Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Article 370: Kashmir in communication blackout

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  • Kashmir tensions
Army personnel stand guard during restrictions on August 5, 2019 in Jammu, India.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionKashmir is one of the world's most militarised zones
Indian-administered Kashmir remains in a state of lockdown a day after it was stripped of special status that gave it significant autonomy.
Landlines, mobiles and internet, which were cut off on Sunday evening, are yet to be restored even as tens of thousands of troops patrol the streets.
The revocation of special status was expected to trigger widespread protests, but there is no word on how people have reacted to the news.
Local leaders have also been detained.
The BBC's Aamir Peerzada in Srinagar who managed to speak to correspondents in Delhi on Monday said: "No-one knows what is happening in other parts of the state - we can't talk to anyone else. People are concerned - they don't know what is happening, they don't know what is going to happen."
Kashmiris in other parts of the country have said that they are unable to get through to their families and have spoken of their worry and fear. One Delhi-based student told the Indian Express newspaper that he had even tried calling the local police station but to no avail.
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For many Kashmiris, Article 370 - as the law guaranteeing special status was known - was the main justification for being a part of India and by revoking it, the BJP has irrevocably changed Delhi's relationship with the region, writes the BBC's Geeta Pandey.
The article allowed the state a certain amount of autonomy - its own constitution, a separate flag and the freedom to make laws, though foreign affairs, defence and communications remained the preserve of the central government.
As a result, Jammu and Kashmir could make its own rules relating to citizenship, ownership of property and fundamental rights. It could also bar Indians from outside the state from purchasing property or settling there.
The region is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan, but they each control only parts of it.
There is a long-running insurgency on the Indian side, which has led to a large number of civilian casualties.
Army personnel stand guard during restrictions on August 5, 2019 in Jammu, India.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionTourists were asked to cut short their visit and return home
In the days leading up to home minister Amit Shah's parliamentary announcement that Article 370 had been revoked, tensions were rife in the valley as tens of thousands of additional troops were deployed to what is already one of the world's most militarised zones.
Tourists were asked to leave, and Hindu pilgrims making an annual religious trek were also asked to return to their homes. Schools and colleges were shut down. No indication was given about what was being planned.
Assuming the worst, concerned locals stockpiled food for months, our correspondents in the region said.
In anticipation of the communication blackout that was to come, police personnel were issued satellite phones.
Sunday night's arrest of two former chief ministers was accompanied with all communications being blocked. Since then, the region has been in a virtual blackout with no information coming out.
But additional troops have been deployed following Mr Shah's announcement.
There has been no indication of when communications will be restored although local news reports said that people were being allowed to enter the region.

Obama urges Americans to reject leaders who stoke hatred

Former US President Barack Obama speaks to young leaders from across Europe on April 6, 2019 in Berlin

Image captionBarack Obama tried unsuccessfully to tighten gun controls in the US

Former US President Barack Obama has called on Americans to reject language from any of their leaders that feeds hatred or normalises racism.
Mr Obama did not name anyone but his rare comments came after President Donald Trump sought to deflect criticism that his anti-immigrant rhetoric had fuelled violence.
In a speech on Monday, Mr Trump condemned hatred and white supremacy.
He was speaking after 31 people died in mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.
While in office, Mr Obama fought unsuccessfully to restrict gun ownership. He told the BBC in 2015 that his failure to pass "common sense gun safety laws" had been the greatest frustration of his presidency.
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  • Does Trump's plan to end gun violence make sense?
He has refrained from commenting on Mr Trump's controversial rhetoric regarding migrants but on Monday issued a statement.
"We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalises racist sentiments; leaders who demonise those who don't look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people," he said.

Media captionMr Obama told the BBC that gun control was his biggest frustration

"It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it's time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much - clearly and unequivocally."
During his presidential campaign Mr Trump said Mexican immigrants included drug dealers, criminals and rapists.
More recently, he caused widespread anger by suggesting that four US congresswomen of colour "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came". He denied his comments were racist.

Media captionEl Paso victim's father says he 'forgives' his son's killer

What did President Trump say?

In a statement from the White House on Monday, Mr Trump called for mental health gun control reforms; the death penalty for those who commit mass murder and more bi-partisan co-operation over gun laws.
"Mental illness and hate pull the trigger, not the gun," Mr Trump said.
He did not express support for gun control measures proposed in Congress.
"In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy," Mr Trump said. "These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America."
The president also outlined a number of policies, including more co-operation between government agencies and social media companies, changes to mental health laws as well as ending the "glorification of violence" in American culture.

