats will also poll in the state on the same day.

First Published: Apr 22, 2019 15:59 IST

Christians Worldwide Face Serious Persecution As Sri Lanka Shows

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN NEWS)

 

Iwas up before dawn this morning, preparing for our first service of Easter. This meant that, around the same time as bombs were going offin churches in Sri Lanka, I was reading a passage to my congregation taken from the book of Ezekiel. The passage tells of dead bones coming back together, of bodies being re-clothed in flesh and of life being breathed back into them. Over in Sri Lanka, bones were being blown apart, and flesh stripped from skin. These people woke up this morning full of hope, excited in anticipation of the story of Jesus’s resurrection. They put on their best clothes and polished their shoes. Now their blood is being mopped from the sanctuary floor.

I was talking the other day to the classicist Mary Beard about Christian persecution in Roman times – all that stuff about lions and the Coliseum. She was of the opinion that it might not have been quite as big a deal as later Christians made it out to be. And no doubt there is nothing quite like a few over egged stories of gory martyrdom to deepen a sense of group solidarity among a struggling religious community. Well, I bow to Mary’s greater knowledge of classical Rome. But while it may have been true that too much was made of Roman persecution, the very opposite is true now. We are living though one of the most serious phases of Christian persecution in history, and most people refuse to acknowledge it.

During the past century, Christianity has been all but driven out of the Middle East, the place of its birth. This time last year I was in Damascus, visiting the Christian community there. On the front of the church that I went to on Sunday morning there was a huge mural depicting the horrors of the Armenian genocide. These Christians were originally refugees from Turkey, and had arrived there fleeing the most sustained and horrendous persecution. How much of this story do we know? This week, the Israeli historians Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi will publish a much-awaited account of the period. The Thirty-Year Genocide: Turkey’s Destruction of its Christian Minorities argues that from 1894 to 1924, the Turkish authorities systematically murdered some 2.5 million Christians. At the beginning of that period, in places like Anatolia, Christians accounted for 20% of the population. By the end of it, there were just 2% left. Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, Christians have been driven from the Middle East with bombs and bullets, and with hardly a bat squeak of protest from the secular west.

Why no outrage? Yes, these horrendous murders will make the press for a day or two – but we generally care more about the fire in a famous cathedral than we do about those people who have their bodies blown to bits in architecturally less significant places of worship.

Why the blind spot – especially given that we do care about so many other forms of oppression? No, it’s not a competition. But I do wonder whether on some unconscious level the secular and broadly progressive west thinks that Christianity had it coming. They associate Christianity with popes and their armies, with crusades and inquisitions, with antisemitism, British imperialism, Trump supporters and abortion protesters.

Christians in the west haven’t helped. By describing as “persecution” the minor run-ins that Christianity has had with the law – about cakes for gay couples or street preachers, for example – Christians have debased the word persecution and made it sound like a manipulation designed to reclaim some lost place in the culture. Moreover, porky and pink-faced bishops in the House of Lords do not look like a persecuted species, and so when they talk about Christian persecution they look faintly ridiculous.

A memorial marking the 102nd anniversary of the mass killings of Armenians in Istanbul, Turkey, 24 April 2017.
Pinterest
 A memorial marking the 102nd anniversary of the mass killings of Armenians in Istanbul, Turkey, 24 April 2017. Photograph: Sedat Suna/EPA

And maybe there are some who don’t want to talk about Christian persecution because they fear that it could easily be used – as it sometimes is – as an alibi for Islamophobia. Easier to fall silent about the murder of Christians than to be seen to side with those racists who blame Muslims for everything. I understand this – but it’s still not good enough.

According to the widely respected Pew report, Christianity remains the world’s most persecuted religion. And the only reason for mentioning this so crassly in terms of league tables is simply that it serves to highlight the deafening silence of our response to it. From North Korea (OK, obviously) to China, and increasingly even in places such as India – all around the world Christians are subject to real and sustained violence for the profession of their faith, the one that we proclaim most insistently today. That life is stronger than death. That love will ultimately triumph over hate.

And this means that we believe terrorism can never quench the proclamation of the good news of Easter. At Easter, darkness doesn’t have the last word. That is why people were going to church in Sri Lanka in the first place, to listen again to this message: Christ is risen. Allelujah.

 Giles Fraser is a parish priest in Elephant and Castle, south London

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Coordinated attacks in Sri Lanka kill more than 200 people

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

In pictures: Coordinated attacks in Sri Lanka kill more than 200 people

Updated 9:43 AM ET, Sun April 21, 2019

Relatives of a victim of a blast at St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade, react at the police mortuary in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Sunday.

Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

A series of bomb blasts struck luxury hotels and churches across Sri Lanka early Sunday. More than 200 people were killed and 560 injured in the coordinated attacks, which have put the entire country on lockdown.

The first wave of bombings struck at the heart of the country’s minority Christian community during busy Easter services at churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa.

Are You An American Citizen?—If So, Then You Don’t Matter!

Are You An American Citizen?–If So, Then You Don’t Matter!

 

Good evening everyone, I have been thinking of this article and of how I would write it ever since the Robert Mueller Report came out. This letter to you tonight is my thoughts on that Report and all of the Politicians, especially in Washington D.C.. If you are a citizen of this country, are you upset, are you mad? I am not speaking of whether you think our President is even more of a crook than Richard Nixon or that he is a traitor or not. What I am speaking of is how we the people and even the Congress itself are being kept ignorant to all the things that are written in that report.  Mr. Barr (the Attorney General, the Nation’s Top Cop) played politics to get the job then has done nothing but lie and shield the President since he got his current job. Folks, it is not the job of the Attorney General to protect the President, it is his job to protect the rule of law.

 

This report by Mr. Mueller and his staff that cost the U.S. taxpayers several million dollars and almost two years in its making is the property of the people of this country. This is the single most important document to have been paid for by our money since well before Nixon lied to us all on T.V. back in 1974. The reason for the title that I chose about how we the people of this country do not matter in Washington D.C. or in the 50 State Capitals is simple, it is the truth. I live in the state of Kentucky and the Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is from this state and personally, he sickens me.

 

What has been (once again) proven is that the only thing that actually matters in U.S. politics is whether you ‘as President’ are a Republican or a Democrat. Do not get me wrong, I am not a Democrat or a Republican, I am a registered voting Independent, I can’t stand either ‘Party’, in my belief they are as evil as can be. With all of this Report the only thing that matters to the Republicans is that this Republican President stays in the White House. If Hillary Clinton had won (and I think she probably did) do you not think the Democratic Scum would through treason against the American People would be protecting Her in the same manners that the Republican Scum are protecting Trump? This report is Our Report, we paid for it, it is ours! The people of this Country deserve the unedited truth so that we can make up our own minds if we have crooks and traitors in the White House and for that matter, traitors and crooks in the House and the Senate.!

Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES)

 

Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse

Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse
President Trump at the White House on April 18, the day the redacted Mueller report was released. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report makes one thing clear: Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He is worse. And yet Trump seems almost sure to be spared Nixon’s fate. This will do severe — possibly irreparable — damage to the vital norms that sustain American democracy. There is still time for Congress and the American people to avert the worst of this damage, but the odds are long and time is short.

Despite his famous protestation to the contrary, President Nixon was a crook. He directed the CIA to shut down the FBI’s investigation of the Watergate burglary, in which several of his campaign operatives broke into Democratic National Committee headquarters. He also directed subordinates to pay hush money to subjects of that investigation. He then fired the first special prosecutor appointed to investigate these matters, hoping to protect himself and his senior advisors from possible criminal liability and untold political damage.

For these attempts to obstruct justice, Nixon paid the ultimate political price. When he terminated special prosecutor Archibald Cox, a ferocious public backlash forced him to appoint a widely respected replacement. That was Leon Jaworski, whose dramatic victory at the U.S. Supreme Court forced the release of secret White House tapes that destroyed the last vestiges of Nixon’s congressional support. He resigned the presidency days later. Had he failed to do so, impeachment by the House of Representatives and removal by the Senate were all but certain.

If Trump escapes unscathed, future presidents will take notice.


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Nothing in Nixon’s presidency became him like the leaving it. For two generations, his downfall served as a cautionary tale for subsequent presidents who might be tempted to interfere with a federal investigation for personal or political reasons. Firing a special prosecutor, in particular, was almost universally understood to be political suicide. As Watergate showed, the American people simply would not stand for a president who sought to place himself above the law. This broadly shared understanding served as a crucial safeguard against the abuse of presidential power.

Then came Trump. After smashing through dozens of other deeply rooted norms of American politics to win the presidency, he treated the post-Watergate consensus with similar contempt. Just weeks after he took the oath of office, as the Mueller report details, Trump asked FBI Director James B. Comey to drop the investigation of national security advisor Michael Flynn. Before making this request, the president cleared the room, strongly suggesting that he knew his actions were improper. Requesting that the FBI drop an investigation of his friends is exactly what Nixon was caught doing on the famous “smoking gun” tape that sealed his fate.

Yet for Trump, this was just the beginning. A few weeks later, in early March 2017, the report shows that Trump lobbied vigorously to prevent Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia investigation. When Sessions nevertheless followed the advice of ethics officials and recused himself, Trump exploded in anger and personally pressed Sessions to reverse his decision. Trump wanted an attorney general who would protect him to be in charge of the investigation.

