India: 23 dead, 150 injured as train derails in Uttar Pradesh

By Shuriah Niazi


New Delhi (AA): At least 23 people were killed and 150  others injured after a passenger train derailed in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, governmental officials said.

The incident took place in the town of Khautali of Muzaffarnagar district — some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the capital New Dehli — when the train was traveling from the city of Puri of the eastern Odisha state to the city of Haridwar of the northern Uttarakhand state, Arvind Kumar, a top official in Uttar Pradesh said.

14 coaches of the Puri Haridwar Kalinga Utkal Express train derailed.

The cause of the train derailment has yet to be determined.

Spokesman for Indian Railways Anil Saxena said the injured had been taken to nearby hospitals.

“The incident took place in the evening. Our first priority is to provide relief to the injured persons,” the spokesman told Anadolu Agency.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry into the train derailment to ascertain the cause of the incident. “Strict action will be taken against any lapse,” he tweeted.

“I am personally monitoring the situation. Have instructed senior officers to reach the site immediately and ensure speedy rescue and relief operations,” Prabhu added.

The track on which the Kalinga Utkal Express derailed was under repair near Khatauli.

Railway officials said at least 15 metres of the track had been taken off and was being replaced when the train appeared.

Apparently Khatauli station staff was not aware that the repair work was taking place.

The minister has announced a compensation of Rs. 350,000 ($5,500) for the kin of deceased persons.

Rescue and search efforts have ended, added Prabhu.

Train accidents are common in India, where more than 22 million passengers use the rail system daily. Over 250 people were killed across the country in 2015 and 2016 alone.

This is the second serious train derailment case in Uttar Pradesh in the last few months. In November last year, 14 coaches of the Patna-bound Indore-Rajendranagar Express train derailed between Pokhrayan and Malasa stations in Uttar Pradesh, killing 152 passengers and injuring綷.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Archive photo: 18 killed in train accident in Maharashtra, India on 4 May 2014. Photographer: Atul Sevade/AA]

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Finland: Two people killed in knife attacks in Turku

By Ilker Girit


Anadolu Agency: Two people were killed and eight others injured Friday in a stabbing attack in in a market square in Turku, a city in southwest Finland.

The attack was not considered an act of terrorism, Finland’s top police chief, Seppo Kolehmainen, said at a news conference.

Kolehmainen said the attack occurred at 4.00 p.m. local time (1300GMT) and the assailant was hospitalized after being shot in the leg.

“The suspect’s identity and nationality are yet to be determined,” he added.

Police said on Twitter that several people had been injured and warned the public to move away from the city center. Reports said that six people, including five women and a man, were injured in the knife attack

Images from the scene showed at least one body on the ground covered in a white sheet in the market area where the stabbings took place.

Video footage from Turku showed people running down the city’s streets.

Local newspaper Turun Sanomat said Finnish police were stepping up security at transport sites, including Helsinki Airport.

Finnish premier Juha Sipilä said the government was monitoring the situation.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker condemned the “unprovoked attack, which comes only 24 hours after the horror that unfolded in Spain.

“I express my full solidarity with the security forces working to keep people safe on the ground as well as with all the people of Finland and Prime Minister Juha Sipilä,” he said.

[Map of Finland. Wikimedia/Public Domain]

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Germany sees rise in anti-Muslim attacks

By Ayhan Simsek


BERLIN (AA): Hate crimes against Muslims in Germany rose sharply in the second quarter of this year, reflecting a growing Islamophobia fueled by far-right and populist political parties according to new government figures. However, very few anti-Muslim hate crimes are successfully prosecuted.

At least 16 Muslims were injured in Islamophobic violence between April and June, up from two incidents in the first quarter, the Interior Ministry said.The Government said of the 13 registered crimes that resulted in the 16 injuries, all but one had a far-right motivation, while the other was put down to “religious ideology.”

In the second quarter, the police recorded 192 hate crimes against Muslims, including insults, threats, violence and attacks against mosques.

The German Muslim community organization Millî GörüÅŸ (IGMG) called the figures “frighteningly high, and a “clear alarm signal” to German leaders. â€œLawmakers are urgently called on to take appropriate measures,” IGMG General Secretary Bekir Altaş said in a statement. “Islamophobia must be fought decisively.

The country has witnessed growing Islamophobia and hatred toward migrants in recent years triggered by propaganda from far-right and populist parties which have exploited fears over the refugee crisis and terrorism.

The Left Party warned Friday that Muslims are now facing a more serious threat as far-right groups are not hesitating to use violence.

Left Party lawmaker Martina Renner accused far-right populist movements and parties of encouraging hate crimes with their rhetoric.

