Many Are Feared Dead in Suspected Arson at Japanese Anime Studio

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Many Are Feared Dead in Suspected Arson at Japanese Anime Studio

ImageSmoke billowed from Kyoto Animation’s building in the Japanese city of Kyoto on Thursday.
Credit Kyodo News, via Associated Press

TOKYO — A man ignited a flammable liquid around a Japanese animation studio in Kyoto on Thursday, the police said, killing at least seven people — with many more feared dead — in a devastating morning blaze.

About 70 people were inside the offices of Kyoto Animation when the blaze started at about 10:30 a.m., Japan’s NHK public broadcaster reported, citing the police and rescuers.

The Kyoto Fire Department confirmed that seven had died in the blaze and that as many as 17 more were feared to have been killed. At least two dozen others were injured and several people remained missing on Thursday.

The police arrested a 41-year-old man who was suspected to have set the fire after spreading a liquid, according to news reports. The man was under treatment at a hospital.

Kyoto Animation is best known for producing shows and movies including “Full Metal Panic,” “K-On” and “Clannad,” among other works. It was founded by Yoko Hatta and her husband, Hideaki Hatta, in 1981, and most of the studio’s production takes place in the building that was the site of Thursday’s fire.

The blaze came less than two months after a man went on a stabbing rampage in a suburb outside Tokyo, attacking 17 schoolgirls, killing one of them as well as an adult. The rampage by the 51-year-old man cast attention to the phenomenon of Japan’s “hikikomori,” adults who are extreme recluses, and their psychological issues.

Footage of Thursday’s attack from a local TV station showed black smoke rippling out of windows of the three-story building, with one side of the building mostly charred black.

Credit Video by FNN.jp

Citing the Kyoto police, the Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s largest mainstream dailies, reported that the suspect had entered the building screaming, “Die!” The newspaper reported that the suspect had tried to escape, but collapsed on the street outside and was captured by members of the studio’s staff.

The shows and movies that Kyoto Animation produces fall into the category of Japanese cartooning known as anime. It is a backbone of Japan’s popular culture and one of the country’s major soft-power exports. With roots going back to the early 20th century, anime has found an international following through artists like Hayao Miyazaki, whose animated feature “Spirited Away” won an Oscar in 2003, and Makoto Shinkai, whose movie “Your Name” was a global phenomenon, particularly in China.

On Twitter, Mr. Shinkai showed his support. “Everyone at Kyoto Animation, please please stay safe,” he said, in a message that was recirculated almost 19,000 times.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also expressed sympathy on Twitter for the victims of the fire.

安倍晋三

@AbeShinzo

本日、京都で発生した放火殺人事件では、多数の死傷者が出ており、あまりの凄惨さに言葉を失います。お亡くなりになられた方のご冥福をお祈りいたします。負傷された皆様にお見舞いを申し上げるとともに、一日も早い回復をお祈りしています。

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“Today, we had many casualties in a fatal arson attack that happened in Kyoto,” Mr. Abe wrote. “It is so horrifying that I am at a loss for words. I’d like to express my deepest condolences to the victims. I offer my thoughts to those who have been wounded and pray for their recovery, by even one day.”

Witnesses who spoke to other Japanese news outlets described grim scenes near the studio. According to the Mainichi Shimbun, another large daily, a woman in her 60s living near the building said she saw a young woman, her entire body burned, screaming and running into a nearby shop begging for help.

The witness said the woman was bleeding, her clothing torn and her feet bare. “It took a long time until the ambulance arrived,” the witness told the Mainichi. “All I could do was to spray water over her under the fire department’s instruction. She was eventually transferred to an ambulance.”

Another witness who was working near the studio on Thursday when the fire broke out told the Sankei Shimbun that he saw flames coming from the first and second floor of the building and heard screaming. The unnamed witness said he saw a man hanging onto the wall outside the building, and another trying to escape from a first-floor window after breaking it.