In May 2017, the Mueller report shows that Trump removed Comey as head of the FBI and concocted a deliberately false explanation related to Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Along with Trump’s attendant criticism of the Russia investigation and personally vindictive treatment of Comey, this action “had the potential to affect a successor director’s conduct of the investigation.” The report catalogs significant evidence that the president was worried the investigation would turn up politically and legally damaging information, and that it threatened the legitimacy of his election.

The report’s most damning evidence of obstruction of justice concerns the special counsel’s investigation itself. Once Trump learned in June 2017 that he was himself under investigation by Mueller’s team, his efforts to thwart the investigation reached new heights of audacity. That month, in a series of frantic phone calls, he ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller. The report describes “substantial evidence” that this was an attempt to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation; Trump was acting to protect himself from potential criminal liability and political damage.

When McGahn refused to carry out the order to fire Mueller, Trump resumed his campaign to get Sessions to take over the investigation and curtail it — or resign, so that Trump could appoint someone who would protect him. Much of this information was already in the public domain, but it is no less shocking for that. The evidence available to Mueller’s investigators, including contemporaneous documents and testimony under oath, provides a far surer foundation than anonymously sourced news stories.

The report also contains a wealth of new information. When Trump’s order to fire the special counsel was publicly reported in January 2018, Trump demanded that McGahn fabricate “a record denying that the President had tried to fire the special counsel.” This is witness tampering, plain and simple, of a much more direct and personal kind than any that Nixon engaged in. It also amounts to falsifying evidence, which counts as obstruction of justice even on the narrowest possible reading of the federal statute advanced by Trump’s lawyers.

Along similar lines, the report describes substantial evidence that Trump privately urged Flynn, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen to “stay strong” and promised — through his lawyers — that they would “be taken care of” unless they “went rogue.” Together with the president’s public tweets praising Manafort and Stone for their bravery and baselessly accusing members of Cohen’s family of crimes, this conduct also amounts to witness tampering, plain and simple.

Lest it be forgotten, all of this took place in the context of one of the most serious law enforcement and counterintelligence investigations in the history of the United States. As the Mueller report explains, “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” on behalf of Donald Trump. The FBI and Mueller set out to discover whether Trump’s campaign was complicit, and Trump took extraordinary measures to thwart their efforts. Nixon’s obstruction of the Watergate investigation looks almost innocent by comparison.

And yet Trump seems very likely to escape direct accountability. House Democrats may well opt against pursuing impeachment, for entirely understandable reasons: It might be too wrenching for the country, in the absence of a clear popular consensus supporting Trump’s removal. It might not be good politics for 2020, with voters more concerned about bread-and-butter issues. Even if the House votes to impeach, a two-thirds Senate vote to remove Trump from office seems almost inconceivable.

But if Trump escapes unscathed, future presidents will take notice. The cautionary tale of Watergate will be superseded by the Trump triumph and its very different lesson: In the hyperpolarized political environment of the early 21st century, the president is a law unto himself.

Andrew Coan is a professor of law at the University of Arizona and the author of “Prosecuting the President: How Special Prosecutors Hold Presidents Accountable and Protect the Rule of Law.”

Japanese Professor May Face 10 Prison For Giving His Students Ecstasy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Breaking Bad: Japan professor may face 10 years jail for making students produce ecstasy

The professor told investigators he was aiming to further the “education” of his pharmaceutical sciences students, an official from the local health ministry told AFP.

WORLD Updated: Apr 17, 2019 10:51 IST

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Tokyo
Japan,professor,jail
A Japanese university professor could face up to 10 years in jail after allegedly getting his students to produce ecstasy, officials said Wednesday, in an echo of TV hit series “Breaking Bad”. (Representative Image)(AP)

A Japanese university professor could face up to 10 years in jail after allegedly getting his students to produce ecstasy, officials said Wednesday, in an echo of TV hit series “Breaking Bad”.

Authorities suspect the 61-year-old pharmacology professor from Matsuyama University in western Japan got his pupils to make MDMA — commonly known as ecstasy — in 2013 and another so-called “designer drug” 5F-QUPIC last year.

The professor told investigators he was aiming to further the “education” of his pharmaceutical sciences students, an official from the local health ministry told AFP.

The ecstasy allegedly produced has not been found and has “probably been discarded,” added this official, who asked to remain anonymous.

If charged and convicted, he could face 10 years behind bars.

Japanese law states that a researcher needs a licence issued by regional authorities to manufacture narcotics for academic purposes.

The synthetic drug MDMA acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen and is the main ingredient in party drug ecstasy, giving users a heightened sense of energy, empathy and pleasure.