“The rise in anti-Muslim crimes is part of a general shift to the right which is being expressed as well as strengthened by the parties like the AfD, she told Anadolu Agency.

The far-right nationalist Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, has adopted explicitly anti-Islamic rhetoric since the European refugee crisis began in 2015, when more than ᗠ,000 mostly Muslim refugees from Syria and Iraq arrived in Germany.

The AfD’s top candidate, Alexander Gauland, told broadcaster DW on Wednesday that œIslam as a cultural, religious entity has no place in Germany.”

The party is currently polling around eight percent in German opinion polls. Parties need to achieve a 5 percent threshold of the vote to enter the Bundestag, or German parliament.

Germany, a country of 81.8 million people, has the second largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France.

Among the country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin. Many of them migrated to Germany in the 1960s.

A study by the Bertelsmann Foundation in 2015 showed that 57 percent of non-Muslim Germans perceived Islam as a threat while 61 percent said Islam was not compatible with Western society.

Leading Muslim organizations in the country say the source of the radicalization of some young Muslims is not Islam itself but sociological problems they face such as discrimination, unemployment or a lack of future prospects.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Archive Photo: Hundreds Pegida supporters hold anti-Islam rally on Theaterplatz Square in Dresden, Germany on 26 October, 2015. Photographer: Emin Avundukluoglu/AA]

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Spain: 13 killed, over 100 injured, in Barcelona terrorist attack

By Cansu Dikme

Anadolu Agency: At least 13 people were killed and more than a hundred injured when a white van ploughed into a crowd in central Barcelona Thursday. Hours after the terrorist attack in Barcelona, five suspected terrorists were shot dead in the resort town of Cambrils after ramming into pedestrians while wearing fake suicide belts.

The driver then rampaged several hundred metres down Las Palmas, zig-zagging through crowds in order to kill as many people as possible.

At the time of the attack, Las Ramblas, a popular street in central Barcelona, with both tourists and locals, was crowded with people. 18 nationalities are amongst victims.

The driver then fled before police cornered two other men in different parts of the city. Both have been arrested.

A second van was seized in the town of Vic, around 40 miles from Barcelona.

The El Mundo newspaper quoting police sources said the police prevented another terrorist attack in Cambrils town of Tarragona, a port province in northeast Spain, hours after the attack in Barcelona.

Four terrorists were killed and four others injured during that police operation that also left several civilians injured.

Another terrorist succumbed to his wounds hours later.

Before the police operation, the terrorists ran over an indeterminate number of civilians, leaving six wounded, two serious.

The El Mundo said, two people, including a man named Driss Oukabir had been arrested in connection with the attack. According to his social media profile he is originally from Marseille, France, and resides in Ripoll, Spain. He allegedly rented the van.

Another daily, the El Pais newspaper said Daesh had claimed responsibility for the crash through its media outlet called AMAQ.

Earlier, the paper cited police sources who confirmed it was a terrorist attack.

Radio Television Espanola said on Twitter that police negotiated with the suspects in a Barcelona bar following the attack.

Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts are with the victims of the â€terrible attack” in Barcelona.

She added: “The UK stands with Spain against terror.”

And Sadie Khan tweeted: “My thoughts are with the victims of this barbaric terrorist attack in the great city of Barcelona and with their brave emergency services.

“London stands with Barcelona against the evil of terrorism.”

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “My thoughts are with everyone affected by the horrific and mindless attack in Barcelona.”

Jeremy Corbyn said: Terrible reports from Barcelona. My thoughts are with those killed and injured, and the emergency services working to save lives.”

Officials later said an explosion in the town of Alcanar last night was linked to todayâ€s attack.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Police officers evacuate people from a shop at Las Ramblas as they take security measures at the area after a van plowed into the crowd, injuring several people in Barcelona, Spain on August 17, 2017. Photographer: Albert Llop/AA]

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Bangladesh: Floods kill 61 in last 5 days

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA): More than 60 people have died in flood and natural disasters in the north and northeast parts of Bangladesh since August 12, an emergency official said Thursday.

Naznin Shamima, officer-in-charge of the Control Room at the Department of Disaster Management told Anadolu Agency that 61 people had died in the last five days, and most of them were children.

“Most of the victims drowned, while the others died of snake bites, lightning strikes and other reasons,” Shamima said.

At least 870,000 families and 3.3 million people and 26 districts have been affected, she added.

Director-General of the Department of Disaster Management Abul Kalam Azad said Wednesday that 1,824 medical teams were working in 21 flood-hit districts of the country.

“There is enough medicine, oral saline solutions, and water purifying tablets in every district,” he told a news conference in Dhaka.