If the authorities’ fears about the death toll are proven correct, the fire would be one of the worst in Japan’s recent history. In 2008, 16 people were killed when a video store burned down in Osaka. In 2001, 44 people died after a fire broke out at a crowded gambling club in Tokyo’s busiest entertainment district.

Hisako Ueno, Makiko Inoue and Eimi Yamamitsu contributed reporting.

Israel: Arson suspected in fire at home of daycare manager filmed abusing children

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Arson suspected in fire at home of daycare manager filmed abusing children

No reported injuries from blaze in Rosh Ha’ayin; site of private Baby Love center and several nearby homes damaged; lawyer for parents denies they were involved

A fire burns at the home of Carmel Mouda in the central city of Rosh Ha'ayin on July 6, 2019. (Screen capture: Twitter)

A fire burns at the home of Carmel Mouda in the central city of Rosh Ha’ayin on July 6, 2019. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Authorities were investigating a fire that broke out Saturday at the home of a daycare manager who has been filmed abusing small children as suspected arson.

Carmel Mouda house’s was damaged by the blaze in the central city of Rosh Ha’ayin, as were several nearby homes. There were no reports of injuries.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames as investigators arrived to determine what started the fire, which began when Mouda was at home with her family.

Investigators said Saturday afternoon they believe the blaze started in a storage area of the building.

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חדשות 13

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שריפה פרצה בבניין ברחוב הסנהדרין בראש העין. על פי החשד מדובר בביתה של כרמל מעודה, הגננת שתועדה מתעללת בפעוטות. לא היו נפגעים באירוע @almazmangisto

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The home is also the site of the private Baby Love daycare center, where the alleged abuse took place.

“We understand the pain and anger of the parents but a red line was crossed. People took the law into their own hands, acting thuggish and endangering lives,” Mouda’s lawyer Guy Ein-Zvi said in a statement.

“Carmela’s trial should be held in court and not the town square,” he added.

A protest organized by parents against Mouda scheduled for Saturday evening was called off after the fire. A lawyer representing the parents denied they were involved.

“The parents of the children are angry and shocked over the grave crimes that were carried out, but are not criminals and I have no doubt that a thorough investigation will conclude they have no connection to the fire,” lawyer Benjamin Malka told Hebrew media.

Firefighters work to extinguish blaze at the home of Carmel Mouda in the central city of Rosh Ha’ayin on July 6, 2019. (Israel Police)

Neighbors reacted angrily to the suspected arson.

“Everyone is taking the law into their own hands,” a woman told the Kan public broadcaster. “In another 30 seconds my granddaughters and I would’ve gone up in flames.”

The fire came after police released graphic security camera footage on Thursday showing Mouda tying up children, force-feeding them, smothering toddlers who refuse to fall asleep with blankets and physically abusing them.

Mouda, 25, was arrested three weeks ago. The children in her care were aged three months to three years.

“I’m in shock,” a parent told Channel 13 news. “My son is in almost every video tied to a chair or [tied up] on the floor, and this isn’t even everything. The police showed me even worse videos.”

Sgt. Fraidi Kamenetsky said the police plan to file charges against Mouda with a request she be held in custody until the end of the proceedings. During an interrogation, an unnamed assistant was also arrested on suspicion that she witnessed the abuse and may have also resorted to violence.

Meanwhile, protests are planned for Sunday at six locations around the country, including the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. Parents are demanding changes to childcare oversight laws, including tougher sentences for abusive daycare workers and better regulations for supervision of daycare centers.

Ahaz Agam, chairman of the National Parks Parents’ Committee and one of the protest organizers, told Channel 13 that parents feel the government is wasting time while more cases of abuse by child care workers come to light.

In recent years numerous cases of abuse have been reported including the killing of an 18-month old baby girl by a caretaker.

In June of 2018 the government came under fire for the continued delay of a proposed supervision law as ministries squabbled over funding the project. The law was finally passed in December, but only mandates security cameras in all daycare centers starting in September 2020, as long as 70 percent of the parents do not object.

