United Passenger Will Need Surgery: Has ‘Significant’ Concussion, Broken Nose, Missing 2 Front Teeth

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

United passenger will need surgery

A PASSENGER dragged from a United Express flight suffered “significant” concussion and a broken nose, and he lost two front teeth, one of his lawyers said yesterday.

Dr David Dao has been discharged from hospital but he will require reconstructive surgery, said attorney Thomas Demetrio, whose firm is representing the 69-year-old Kentucky physician.

Dao was removed from the plane on Sunday after he refused to give up his seat on the full flight from Chicago to Louisville.

One of Dao’s five children, Crystal Pepper, said the family was “horrified, shocked and sickened” to learn and see what happened. She said seeing her father removed from the flight was “exacerbated” by the fact it was caught on video and widely distributed.

Demetrio said he will likely file a lawsuit on Dao’s behalf, adding that airlines — and United in particular — have long “bullied” passengers.

The video of the passenger being dragged by an officer from the flight also shone an unwanted spotlight on the little-known police force that guards Chicago’s two main airports.

Chicago’s aviation officers are not part of the regular police force, unlike in many other big cities. They get less training than regular officers and can’t carry firearms inside the airports. Three are now on leave amid outrage over how they treated the passenger.

Cellphone footage of the confrontation “really has put it (the force) at risk,” Alderman Chris Taliaferro said on Wednesday, the day before aldermen were due to grill United and the Chicago Aviation Department about why Dao was yanked out of his seat at O’Hare Airport.

The city council is looking for answers about the embarrassing video seen around the world. At the top of the list of questions is whether the airport officers even had the legal authority to board the plane, said Alderman Michael Zalewski, who leads the council’s aviation committee.

“They are allowed in the terminal and baggage area, but my understanding is they may not be allowed on a plane,” he said. Zalewski also said he is not sure if the officers have the authority to make arrests or if they are only authorized to write tickets.

An aviation department spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the duties of the police force, but Zalewski said the agency’s commissioner was to be asked about them.

The department will also be asked about training. Zalewski said airport officers receive four months of training compared with the six months cadets must complete before joining the city’s police department.

“We don’t know what that two-month gap means,” he said, adding that he will ask if the airport officers receive the same kind of training in de-escalating tense situations that city police officers get.

The roughly 300 aviation police officers earn between US$50,000 and US$88,000 a year and cost the city about US$19 million a year. They are city employees but not members of the Chicago Police Department.

The city also assigns approximately 200 regular police officers to the two airports, all of them armed.

One possibility for reform could be to disband the aviation force in favor of more city police officers, though Taliaferro thinks that is unlikely.

ISIS Video Threatens To Attack More Christians

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Video had threatened Christians with more attacks

THE Islamic State group claimed responsibility for bombing two Egyptian churches as worshippers gathered to mark Palm Sunday, killing at least 43 people and injuring more than 100 in the deadliest attacks on the Coptic Christian minority in recent memory.

The attacks followed a Cairo church bombing in December and came weeks ahead of a planned visit by Catholic Pope Francis intended to show support for the country’s Christian minority.

The first bombing struck the Mar Girgis church in the city of Tanta north of Cairo, killing 27 people, the health ministry said.

Emergency services had scrambled to the scene when another bombing rocked the Saint Mark’s church in Alexandria where Coptic Pope Tawadros II had been leading a Palm Sunday service.

Sixteen people were killed in that attack, which the interior ministry said was caused by a suicide bomber. A church official said that Tawadros had left before the bombing.

At least 78 people were wounded in Tanta and another 41 wounded in Alexandria, the health ministry said.

Egyptian officials denounced the violence as an attempt to sow divisions in the country, while Francis sent his “deep condolences” to Tawadros.

Islamic State claimed that its “squads” carried out both attacks, in a statement by its self-styled Amaq news agency.

Images broadcast by private television stations showed bloodstains smearing the whitewashed walls of the church in Tanta next to shredded wooden benches.

“The explosion took place in the front rows, near the altar, during the mass,” General Tarek Atiya, the deputy to Egypt’s interior minister in charge of relations with the media, told reporters.

“I heard the blast and came running. I found people torn up … some people, only half of their bodies remained,” said Nabil Nader, whose resident is in front of the Tanta church.

The worshippers had been celebrating Palm Sunday, one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar, marking the triumphant entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem.