[Archive Photo; Flooding after 1991 cyclone. By Staff Sergeant Val Gempis USAF/Commons/Wikimedia]

August Dz, 2017

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US: Thousands reject hate rally in Charlottesville

By Michael Hernandez


WASHINGTON (AA): In a mass rejection of the hate rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend thousands of candle-holding demonstrators flocked to the city’s University of Virginia Wednesday night.

The campus was enveloped last Friday in the eerie glow of torches held by a mixture of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis as they chanted racist mantras and held up Nazi and confederate symbols.

Shining Crawford, a Ȅ year-old Charlottesville resident was quick to denounce the demonstration, saying she came to the campus Wednesday because “this is our town and it was invaded by white supremacist terrorists”.

“There€™s no place for hate here,” she said.

Wednesday’s protest traced the route the hate rally took last Friday in an effort to “take back the grounds”, said Mike Ludwick, a 47 year-old resident.

“In the end, maybe we’ve been an inspiration for other places around the country,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Last weekend’s mass hate demonstration drew participants from across the country seeking to protest the looming removal of a confederate statue from a city park.

But after one woman was killed and nearly 20 others injured in a car attack on counter-demonstrators, momentum has grown for the symbols to come down nationwide, particularly in the south where they occupy prominent spaces.

The city of Baltimore, Maryland became the latest to remove confederate symbols from public spaces, silently removing all four of its confederate monuments in the early morning hours Wednesday.

Alabamaâ€s largest city of Birmingham has moved to cover a confederate monument in wooden panels after the state legislature passed a law earlier this year to block the removal of confederate structures.

The city’s action prompted the Alabama attorney general to sue the city.

In Lexington, Kentucky, the mayor has planned to remove two confederate monuments from the city™s former courthouse.

Confederate symbols became a focus of activist action after white supremacists Dylann Roof gunned down nine black parishioners in a church in South Carolina, hoping to incite a race war in 2015.

But rather than accomplish his goals, Roof’s mass killings fueled momentum to remove confederate symbols, which he was pictured prominently displaying.

In the time since Roof carried out his grisly crimes, at least 60 monuments have been removed or renamed, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes, said in April.

Roof now sits on death row ahead of his execution by lethal injection.

*Anadolu Agency photographer Samuel Corum contributed to this report

[Photo: Thousands gather with candles to march along the path that White Supremacists took the prior Friday with torches on the University of Virginia Campus in Charlottesville, United States on August 16, 2017. Photographer: Samuel Corum/AA]

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Nigeria: 16 killed, 82 injured in suicide blasts in Borno state

– Death toll may rise further after suicide bombers target car parking lot in northeast Borno state


By Olarewaju Kola

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AA) – At least 16 people were killed and 82 others injured in multiple suspected suicide attacks in northeast Borno state late Tuesday, police said Wednesday.

Police Commissioner Damian Chukwu told reporters three suspected bombers, including two females entered a car parking lot in Konduga town on Tuesday evening and detonated their explosives.

Details of the blasts remained sketchy until Wednesday morning due to lack of communication facilities at Konduga, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) from state capital Maiduguri.

Two female suicide bombers and a male counterpart approached a mini motor park/market at Konduga town.

“They all detonated IEDs [improvised explosive devices] strapped to their bodies, killing themselves and 16 others while about 82 persons were injured,” Chukwu said.

The injured were shifted to a public hospital in Maiduguri.

The death toll may rise further as more bodies are recovered from the blast scene, a hospital official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but similar attacks in the past were said to be carried out by Boko Haram, which is behind most of the violence in the country’s northeast.

Meanwhile, Turkey condemned the latest attack.

“We strongly condemn these attacks targeting innocent people and attempting to destabilize the region,” Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It wished Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives and speedy recovery to the injured.

“We wholeheartedly share the grief of brotherly people of Nigeria, reiterate our support to Nigeria in its fight against terrorism and wish peace soon gets restored in the region,” the statement added.

[Map of Nigeria By Kemal Delikmen/AA]

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Africa’s humanitarian crises worsen

By Addis Getachew


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA): Africa’s humanitarian crises have continued to worsen in 2017, said a report released by the United Nations on Wednesday ahead of the World Humanitarian Day.

“Twenty million Africans have been displaced from their homes and 44 million are acutely food insecure,€ the report stated.

It said the population displacement crisis has reached record levels with over 20 million Africans now officially registered as refugees, internally displaced, or seeking asylum.

Almost 75 percent of the continent’s displaced persons were fromŅ countries; namely the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan — the countries that are experiencing conflicts.

“While global attention has focused on refugees, almost two-thirds of Africa’s dislocated population are internally displaced,” it said.

The number of internally displaced people –12.7 million — represent a 65 percent increase since 2013.

“More than 44 million Africans are estimated to be at a crisis or emergency level of food insecurity. Parts of Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan are at risk of famine,” the report revealed.