It has recently been used in research trials exploring its effectiveness in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

5F-QUPIC, also known as 5F-PB-22, is a cannabis-like drug banned in Japan in 2014 after it was suspected of causing traffic accidents.

It is unclear if there were any other similarities between the case of the Matsuyama University professor and that of Walter White, the fictitious hero of “Breaking Bad”.

White, played by Bryan Cranston, was a former chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer who starts manufacturing crystal methamphetamine to pay for his treatment and provide for his family — sometimes with the help of a former pupil.

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 10:50 IST

China: Traffic cameras focus on drivers with revoked licenses

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWSPAPER)

 

Traffic cameras focus on drivers with revoked licenses

Shanghai’s traffic cameras can now automatically detect people who drive with revoked licenses.

The cameras can also spot cars and taxis with fake plates, as well as drivers with serious traffic offenses.

When a suspicious car is detected by the camera, the system will notify nearby police officers.

A motorist surnamed Jiang, whose license was revoked in February 2015 due to drunk driving, was one of the first to be detected by the cameras.

Shanghai traffic police

Jiang is detected driving without a license by a traffic camera.

Jiang was identified at the intersection of Xinfu Road M. and Hualong Road in Qingpu District at 10:18am on April 11.

Officers found his car nearby and interviewed him.

For the offense of driving a motor vehicle with his license revoked, Jiang will be detained for seven days with a 1,500-yuan (US$224) fine, police said.

Authority to investigate ‘financial service fee’ for Benz sales loan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWSPAPER ‘SHINE’)

 

Authority to investigate ‘financial service fee’ for Benz sales loan

An investigation has been launched after reports that Mercedes-Benz Automobile Finance Co illegally charged a customer a financial service fee, as claims surfaced in Shanghai of dealers also charging fees.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Administration has asked its Beijing authority to initiate an inquiry.

A woman who bought a Mercedes-Benz she claims was defective from a dealer in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, has now claimed she was cheated over a “financial service fee.”

The woman said she bought the Mercedes-Benz CLS300 from Xi’an Lizhixing Co for 660,000 yuan (US$98,445) but found the engine was leaking oil after she picked it up on March 27. She asked for a refund or a replacement but the dealer only agreed to change the engine.

The incident attracted wide attention after a video of the woman sitting on the bonnet of a Mercedes-Benz while weeping and arguing with salesmen at the 4S dealer store on April 9 was posted online.

The Xi’an market watchdog launched an investigation and asked the dealer to refund the buyer. The regulator also arranged a face-to-face negotiation between the two sides on Saturday, during which the buyer said she had intended to purchase the car outright.

However, the dealer persuaded her to use Mercedes-Benz finance as it is said to feature low interest.

The dealer also “forced” her to pay a “financial service fee” of 15,200 yuan to a personal account without providing a receipt, she claimed. The woman said she thought this was fraud as the dealer hadn’t provided any services.

Mercedes-Benz issued a statement on Sunday, saying it never asks for any financial service fee from dealers or customers.

A Shanghai consumer surnamed Wang who visited several Mercedes-Benz 4S shops to purchase an off-road vehicle said he was asked to take out a loan at the Songzhixing shop on Changshou Road.

The salesperson said the car was popular, and many 4S shops would not sell it if buyers refused to take a loan, Wang said. A salesperson would not get a commission without arranging a loan.

The same requirement was raised by the Minxing Automobile Service Co 4S shop, Wang said.

The Shanghai Consumer Council said yesterday they had received complaints about other automobile companies charging financial service fees.

Lawyers said car sales companies often use various excuses to charge fees to raise their profits, which infringes consumers’ rights to make choices.

A Shanghai consumer surnamed Huang who wanted to purchase a car at a 4S shop last year was told that he must buy a 13,800-yuan package including sticker and tachograph, and a three-year car insurance if he wanted to enjoy a discounted price of the car.

Huang asked several 4S shops the next day, and some had the same requirement.

Meanwhile, a woman Wang Wen who paid 340,000 yuan for a new Mercedes-Benz at the Zhongshengzhixing 4S shop on Jinyun Road in Jiading District found it was faulty.

She asked for a refund, but the 4S shop refused, and offered free exchange, free components and reduction of insurance fees as replacement.

Wang learnt that the car was an “auction car” sold to dealers at a discounted price, and had probably been used for display or trial runs.

A video of a woman sitting on a Mercedes-Benz and arguing with salesmen has gone viral.

LULA TARGETS FAKE NEWS ON ALLEGED CONFESSION NETWORKS

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZILIAN NEWS AGENCY 24/7)

Brazil: Former President Lula says Assange is a “Hero Of Our Time”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL 24/7)