Pope Francis, who is due to visit Cairo on April 28-29, offered prayers for the victims.

“Let us pray for the victims of the attack unfortunately carried out today,” he said in an Angelus prayer.

“May the Lord convert the heart of those who sow terror, violence and death and also the heart of those who make weapons and trade in them.”

Copts, who make up about a 10th of Egypt’s population of more than 92 million and who celebrate Easter next weekend, have been targeted by several attacks in recent months.

Jihadists and Islamists accuse Copts of supporting the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, which ushered in a deadly crackdown on his supporters.

In December, a suicide bombing claimed by Islamic State killed 29 worshippers during Sunday mass in Cairo.

The group later released a video threatening Egypt’s Christians with more attacks.

The bombing of the church within a compound that also holds the seat of the Coptic papacy was the deadliest attack against the minority in recent memory.

A spate of jihadist-linked attacks in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula, including the murder of a Copt in the city of El Arish whose house was also burned, have led some Coptic families to flee their homes.

About 250 Christians took refuge in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya after Islamic State released a video in February calling for attacks on the religious minority.

Reacting before the second bombing in Alexandria, Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid called the attack in Tanta “a failed attempt against our unity.”

“Terrorism hits Egypt again, this time on Palm Sunday,” he tweeted. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail also condemned the attack, stressing Egypt’s determination to “eliminate terrorism.”

The Cairo-based Al-Azhar, an influential Sunni Muslim authority, said it aimed to “destabilize security and … the unity of Egyptians.”

Egypt’s Copts have endured successive attacks since Morsi was ousted in July 2013.

More than 40 churches were attacked nationwide in the two weeks after the deadly dispersal by security forces of two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo on August 14, 2013, Human Rights Watch said.

Amnesty International later said more than 200 Christian-owned properties were attacked and 43 churches seriously damaged, adding that at least four people were killed.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as then army chief helped remove Morsi, has defended his security forces and accused jihadists of attacking Copts in order to divide the country.

China: Metro System Beefs Up Security After Metro Attack In Saint Petersburg Russia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Metro acts after attack in Russia

IN the wake of last week’s suicide bomb attack on the St Petersburg subway, Shanghai’s Metro police have announced measures to strengthen safety control on the city’s network. Traffic on the network has now topped 10 million trips daily.

Metro police said over the weekend it would work with Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, the network’s operator, to upgrade security levels.

The measures include having more police officers patrolling the network, enhancing coordination with local police stations to cover Metro exits, increased inspections of luggage and passengers, and tightening surveillance monitoring.

The authority said it would work with local police stations to launch more emergency exercises.

More police dogs will be on hand. Security machines are also to be upgraded.

The authority added it would make more random ID checks.

The blast in Russia’s St Petersburg last Monday took place in a train carriage between two subway stations, killing 14 people and injuring many more.

China: Illegal Taxi Gang Who Would Take Customers For ‘A Ride’ Has Been Busted

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Illegal taxi gang busted

THE city’s traffic law enforcement team busted a gang operating fake taxis near Jinhai Road Station on Metro Line 12.

Six vehicles were seized and five suspects put under administrative detention by the police, the authority said, adding that the suspects would also lose all 12 points on their driving licenses. A sixth suspect escaped.

The vehicles had illegally installed fake taxi signs, meters and false plates. More than 60 officers of the traffic law enforcement team and a further 30 local security staff took part in the crackdown last Thursday.

The authority said the crackdown was launched after receiving a report from a passenger, who claimed to have been charged 41 yuan (US$6) for a journey of about 3 kilometers from the Metro station to Jinxiang Road — three times the normal price.

The passenger alleged that the “taxi driver” claimed “if it was at night and you still refused to pay, I would rob you directly. The car is a fake taxi.” For good measure, the driver is alleged to have added his car couldn’t be tracked.

Xi, Trump pledge to expand win-win cooperation, manage differences

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Xi, Trump pledge to expand win-win cooperation, manage differences

CHINESE President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, pledged on Friday to expand mutually beneficial cooperation and manage differences on the basis of mutual respect.

Xi made the two-day trip to the southeastern US coastal town of Palm Beach for the first meeting with Trump, in a bid to chart the course of bilateral ties in a new era.

POSITIVE, FRUITFUL MEETING

The two leaders agreed that their first meeting, held at the seaside Mar-a-Lago resort in the US state of Florida, was “positive and fruitful.”