It further stated that 51 humanitarian workers have been killed last year in the Central African Republic, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan.

The report listed the top ten countries in terms of population displacement; Sudan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Burundi, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast.

George Arach, UN Economic Commission for Africa’s economic affairs officer, believed the issue should be addressed from the root.

Talking to Anadolu Agency, Arach said that the issue of internal displacement should be addressed by implementing the African governance initiative endorsed by the African Heads of State and Government under the auspices of the African Union.

He said the international community should support regional initiatives such as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to tackle the issue in South Sudan, while governments in Africa should put a check on armament trading.

[Map of Africa. Public Domain]

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US: Trump flip flops to blame both sides for Charlottesville

By Canberk Yuksel


NEW YORK (AA): President Donald Trump said Tuesday “both sides” were to blame for the deadly violence at a hate rally in Virginia.

“What about the alt-left?” he asked a reporter at a news conference in New York that was supposed to be on infrastructure after she described white nationalist protesters as the “alt-right” — a euphemism for the far-right and neo-Nazi extremism.

“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump said, singling out “bad people” who participated in the white nationalist protest and counter-demonstration over the weekend.

The president called the violence “a horrible moment for our country.”

Against the backdrop of ongoing outrage, with members of Trump’s own party demanding that he denounce white hate groups, the president defended his decision to wait two days before releasing a statement condemning the racial violence and hate displayed in Charlottesville.

Calling his statement “excellent”, Trump took a swipe at the media, telling one reporter: “Unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I’d like to know the facts.”

Trump wavered on designating as a terrorist the driver of a car that plowed into crowds protesting the white nationalist rally. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed in the crash, and nearly 20 others were injured.

He said the driver, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., was a “murderer” and a “disgrace to himself, his family and our country.”

Trump argued that everyone who participated in the white nationalist protest was not a racist, and there was blame on protesters and the counter-protesters who stood against the neo-Nazi propaganda.

He said the “left†group “violently attacked the other group, so you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.â€

Asked to comment on how race relations have changed since he became president, Trump said they are œbetter or the same.”

A female college student was arrested Tuesday for her suspected role in toppling a monument to confederate fighters in North Carolina amid growing discontent over confederate symbols in public spaces which were prominent at this weekend’s white supremacist rally.

Takiya Thompson, 22, allegedly tore down the statue in front of government offices in Durham County during a solidarity rally with Charlottesville’s counter-protesters. Her name has also been reported as Taqiyah Thompson.

Widespread protests have erupted across the country since this weekendâ€s white supremacist gathering in Virginia.

*Michael Hernandez contributed to this report from Washington


[Photo: People stage a rally against U.S President Donald J. Trump’s potential repealing of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, during his visit to Trump Tower in New York City, United States on August 15, 2017. Photographer: Mohammed Elshamy/AA]

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Sierra Leone declares mourning for over 400 mudslide victims

By Alpha Kamara


DAKAR, Senegal: Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma on Tuesday declared seven days of mourning in honor of the victims of a devastating mudslide in the country’s capital that has left hundreds dead. 600 people are still missing in Freetown.

As of Tuesday evening, health officials at Sierra Leone’s Connaught Hospital said over 400 corpses had been collected from the rubble as a rescue mission continues.

Sinneh Kamara, assistant officer at the hospital’s mortuary, told Anadolu Agency the facility is overwhelmed.

“As of now, we have collected over 400 corpses. Our facility has been overstretched and more corpses are being brought in. Throughout my entire career, I have never witnessed a grave situation like this,” Kamara said by phone.

According to a statement from Sierra Leone’s government, the national mourning period will take place from August 16-Ƕ to honor the victims of a mudslide early Monday in Freetown following heavy rains and flooding. Flags will also be flown at half-mast. The general public will also observe a minute of silence midday on August DZ.

The victims have also been asked to identify their relatives at the mortuary ahead of a mass burial. Unidentified corpses will also be given a dignified burial, the government said.

Alpha Conde, president of Guinea and head of the African Union, arrived in Freetown late Tuesday to offer his sympathies to the government and people.

Israel has delivered enough food aid for 10,000 meals to Sierra Leone, according to its Foreign Ministry, becoming the first country to respond to the government’s call for support.

“We will work with the Sierra Leone government to provide more medical aid in the coming weeks,” Israel’s Ambassador to West Africa, Paul Hirshson, told Anadolu Agency.

The Commonwealth and the African Union also offered condolences to the people of Sierra Leone and promised to support the country.

[Photo: People remove the wreckage at Regent region of Freetown after landslide struck the capital of the west African state of Sierra Leone on August 15, 2017. Photographer: Stringer/AA]

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