Protesters clash after American flag burned outside White House before Trump’s July 4th event

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
(OPED: ITS JUST A THOUGHT BUT, HOW ABOUT DEPORTING THEIR ASSES OUT OF THIS COUNTRY TO WHEREVER THEY WANT TO LIVE BUT DON’T EVER LET THEM STEP ON AMERICAN SOIL AGAIN. JUST A THOUGHT)(oldpoet56)

Protesters clash after American flag burned outside White House before Trump’s July 4th event

Washington (CNN) Leftist protesters burned an American flag outside the White House on Thursday and then clashed with supporters of President Donald Trump, including the far-right Proud Boys group, not long before Trump took the stage for his “Salute to America.”

The protests, which turned into violent clashes at times, took place just blocks from crowds who had gathered to watch Trump’s July Fourth speech and fireworks displays on the National Mall.
Led by activist Joey Johnson, a group from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, linked arms and set an American flag on fire outside as they chanted, “America was never great.” The Secret Service intervened quickly to extinguish the fire.
“Burn, baby, burn,” the protesters chanted.
In a news release before the event, Johnson said he was leading the protest because “I’m going to be speaking to the people of the world letting them know that there are people inside the borders of this country who stand with the people of the world.”
After the flag was extinguished, Johnson’s group clashed with a group of pro-Trump protesters, who began chanting, “Trump 2020.” The two groups traded chants and scuffles that occasionally turned violent.
Multiple protesters, including Johnson, were escorted from the scene in handcuffs by the Secret Service. A news release after the event from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, said Johnson was among those arrested.
Among the protesters were members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group with ties to white nationalism. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the organization a hate group.
The Secret Service tweeted a statement later Thursday that said there had been two arrests, though it included no names. One of those arrested was transported to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, the statement said, as were two uniformed Secret Service officers.
Trump’s July Fourth event in Washington, branded as a “Salute to America,” drew considerable controversy beforehand for the central role that US military equipment was expected to play, including M1 Abrams tanks and a military plane flyover.
Trump pushed back against criticism of the event, saying the military was “thrilled” to be part of it.

France: President Macron vows to rebuild Notre-Dame

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

 

Macron vows to rebuild Notre-Dame after devastating fire

AFP
AFP

AFP

The steeple engulfed in flames collapses as the roof of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral burns on April 15, 2019 in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, after a colossal fire tore through the building, sending the spire crashing to the ground and wiping out centuries of heritage.

Macron expressed relief that “the worst had been avoided” in a blaze that had at one point threatened the entire edifice, and left France in shock over the damage to a building described as the soul of the nation.

The inferno destroyed the roof of the 850-year-old UNESCO world heritage landmark, whose spectacular Gothic spire collapsed as orange flames and clouds of grey smoke billowed into the sky.

Around 400 firefighters battled into the night to control the flames, declaring in the early hours of Tuesday that the fire was under control, around nine hours after it broke out.

Paris fire brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet said “we can consider that the main structure of Notre-Dame has been saved and preserved” as well as the two towers.

Reuters

Flames that began in the early evening burst rapidly through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which toppled, quickly followed by the entire roof.

‘France is Notre Dame’

“Notre-Dame survived all the wars, all the bombardments. We never thought it could burn. I feel incredibly sad and empty,” Stephane Seigneurie, a consultant who joined other shocked onlookers in a solemn rendition of “Ave Maria” as they watched the fire from a nearby bridge.

Gasps and cries of “Oh my god” erupted around an hour after the fire first broke out when the top portion of the church’s spire came crashing down.

“We have been dealt a knockout blow,” a stricken-looking Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit told reporters.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear, but the cathedral had been undergoing intense restoration work which the fire service said could be linked to the blaze.

French prosecutors said it was being currently being treated as accident.

Historians expressed incredulity at the collapse of a building that has been a symbol of France for almost a millennium.

“If Paris is the Eiffel Tower then France is Notre Dame. It’s the entire culture, entire history of France incarnated in this monument,” Bernard Lecomte, a writer and specialist in religious history told BFM TV.