During their talks over the two days, Xi and Trump exchanged views on key areas of bilateral cooperation as well as global and regional issues of common concern.

Xi said his first meeting with Trump bears unique significance to the development of China-US ties.

He added that he and Trump, during the meeting, have also gained better understanding of each other, cemented their mutual trust, scored many major consensuses, and built up a good working relationship.

The two sides need to further enhance their relations so as to better serve the interests of the two countries and their peoples, and to promote world peace and prosperity, Xi said.

“I think we have made tremendous progress in our relationship with China,” the White House cited Trump as saying after meeting with Xi, adding that the relationship developed by Xi and himself is “outstanding.”

US representatives have been meeting one-on-one with their Chinese counterparts, and progress has been made, said the US president.

After their talks, Xi and Trump took a walk at the picturesque seaside resort, which Trump calls his “Southern White House.”

COMPREHENSIVE COOPERATION

To boost bilateral ties, Xi underlined the importance of further enhancing economic, military and law enforcement cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.

China and the United States are now each other’s biggest trading partner, from which the two peoples benefit a lot, said Xi.

Xi said China is pushing forward the supply-side structural reform, boosting domestic demand and increasing the share of the services industry in its national economy.

China’s economy is to maintain sound momentum of development, and China and the United States enjoy broad prospects in economic and trade cooperation, said Xi, urging the two sides to grasp the opportunity.

“China welcomes the US side to participate in cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative,” said Xi.

On military relations, which he said make up an important part of bilateral ties, Xi pointed out that mutual trust in military and security areas forms the basis of the strategic mutual trust between the two countries.

Xi proposed that the two sides maintain military exchanges at various levels, give full play to such mechanisms as China-US defense ministry consultations and Asia-Pacific security dialogue, and make good use of the dialogue mechanism to be established between the two countries’ joint staffs of the armed forces.

Meanwhile, he suggested that the two sides carry out the annual exchange programs they have agreed upon, and implement and improve the mutual reporting mechanism on major military operations and the code of safe conduct on naval and air military encounters.

China is ready to enhance law-enforcement cooperation with the US side, said Xi, calling on the two sides to jointly combat transnational crimes such as drug trafficking, child trafficking, money laundering, cyber crime and organized crime.

China and the United States share important interests in safeguarding cyber security, said Xi, adding that the two sides should make good use of the newly installed dialogue mechanism on law-enforcement and cyber security so as to jointly build a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace.

China is making all-out efforts in fighting corruption, said Xi, who urged the US side to coordinate more closely with China in hunting for fugitives who have fled abroad and recovering illicit money.

People-to-people exchanges remain a solid foundation for the China-US relationship, Xi said, vowing to promote bilateral cooperation in tourism, arts, sports and health care to further enhance the public support and boost ties.

Trump said the United States is willing to further strengthen cooperation with China in economy, military affairs and people-to-people exchanges and support China’s efforts in hunting for fugitives and recovering illicit money.

NEW MECHANISMS

Ahead of the two presidents’ second round of talks, senior Chinese and US officials on Friday initiated the comprehensive economic dialogue, as well as the diplomatic and security dialogue, two of the four pillars of the newly established bilateral dialogue mechanism.

Within the framework, the two sides had frank and in-depth conversations and set the agenda for the next phase.

Xi and Trump approved of the preliminary results of the two dialogue mechanisms.

“The posture between the two (leaders) really set the tone for our subsequent meetings between our high-level delegations,” said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a press briefing following Xi-Trump meetings.

China-US Relations Should Bring More Benefits To People: Xi

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China-US relations should bring more benefits to people: Xi

VISITING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday called on China and the United States to bring the two peoples more benefits as the world’s two biggest economies develop ties.

Addressing a welcome banquet hosted by US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania, Xi said he and Trump held good talks earlier in the afternoon, reaching important consensus for the development of China-US ties.

The two countries are willing to expand cooperation in trade and investment, diplomacy and security, law enforcement and cyber security, cultural and people-to-people exchanges on the basis of mutual respect and benefit, said Xi.

He also urged the two countries to manage differences and address sensitive issues in a constructive way.

During the speech, Xi expressed his readiness to lead, together with President Trump, people who have good wishes and passion to upgrade China-US relations.

