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CHARLOTTE: Streets appeared calm early yesterday in downtown Charlotte after a second night of violent protests over the deadly police shooting of a black man, although at least three major businesses were asking their employees to stay home for the day as the city remained on edge.

Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Duke Energy all told employees not to venture into North Carolina’s largest city after Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency Wednesday night and called in the National Guard after Charlotte’s police chief said he needed the help.

Anger has continued to build over the shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott by a black police officer on Tuesday afternoon and the wildly different accounts about what happened from authorities and Scott’s family and neighbors.

A peaceful prayer vigil turned into an angry march and then a night of violence after a protester was shot and critically wounded as people charged police in riot gear trying to protect an upscale hotel in Charlotte’s typically vibrant downtown. Police did not shoot the man, city officials said.

Video obtained and verified by The Associated Press, which was recorded right after the shooting, shows someone lying in a pool of blood as people scream and a voice yells for someone to call for help. People are then told to back up from the scene.

The unrest took many by surprise in Charlotte, the banking capital of the South with a population of 830,000 people, about 35 percent of them black. The city managed to pull through a racially charged shooting three years ago without the unrest that erupted in recent years in places such as Baltimore, Milwaukee and Ferguson, Missouri.

2013 charges
In 2013, Charlotte police charged one of their own, Randall Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter within days, after the white officer shot an unarmed black man who had been in a wreck and was looking for help. The jury deadlocked and the charge was dropped last summer. The city saw a few protests but no violence.

On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters who were shouting “black lives matter” and “hands up, don’t shoot” left after police fired flash grenades and tear gas after the shooting. But several groups of a dozen or more protesters stayed behind, attacking people, including reporters, shattering windows to hotels, office buildings and restaurants and setting small fires.

At one point, television news helicopters showed protesters on the loop highway around downtown, trying to stop cars for several minutes before police arrived.

“My heart bleeds for what our great city is going through,” McCrory said on WBTV-TV. He was mayor of Charlotte for 14 years before becoming governor.

Authorities said three people and four police officers were injured, but those figures had not been updated early Thursday morning. Videos and pictures on Twitter showed reporters and other people being attacked.

The violence happened amid questions about what happened when Scott was shot and killed in the parking lot of his condominium complex. Police did not release dashboard or body camera footage, but said Scott had a gun and refused several orders to drop his weapon. Scott’s family and neighbors said he was holding a book.

“He got out of his car, he walked back to comply, and all his compliance did was get him murdered,” said Taheshia Williams, whose balcony overlooks the shady parking spot where Scott was Tuesday afternoon. She said he often waited there for his son because a bicycle accident several years ago left him stuttering and susceptible to seizures if he stayed out in the hot sun too long.

Police Chief
Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney was angered by the stories on social media, especially a profanity-laced, hourlong video on Facebook, where a woman identifying herself as Scott’s daughter screamed “My daddy is dead!” at officers at the shooting scene and repeating that he was only holding a book.

Putney was adamant that Scott posed a threat, even if he didn’t point his weapon at officers, and said a gun was found next to the dead man. “I can tell you we did not find a book,” the chief said.

Not long after the Facebook video was posted Tuesday night, the first night of destructive protests began near the shooting scene, about 15 miles northeast of downtown Charlotte. Dozens of demonstrators threw rocks at police and reporters, damaged squad cars, closed part of Interstate 85, and looted a stopped truck and set a fire. Authorities used tear gas to break up the protests.

The distrust of police continued after Wednesday’s shooting of the protester. Many demonstrators did not believe city officials’ assertion that officers did not shot the protester.

“We protesting. Why the hell would we target each other?” Dino Davis said. “They say it was the tear gas, and it looked like one the tear gas exploded. But I think it was a rubber bullet because some of those rubber bullets can penetrate.”

Police said the plainsclothes officer who shot Scott, identified as Brently Vinson, has been placed on leave, standard procedure in such cases. Three uniformed officers at the shooting scene had body cameras; Vinson did not, police said.

Calls for police to release the video increased. North Carolina has a law that takes effect Oct. 1 requiring a judge to approve releasing police video, and Putney said he doesn’t release video when a criminal investigation is ongoing.

But that video may be the only thing that calms Charlotte, said John Barnett, who runs a civil rights group called True Healing Under God, or THUG.