Deputy Paris mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told the channel that workers were scrambling “to save all the artworks that can be saved.” Officials later said teams had managed to salvage an unknown quantity of the cultural treasures.

AFP

Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre-Dame Cathedral as the fire continues to burn on April 16, 2019, in the French capital Paris.

‘Emotion of a nation’

Macron cancelled a planned policy speech and headed to the scene, where he vowed the cathedral would be reborn.

“We will rebuild Notre-Dame because it is what the French expect,” he said, describing Notre Dame as “the epicenter of our life” and the cathedral of “all the French,” whether religious or not.

France’s billionaire Pinault dynasty immediately pledged 100 million euros (US$113 million) for the effort.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Notre-Dame cathedral a “symbol of European culture” as the blaze raged.

The Vatican on Monday expressed its “incredulity” and “sadness” over the fire.

‘Water bombers not used’

One firefighter was seriously injured in the blaze, the fire brigade said.

US President Donald Trump in a tweet said it was “horrible” to watch the fire but caused controversy by offering advice on how to put it out.

“Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” he said.

But France’s civil security service, which oversees crisis management in the country, tweeted back at Trump that the use of water-bombing aircraft was not being considered.

“If used, (this) could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral,” it said.

‘Will never be the same’

The cathedral was located at the center of the French capital in the Middle Ages and its construction was completed in the mid-12th century after some 200 years of work.

During the French Revolution in the 18th century, the cathedral was vandalized in widespread anti-Catholic violence: Its spire was dismantled, its treasures plundered and its large statues at the grand entrance doors destroyed.

It would go on to feature as a central character in a Victor Hugo novel published in 1831, “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” and shortly afterwards a restoration project lasting two decades got under way, led by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc.

The building survived the devastation of two global conflicts in the 20th century and famously rang its bells on August 24, 1944, the day of the Liberation of Paris from German occupation at the end of the World War II.

“Paris is disfigured. The city will never be like it was before,” said Philippe, a communications worker in his mid-30s.

Jacky Lafortune, a 72-year-old artist and self-described atheist, stood forlornly on the banks of the River Seine staring at the cathedral.

Comparing the mood in the French capital to the aftermath of a terror attack he said: “But this stirs much deeper emotions because Notre-Dame is linked to the very foundations of our culture.”

French Titans’ Pledges to Notre-Dame Pass €600 Million

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

French Titans’ Pledges to Notre-Dame Pass €600 Million

The Arnault and Pinault families were among those who said they would devote resources and skills to the restoration of the cathedral, a symbol of French identity.

Battling the flames rising from the roof of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on Monday.Credit Bertrand Guay/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Image
Battling the flames rising from the roof of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on Monday.CreditCreditBertrand Guay/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In the aftermath of the fire at Notre-Dame, one of the great symbols of France, the luxury industry — another symbol of the country, thanks to names such as Dior, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent — has pledged hundreds of millions of euros to the cathedral’s restoration.

The donations were followed on Tuesday by other pledges that soon surpassed 600 million euros, or about $675 million, and included beauty, energy, and finance companies.

On Monday, as Notre-Dame burned and flames lit the sky, the Pinault family — owners of Kering, the second-largest luxury group in France — was the first to publicly offer a significant contribution, pledging to donate €100 million to the rebuilding effort.

“The Notre-Dame tragedy strikes all French people, as well as all those with spiritual values,” said François-Henri Pinault, chairman of Artémis, the family holding company that controls Kering.

“Faced with this tragedy, everyone wishes to bring this jewel of our heritage back to life as soon as possible,” he added. “Today, my father and I have committed to donate €100 million from the Artémis fund to take part in the effort needed to fully rebuild Notre-Dame de Paris.”

The French businessman François-Henri Pinault and his wife, the actress Salma Hayek, in Los Angeles last year.CreditChris Delmas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Image
The French businessman François-Henri Pinault and his wife, the actress Salma Hayek, in Los Angeles last year.CreditChris Delmas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Shortly afterward, the Arnault family and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, led by Bernard Arnault, the richest man in France, announced that they would give €200 million.