Trump congratulated Xi on his achievements in leading China’s development, and the international respect Xi earned in the process.

Trump said he had a good discussion with Xi in their first meeting, exchanged opinions on a wide array of topics, and established a warm personal rapport.

Xi arrived in the southeastern US coastal town of Palm Beach on Thursday afternoon, starting his first meeting with Trump in a bid to push forward China-US relations from a new starting point.

The two leaders exchanged in-depth views with each other on major global and regional issues of common concern. They are to further their discussion on Friday.

Russia probes Islamic State links as St Petersburg mourns its dead

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Russia probes Islamic State links as St Petersburg mourns its dead

ON a day when a grieving city was again mourning its dead, Russian investigators were yesterday trying to find out what motivated the man behind the bomb blast in the St Petersburg metro that killed 14 people.

The attacker has been named as 22-year-old Akbarjon Djalilov, believed to be a Russian national born in central Asian Kyrgyzstan.

He also planted a bomb at another station that was successfully defused, investigators said.

Authorities searched Djalilov’s residence and said CCTV footage showed him leaving his home ahead of the attack “with a bag and rucksack.”

The head of Russia’s Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin ordered officials to look into any potential “links” between the alleged attacker and the Islamic State group.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

But jihadists from Islamic State have repeatedly threatened an attack on Russian soil in revenge for Moscow’s military backing of Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

In the first sign of a crackdown on suspected Islamists since the attack, authorities in St Petersburg said they had detained six alleged “terrorist” recruiters from central Asia, working for groups including Islamic State, but stressed there was no proof yet of any links to Djalilov.

Djalilov’s fragmented remains were found at the scene of the blast, but it remains unclear whether he was included in the official death toll.

His distraught parents have flown to St Petersburg from their home city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Authorities in the mainly Muslim nation say Djalilov and his parents are ethnic Uzbeks with Russian citizenship and that Djalilov has lived in Russia since he was 16. They said Djalilov flew back to Russia on March 3 after a visit home.

There was no confirmation by Russian officials of any of these details.

As the authorities probed the circumstances of the attack, they also released the identities of most of the victims, as dozens of injured remained in hospital.

The ages of those killed ranged from around 17 to 71 with nationals of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan reported among the dead.

Dozens of people gathered in a St Petersburg cathedral for a memorial service for the dead, as Russia marked a second day of national mourning.

“She was a remarkable, creative person,” said the sister of 50-year-old Irina Medyantseva, a dollmaker who died in the blast. “What happened is terrible.”

The attack has stunned Russia’s second city and posed tough security issues as it gears up to host the opening game and final of the Confederation Cup football tournament in June, ahead of the country holding the World Cup in 2018.

Russia suffered a wave of brutal attacks in the 1990s and 2000s blamed mainly on a rebellion in Chechnya that morphed from a separatist uprising into an Islamist insurgency.

The country’s transport network — including the metro in Moscow — was hit repeatedly by suicide bombers leaving scores dead.

But there had been no attacks against a major city since blasts in the southern city of Volgograd in December 2013, weeks ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

Islamic State, however, has struck at Russia abroad, claiming a bomb attack in October 2015 that blew up a passenger jet packed with holidaymakers returning to St Petersburg from Egypt, killing all 224 people onboard.

In the wake of the metro bombing, President Vladimir Putin held talks with world leaders including US President Donald Trump to push for greater cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

The Kremlin has called the attack a “challenge to every Russian, including the head of state.” Putin raised the issue at a meeting scheduled before the attack with security bosses in Moscow.

“We see that the situation unfortunately is not improving,” Putin said in televised comments.

“We know that each of our countries … is a potential target for terrorist attacks.”

Australia Seizes Huge Drugs Haul From China

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Australia seizes huge drugs haul from China

AUSTRALIAN police have seized 903 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine smuggled from China inside boxes of hollow floorboards — the largest haul of the illicit drug in Australia, officials said yesterday. methamp

Law enforcement agencies valued the seizure, mostly found in a Melbourne warehouse in February, at almost A$900 million (US$680 million).

Two Australian men, aged 53 and 36, have been charged with commercial drug trafficking and face life in prison if convicted, police said. A search is underway for another two suspects in Melbourne.

Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan described the concealment of the drug inside 70 boxes of wooden floorboards as “quite complex, quite unique.”