“Just telling us this is still under investigation is not good enough for the windows of the Wal-Mart,” he said. On Wednesday, wooden pallets barricaded the entrance to a Wal-Mart near the protest site that had apparently been looted.-AP

 

BEIJING: Police have ordered some low-end hotels in the Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou not to allow guests from five Muslim-majority countries to stay, though China’s foreign ministry said it had never heard of the policy.

Three hotels with rooms costing about $23 a night said they had received police notices as early as March, telling them to turn away people from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan.

“I’m not clear about the reason. We just can’t take them,” one hotel worker said by telephone.


‘Pakistan among countries on the list’


The notice appears only to apply to chea­per hotels at the bottom of the price scale.

All of the five countries have been beset by terrorist attacks in the past few years, or in the case of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been in states of war.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post said on Friday the rule appeared to be a security measure coinciding with a development forum being held in Guangzhou this week, and also ahead of next week’s G20 summit in Hangzhou, though the two cities are more than 1,000km apart.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was not aware that such an order had been issued in Guangzhou. “I’ve never heard that there is this policy being followed in China,” Lu told a daily news briefing.

“Moreover, as far as China is concerned, our policy in principle is that we encourage people from China and other countries to have friendly exchanges and are willing to provide various convenient policies in this regard.”

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2016

DOHA: Qatar’s government will levy a new airport tax on passengers from Tuesday as the country seeks new revenue streams amid falling oil prices. Every passenger leaving Qatar from Doha’s Hamad International Airport, including transit passengers, will be charged 35 riyals ($9.61) for using airport facilities, according to a statement by the airport.

The charge will apply to tickets issued after Aug 30 and for any travel starting on Dec 1 onwards and would be used to “further increase the airport’s capacity and invest in new infrastructure”, the statement said. Children under two years old without a seat will be exempted.

Airport fees, while common elsewhere in the world, have until recently been avoided by Gulf states as they seek to gain a competitive advantage for business and become regional hubs. Some 1.33 million passengers travelled through Hamad International Airport in June. Airports in the United Arab Emirates announced similar taxes earlier this year. Interest rates are rising in the Gulf as low oil prices pressure governments’ finances, so Qatar has been looking at ways other than borrowing to fund its projects, including raising local gasoline prices.

Qatar has said it expects to post a deficit of 46.5 billion riyals ($12.8 billion) in 2016, its first in 15 years, and to run a deficit for at least three years as low natural gas and oil prices weigh on its revenues as it prepares to host the soccer World Cup in 2022. – Agencies

AMMAN: The US will reach its target this week of taking in 10,000 Syrian war refugees in a year-old resettlement program, the US ambassador to Jordan said yesterday, after meeting families headed to California and Virginia. The resettlement program has emerged as an issue in the US presidential campaign, with Republican nominee Donald Trump alleging displaced Syrians pose a potential security threat. Alice Wells, the US ambassador to Jordan, said yesterday that keeping Americans safe and taking in some of the world’s most vulnerable people are not mutually exclusive.

“Refugees are the most thoroughly screened category of travelers to the United States, and Syrian refugees are subject to even greater scrutiny,” she said. Wells said the target of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees in the US in the 2016 fiscal year will be reached Monday, as several hundred Syrians depart from Jordan over 24 hours. The Jouriyeh family, which attended Sunday’s short ceremony, is headed to San Diego, California. Nadim Fawzi Jouriyeh, 49, a former construction worker from the war-ravaged Syrian city of Homs, said he feels “fear and joy, fear of the unknown and our new lives, but great joy for our children’s lives and future.”

Jouriyeh, who suffers from heart problems, will be traveling with his wife, Rajaa, 42, and their four children. Their oldest son, 14-year-old Mohammed, said he is eager to sign up for school in San Diego and hopes to study medicine one day. The resettlement program focuses on the most vulnerable refugees, including those who were subjected to violence or torture or are sick. Close to 5 million Syrians have fled civil war since 2011. Most struggle to survive in tough conditions in neighboring countries, including Jordan, which hosts close to 660,000 Syrian refugees.

Only a small percentage of Syrian refugees have been resettled to third countries. Instead, donor countries are trying to invest more in job creation and education for refugees in regional host countries to encourage them to stay there instead of moving onward, including to Europe. Wells said the US has taken in more refugees from around the world over the years than all other nations combined. – AP

 

source: Kuwait Times

 

 

WASHINGTON: The father of a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq posed a question to Donald Trump: Have you read the Constitution?