“The LVMH Group puts at the disposal of the state and the relevant authorities all of its teams — including creative, architectural and financial specialists — to help with the long work of reconstruction and fund-raising, which is already in progress,” they said.

LVMH is the largest luxury group in the world. Its fashion holdings include Celine, Dior, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton. The group also owns drinks brands including Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon and Veuve Clicquot, as well as the landmark Parisian stores Le Bon Marché and La Samaritaine. The group reported revenue of €46.8 billion in 2018.

Mr. Arnault was an early supporter of Emanuel Macron’s presidential bid, and Brigitte Macron, the French first lady, wears Louis Vuitton for most of her high-profile public events. Mr. Arnault also masterminded the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the contemporary art museum in the Bois de Boulogne designed by Frank Gehry that has helped reshape the landscape of Paris and that will ultimately become a gift to the city.

Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of the French luxury group LVMH, and his wife, Hélène Mercier, in Paris in March.CreditFrancois Mori/Associated Press
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Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of the French luxury group LVMH, and his wife, Hélène Mercier, in Paris in March.CreditFrancois Mori/Associated Press

For its part, Kering owns luxury brands such as Balenciaga, Boucheron and Yves Saint Laurent. The Pinault family — also among the richest in France — owns the wine estate Château Latour. The group’s 2018 revenues were €13.67 billion. François Pinault, the patriarch of the family that controls Kering, is building a contemporary art museum in the former Bourse de Commerce in the center of Paris that will be designed by the architect Tadao Ando.

François-Henri Pinault, Mr. Pinault’s son, is married to the actress Salma Hayek. Kering has its headquarters in Paris, and Ms. Hayek posted a message of condolence and support on Instagram after the fire. “As many others I’m in deep shock and sadness to witness the beauty of Notre-Dame turn into smoke,” she wrote. “I love you Paris.”

The two fashion groups are deeply embedded and invested in the heritage of France as a global beacon of beauty and artistic creativity, a tradition that is also carved into the stones of Notre-Dame.

In recent years, the luxury industry across Europe has become actively involved in restoring historic monuments. The Italian leather goods group Tod’s is underwriting the restoration of the Colosseum in Rome for €25 million. Fendi, which is owned by LVMH, paid €2 million toward the restoration of the Trevi Fountain in the Italian capital (the company held a fashion show there when it was completed). Bulgari, a jewelry brand also under the LVMH umbrella, spent €1.5 million on the Spanish Steps in the city. And Salvatore Ferragamo, an Italian luxury goods company, has supported the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Fendi, which is owned by LVMH, held a fashion show in July 2016 at the Trevi Fountain in Rome after renovations the company had underwritten were completed.CreditVictor Boyko/Getty Images
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Fendi, which is owned by LVMH, held a fashion show in July 2016 at the Trevi Fountain in Rome after renovations the company had underwritten were completed.CreditVictor Boyko/Getty Images

The motives are both altruistic — supplying funds that local governments do not have in the interests of saving a joint inheritance — and self-interested — the companies clearly understand that the more closely they associate with masterpieces of history, the more they bask in their glow.

In addition, when it comes to Notre-Dame, donors will benefit from a hefty tax write-off. Individuals in France can get a 66 percent discount on charitable gifts, while companies can deduct 60 percent of their corporate sponsorship expenses — which would most likely include assistance to the cathedral — from their corporation tax, though the amount is capped at 0.5 percent of turnover.

In the aftermath of the tragedy in Paris, however, such distinctions may not matter. The gifts from the likes of the Arnaults and the Pinaults are a reflection of how personally, and how profoundly, the fire has reached into the identity of French citizens and their businesses.