Gaughan said police knew the identity of the syndicate that supplied the drug, best known as ice. He would not be more specific than to say the drug originated from somewhere in Asia.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan praised Australia’s cooperation with China’s National Narcotics Control Bureau which he said had stopped 7.5 tons of drugs from reaching Australian streets. Australia was the only Western country that had a joint taskforce with the Chinese bureau based in Guangzhou.

“It is a very serious blow to organized crime around the country,” Keenan said of the latest seizure.

Australia’s drug users pay up to 80 times the price the drug would fetch in China, Keenan said.

Australia’s previous largest haul of ice was almost 880 kilograms seized in Sydney in November 2014. The country’s largest seizure of cocaine was in February when a yacht was intercepted with 1.4 tons of the drug.

China Will Be The Straw That Will Stir The World’s Economic Drink?

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Forum hears pledge of more effort to revitalize China’s real economy

CHINA will remain committed to ensuring innovation drives development and will increase efforts to revitalize the real economy, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said yesterday.

“The real economy is the foundation of economic growth and we will optimize it,” Zhang said at the opening ceremony of the China Development Forum 2017 in Beijing.

China will improve its capabilities in scientific innovation and boost the development of strategic emerging sectors and modern manufacturing while transforming traditional industries with new technology and business models, he said.

The government will continue to promote entrepreneurship and the “Internet Plus” plan to meet the diverse needs of the market and Chinese companies will be encouraged to use craftsmanship to establish competitive brands that can stand the test of time.

China will further reduce costs for enterprises by streamlining administration and pushing forward tax reforms, and prevention and control of financial risks will be elevated to a higher position on the government’s agenda, Zhang said, adding that China will manage risks in bad loans, bond default, property bubbles and Internet finance to avoid systemic financial risks.

To stimulate growth and improve market vitality, China should increase supply-side structural reform, Zhang said.

Highlighting the basic tone of “seeking progress while maintaining stability,” he underscored the need for efforts to maintain growth, ensure employment and counteract risks from home and abroad.

China will forge ahead with its supply-side reform, cutting steel production capacity by around 50 million tons and coal capacity by over 150 million tons this year, he said.

The country will prioritize de-stocking unsold houses in third and fourth-tier cities as it fights speculation in the housing market, he added.

Zhang restated China’s commitment to better air, water and soil quality.

The government will speed up the reform of state-owned enterprises, make concrete mixed-ownership reforms in sectors such as power, petroleum, railways, civil aviation and telecommunications and open the market to more private investment, Zhang said.

On the close ties between China and the world economy, he stressed the need to advance globalization and fight protectionism.

“China is willing to join efforts with the international community to steer the world economy toward strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth,” he said.

The country will continue to implement its opening-up strategy and advance the Belt and Road Initiative, he added.

China will host the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May. Taking part in this “new chapter in win-win cooperation” will be more than 20 heads of state and government, more than 50 leaders of international organizations, more than 100 ministerial-level officials, and more than 1,200 delegates.

Beijing suspends last of its coal-fired power plants: China Goes To The Future: Trump, U.S. In Reverse

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Beijing suspends last of its coal-fired power plants

BEIJING’S last large coal-fired power plant has suspended operations, meaning the capital has become the first city in China to have all its power plants fueled by clean energy.

The Huangneng Beijing Thermal Power Plant came into operation in June 1999. It has five coal-fired units with a total installed capacity of 845,000 kilowatts and heating capacity of 26 million square meters.

Du Chengzhang, the plant’s general manager, said it is an efficient and environmental friendly plant with advanced emission treatment equipment. The plant has provided important support to the stable operation of Beijing’s electric power system and the heat-supply system, he said.

After the suspension of the plant on Saturday, about 1.76 million tons of coal, 91 tons of sulfur dioxide and 285 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions a year will be cut.

According to a clean air plan by Beijing from 2013 to 2017, the city was to build four gas thermal power centers and shut down the four large coal-fueled thermal power plants.

The other three plants which used to consume over 6.8 million tons of coal each year were closed in 2014 and 2015.

Du said Huangneng will prepare to serve as an emergency heat source for the capital’s heating system after operations cease.

Three of the four gas thermal power have already been built and are in use.

Beijing has 27 power plants, all fueled by clean energy with a total installed capacity of 11.3 million kilowatts.

Under the plan, Beijing will build no more large-scale power plants.