To rapturous cheers, Pakistan-born Khizr Khan fiercely attacked the billionaire businessman Thursday at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, saying that if it was up to Trump, his son never would have been American or served in the military.

Khan said that Hillary Clinton, by contrast, "called my son the best of America".

The address was the latest effort by Democrats to highlight their diversity and criticise Trump's most contentious plans. Beyond his proposed wall across Mexico, the billionaire businessman has threatened to ban Muslims from entering the United States if he becomes president.

Capt. Humayun Khan died in 2004 when a car loaded with explosives blew up at his compound. He was 27.

Honouring his son, Khizr Khan pulled a copy of the Constitution out of his suit pocket and offered to lend it to Trump.

“Look for the words 'liberty' and 'equal protection of law', he said standing next to his wife, waving the paperback document vigorously.

"Have you ever been to Arlington cemetery?” he then asked. “Go look at the graves of brave Americans who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing.“

Khan, who moved to the US in 1980, said he and his wife were "patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country."

“Like many immigrants, we came to this country empty handed,” he said, believing that with hard work he could raise his three sons "in a nation where they were free to be themselves and follow their dreams".

Trump, Khan argued, was imperilling that ideal with his smears of Muslims, women, judges and other groups. He urged Muslims, immigrants and all patriots to “to not take this election lightly“.

“Vote for the healer,” Khan said, "not the divider".

TOKYO: Eiko Ishiyama, a Japanese-Kuwaiti woman, has fulfilled one of her goals by raising the Kuwaiti flag on Mt Fuji, Japan’s highest and most iconic mountain. “It was a tough journey because the weather got colder the higher I climbed.”

Ishiyama, who conquered the 3,776-meter peak last week, said yesterday. Living in Kuwait, Ishiyama teaches Japanese to Kuwaiti students, including in Japanese language courses at Kuwait University’s (KU) Center for Community Service and Continuing Education.

“One of my former Kuwaiti students tried to raise the Kuwaiti flag at the summit of Mt. Fuji a few years ago, but he did not make it to the top. Ever since then, I was inspired to take the Kuwaiti flag to the top myself, and I set it as one of my personal goals for 2016,” said Ishiyama.

She suffered from elevation sickness at the 8th station of the trail, where she was forced to stop and rest. But with remembering the dream of her Kuwaiti student, who could not continue beyond the 9th station, which was only one station away from the peak, Ishiyama stayed motivated to move up.

“I was worried that I could not achieve the same goal either. But after resting, I pushed myself to hike up to the summit while it was still dark.” Ishiyama reached the top just in time to see the sunrise, which she described that the view was absolutely stunning and very rewarding. “I recommend this experience to everyone. It is never too late and you are never too old to fulfill your goals,” she added. Located about 100 kilometer southwest of Tokyo, Mt Fuji has long been a symbol of Japan. It was added to the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site in 2013. – KUNA

 

MUNICH: Gunmen went on a shooting rampage in a shopping mall in the southern German city of Munich yesterday, killing and wounding many people, police said. Authorities were evacuating people from the Olympia mall but many others were hiding inside. The Bavarian Interior Ministry said three people were dead, NTV television reported. A Munich police spokeswoman said multiple people were killed or wounded. “We believe we are dealing with a shooting rampage,” the spokeswoman said.

More than one gunman was believed to be involved and no one had been arrested, she said. “We believe there was more than one perpetrator. The first reports came at 6 pm, the shooting apparently began at a McDonald’s in the shopping center. There are still people in the shopping center. We are trying to get the people out and take care of them.” Police special forces had arrived at the scene, NTV said. It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack, which took place a week after an axe-wielding teenager went on a rampage on a German train. Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack.

The Bild newspaper reported that a gunman ran through the mall near the Munich Olympic stadium, firing on several people before fleeing in the direction of a nearby metro station. Staff in the mall were still in hiding, an employee told Reuters by telephone. “Many shots were fired, I can’t say how many but it’s been a lot,” the employee, who declined to be identified, said from the mall in Munich. “All the people from outside came streaming into the store and I only saw one person on the ground who was so severely injured that he definitely didn’t survive. We have no further information, we’re just staying in the back in the storage rooms. No police have approached us yet.” Munich transport authorities said they had halted several bus, train and tram lines. – Agencies

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