Indeed, just after the announcement from LVMH, Patrick Pouyanné, the chief executive of the French energy company Total, said on Twitter that his firm would contribute an additional €100 million to the cause, and L’Oréal and the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation, which is backed by the family that founded the cosmetics giant, pledged a total of €200 million. Offers of aid in the reconstruction effort also came from the bank Société Générale (€10 million) and the advertising firm JCDecaux (€20 million), while the tire maker Michelin also promised a large sum and the construction giant Vinci offered to provide workers and architects.

Their legacy will now be part of Notre-Dame’s future.

Liz Alderman contributed reporting.

Vanessa Friedman is The Times’s fashion director and chief fashion critic. She was previously the fashion editor of the Financial Times. @VVFriedman

‘Blaze looks terrible’, Omar Abdullah tweets as fire ravages Norte-Dame

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

 

‘Blaze looks terrible’, Omar Abdullah tweets as fire ravages Notre-Dame

The fire caused a spire to collapse and raised fears over the future of the nearly millenium old building and its precious artworks.

INDIA Updated: Apr 16, 2019 00:39 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Notre-Dame Cathedral,Paris,Fire
Firefighters douse flames and smoke billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday .(AFP)

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and the Congress party tweeted their sorrow over the fire that ravaged the Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on Monday.

Omar hoped that the fire could be put before it consumes the entire building.

Omar Abdullah

@OmarAbdullah

This blaze looks terrible. I hope they are able to put it out before it completely guts this historic building.

Breaking News Feed@pzf

BREAKING NEWS: Huge fire reported at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.

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The Congress party in its tweet said it hoped there were no casualties.

Congress

@INCIndia

Heart-breaking news of the fire at the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. We hope there are no casualties & the Holy Cathedral can be salvaged.

cristina casacuberta@ccasacub

#notredame

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Flames that began in the early evening burst through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.

A huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area. Parisians watched on, many of them lost for words.

Firefighters tried to contain the blaze with water hoses and cleared the area around Notre-Dame, which sits on an island in the River Seine and marks the very centre of Paris

(With inputs from Reuters)

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 00:39 IST

Black Church Fires: Louisiana Deputy Turns In 21 Year Old Son For Arrest

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

Last Updated Apr 11, 2019 10:07 AM EDT

Police arrested the 21-year-old son of a sheriff’s deputy in connection to fires at three historically black churches in one Louisiana Parish in just 10 days. CBS News has learned it was the suspect’s father, Deputy Roy Matthews, who turned him in to authorities. The fires were devastating to the St. Landry Parish community.

Investigators arrested suspect Holden Matthews Wednesday evening. He was charged Thursday morning with three counts of simple arson of a religious building.The maximum penalty for each counts is 15 years in prison.

Matthews’ social media shows he had an interest in black metal music and is the lead singer for a band called Vodka Vultures. Records show Matthews lives in Saint Landry Parish, where the churches burned just a few miles apart. Police have not yet revealed a motive.

The churches were empty at the time of each fire and no one was hurt.

Earlier this week, the NAACP said the church burnings were “domestic terrorism,” targeting people because of their skin color and faith.

Attacks on black churches have long been used as a way to intimidate the black community, most notably during the civil rights era. Though police in Saint Landry Parish have heightened security at nearby churches, parishioners have not stopped their Sunday worship and all the pastors say they will rebuild.

The fires began on March 26 at St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre followed by Greater Union Baptist on April 2 and  Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on April 4.

“There’s still people that need to be helped, there’s still ministry that has to be done, so we can’t let this setback stop us from doing what God has initially called us to do,” said Pastor Kyle Sylvester of St. Mary’s Baptist Church.

The FBI and ATF have been assisting local police with the investigation.

Authorities say they will announce “significant updates” at a press conference Thursday morning with Louisiana’s governor.

China: People Mourn Martyrs Who Died Fighting Forest Fire

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

 

People mourn for martyrs who died while fighting forest fire in Sichuan

Xinhua

Xinhua

A ceremony is held to receive the bone ashes of fireman Zhang Chengpeng, who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, at Jinan international airport in Jinan, east China’s Shandong Province, April 5, 2019. The ashes of fireman Zhang Chengpeng returned to his hometown of Zouping in Shandong Province on Friday.

Xinhua

People mourn for Xu Penglong, Zhao Yongyi, Zhang Shuai and Kang Rongzhen, martyrs who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, as their remains are taken back to their hometown in Linyi, east China’s Shandong Province, April 5, 2019.

Xinhua

The remains of Xu Penglong, Zhao Yongyi, Zhang Shuai and Kang Rongzhen, martyrs who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, are taken back to their hometown in Linyi, east China’s Shandong Province, April 5, 2019.

Xinhua

The remains of Xu Penglong, Zhao Yongyi, Zhang Shuai and Kang Rongzhen, martyrs who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, are taken back to their hometown in Linyi, east China’s Shandong Province, April 5, 2019.

Xinhua

People mourn for Xu Penglong, Zhao Yongyi, Zhang Shuai and Kang Rongzhen, martyrs who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, as their remains are taken back to their hometown in Linyi, east China’s Shandong Province, April 5, 2019.

Xinhua

People attend a mourning ceremony for fireman Zhang Chengpeng, who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, in Dachen Village, Zouping, east China’s Shandong Province, April 5, 2019.

Xinhua

The remains of Xu Penglong, Zhao Yongyi, Zhang Shuai and Kang Rongzhen, martyrs who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, are taken back to their hometown in Linyi, east China’s Shandong Province, April 5, 2019.

Xinhua

People mourn for Xu Penglong, Zhao Yongyi, Zhang Shuai and Kang Rongzhen, martyrs who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, as their remains are taken back to their hometown in Linyi, east China’s Shandong Province, April 5, 2019.

Xinhua

A ceremony is held to receive the bone ashes of fireman Zhang Chengpeng, who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, at Jinan international airport in Jinan, east China’s Shandong Province, April 5, 2019.

Xinhua

People mourn for Yang Ruilun, a martyr who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, as his remains are taken back to his hometown in Majiang County, Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture of Qiandongnan, southwest China’s Guizhou Province, April 5, 2019.

Xinhua

People mourn for Yang Ruilun, a martyr who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, as his remains are taken back to his hometown in Majiang County, Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture of Qiandongnan, southwest China’s Guizhou Province, April 5, 2019.

Xinhua

The remains of Xu Penglong, Zhao Yongyi, Zhang Shuai and Kang Rongzhen, martyrs who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, are taken back to their hometown in Linyi, east China’s Shandong Province, April 5, 2019.

Xinhua

People mourn for Yang Ruilun, a martyr who died while fighting a forest fire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, as his remains are taken back to his hometown in Majiang County, Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture of Qiandongnan, southwest China’s Guizhou Province, April 5, 2019.

ATF investigating 5th fire at Jehovah’s Witness centers in Washington this year

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

 

ATF investigating 5th fire at Jehovah’s Witness centers in Washington this year

PHOTO: The Kingdom Hall for Jehovahs Witnesses in Lacey, Wash., was completely destroyed by a fire on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Officials have ruled it an arson.KOMO
WATCH Suspected arsonist is targeting Jehovah’s Witnesses centers, police say

Federal authorities in Washington state are investigating the latest in a troubling series of arson cases at worship halls for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The latest fire broke out Friday at a Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey, Washington, completely destroying the building. The Seattle branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ruled the fire an arson on Saturday. The fire broke out at about 3:30 a.m. and no one was in the building at the time, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said.

The fire was the fifth at a Kingdom Hall in Thurston County this year, according to the ATF. All of the cases remain unsolved.

PHOTO: The Kingdom Hall for Jehovahs Witnesses in Lacey, Wash., was completely destroyed by a fire on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Officials have ruled it an arson.KOMO
The Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey, Wash., was completely destroyed by a fire on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Officials have ruled it an arson.more +

“Why is this specific religion being targeted? Why are these churches being targeted? What are they doing that is so wrong and oppressive?” Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza told Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee responded to the latest arson on Friday, calling it an “abhorrent act.”

Governor Jay Inslee

@GovInslee

The freedom to worship is a right that should be protected for every person in our country. Our thoughts are with the members of our community affected by this abhorrent act.

KING 5 News

@KING5Seattle

The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey was destroyed Friday morning by a fire that detectives call suspicious. https://kng5.tv/2RHVciB 

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76 people are talking about this

The most recent fire before Friday’s was on Aug. 8 when someone attempted to burn down a Kingdom Hall in Yelm, Washington, about 15 miles southeast of Lacey. There was minimal damage, but police also found a dummy device designed to look like an explosive. Someone opened fire on that same hall in May, spraying it with 35 rounds and causing $10,000 in damage, according to KOMO.

On March 19, fires were started at Kingdom Halls in Olympia and Tumwater. Tumwater and Olympia are only 3 miles apart. Police released surveillance video at the time showing a man at the Tumwater center dressed in jeans and a navy blue hoodie pouring gasoline from a gallon jug and then lighting it on fire.

After suffering minor damage in March, the Olympia Kingdom Hall was destroyed by a second fire in July.

PHOTO: Someone set a small fire and left a fake bomb at a Jehovahs Witness hall in Yelm, Wash., on Aug. 8, 2018. The case was part of a series of fires and attacks at Kingdom Halls.KOMO
Someone set a small fire and left a fake bomb at a Jehovah’s Witness hall in Yelm, Wash., on Aug. 8, 2018. The case was part of a series of fires and attacks at Kingdom Halls.more +

No one has been injured in any of the incidents, all of which have occurred in the early morning hours when no one was inside the buildings.

The ATF announced in July it has connected the arson cases in Yelm, Olympia and Tumwater — as well as the shooting in Yelm. It’s not yet clear if Friday’s fire is also connected.

“ATF is doing everything in its utmost power to contribute to solving this crime with our partners in Thurston County,” ATF special agent-in-charge Jonathan Blais told KOMO.

The ATF is offering a combined $36,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of a suspect.

ABC News’ Matthew Fuhrman and Amanda Maile contributed to this report.

Massive fire in Mumbai’s Aarey forest near Infinity IT Park doused

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

 

Massive fire in Mumbai’s Aarey forest near Infinity IT Park doused

According to Mumbai fire brigade, the fire, which was confined to trees and dry leaves, spread across an area of about 3-4 kilometers. Although, there were no reported casualties, a heavy damage to the forest is being feared.

INDIA Updated: Dec 04, 2018 08:49 IST

Steffy Thevar
Steffy Thevar
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai fire,fire at Aarey forest,sanjay gandhi national park
A major fire erupted in the Aarey forest near Goregaon suburb of north-west Mumbai on Monday evenin(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

A major fire erupted in the Aarey forest near Goregaon suburb of north-west Mumbai on Monday evening. The fire broke out behind Infinity IT Park at General AK Vaidya Marg, Dindoshi.

No casualties were reported till late evening.

The fire, which broke out at around 6:21 pm escalated to level three by 8:05 pm. According to Mumbai fire brigade, the fire, which was confined to trees and dry leaves, spread across an area of about 3-4 kilometers. Although, there were no reported casualties, a heavy damage to the forest is being feared.

Activist Zoru Bhathena said, “Although there might be no human casualties but there might be a huge green cover loss. Also, it is likely that there may be many animals and birds stuck in the forest fire. The cause also needs to get investigated as it may be an attempt to encroach the land by later claiming it to be a barren land.”

Ten fire engines, seven jumbo tankers and three quick response vehicles have been pressed into action to battle the fire.

Fire officials on ground are also using green branches to douse the fire. After the fire started to spread to the other side of the forest, the disaster control room intimated the nearby police stations to evacuate adivasis and cattles, if any, present in the area. The disaster control room officials, however, confirmed that no one was stuck in the fire.

First Published: Dec 03, 2018 21:45 IST

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