Media caption"Mental illness pulls the trigger, not guns" - Trump's five solutions to combat mass shootings.

He called for red flag laws that would allow law enforcement authorities to take away weapons from individuals believed to be a threat to themselves or others.
Mr Trump said government agencies must work together and identify individuals who may commit violent acts, prevent their access to firearms and also suggested involuntary confinement as a way to stop potential attackers.
He also said he directed the justice department to propose legislation to ensure those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty.
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The president criticised the internet and "gruesome" video games for promoting violence in society.
"It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence," he said. "We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately."
But he did not address the criticisms of his own harsh rhetoric against illegal immigration, which opponents say has contributed to a rise in racially-motivated attacks.
Mr Trump drew criticism after he incorrectly referred to the Ohio city of Dayton - where nine people were killed in one of two mass shootings that occurred just 13 hours apart - as Toledo.
"May God bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo, may God protect them. May God protect all of those from Texas to Ohio," he said before walking off stage.

People hold a vigil to remember victims of the mass shootings at Dayton and El Paso, at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York, August 5, 201Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionA vigil for the victims was held in Brooklyn, New York, on Monday

President Trump will visit El Paso on Wednesday.

What happened in Texas and Ohio?

Saturday's shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, left 22 people dead and 26 wounded.
The suspect was arrested and has been named as Patrick Crusius, a resident of the city of Allen, near Dallas. He is believed to be the author of a document posted online before the shooting which said the attack was "a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas".
Then in the early hours of Sunday, a gunman killed his sister and eight others in Dayton, Ohio. Twenty-seven others were injured.
The suspect, 24-year-old Connor Betts, was shot dead by police. Officials have not yet suggested a motive for the attack and police said on Monday it was unclear whether he had intended to kill his sister.

Media caption'My heart hurts on every level'

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Monday, August 5, 2019

US mass shootings: Trump condemns deadly attacks

US mass shootings: Trump condemns deadly attacks amid criticism

Media captionDonald Trump spoke to reporters before boarding Air Force One

President Donald Trump has said "hate has no place" in the US after 29 people were killed in two mass shootings over the weekend, amid accusations that he bears some responsibility.
An attack on a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas left 20 dead, while nine died in a shooting in Dayton, Ohio.
Mr Trump said "perhaps more has to be done" to stop such attacks.
But critics said he was part of the problem, citing his anti-immigrant rhetoric and opposition to gun control.
A 21-year-old white man arrested over Saturday's shooting in Texas is believed to have posted an online document calling the attack a response to "the Hispanic invasion" of the state.
The motives of the Ohio gunman, who killed his sister and eight others on Sunday before being shot dead by police, are unclear.
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Speaking to reporters, Mr Trump said mass shootings needed to be stopped.
"This has been going on for years, for years and years in our country and we have to get it stopped," he said.
He went on to link both attacks to a "mental illness problem", saying the gunmen were "very, very seriously mentally ill".
Investigators have not made any comments about the mental state of the two gunmen.
Texas prosecutors say the El Paso shooting is being treated as "a domestic terrorist case" and they are "seriously considering" hate crime charges.

What happened in El Paso?

A sign is posted near the scene of the mass shooting at El Paso, which reads: "We are resilient, we are strong, we are El Paso, we stand together."Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionA sign in support of El Paso, near the scene of the shooting

The gunman opened fire on a crowded Walmart on Saturday with an assault-style rifle, and surrendered after being confronted by police officers outside the store.
The mass shooting, believed to be the eighth deadliest in modern US history, took place in a city where most of the population of 680,000 is of Hispanic descent.
In addition to the 20 fatalities, 26 people were injured in the shooting.

Media captionA soldier and a baseball coach recall how they tried to save children from the El Paso shooting
CCTV footage said to be of El Paso gunmanImage copyrightAFP
Image captionFootage of the gunman was filmed by security cameras

The Walmart, near the Cielo Vista Mall, was full of shoppers buying back-to-school supplies at the time of the shooting, and witnesses described scenes of chaos as customers fled for their lives.
Security camera images of the attacker show an armed man in a dark T-shirt wearing eye glasses and what appear to be ear protectors.
The victims have not yet been named by police, but Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said six Mexican nationals were among the dead and seven others were injured.

Media captionPolice were filmed responding to the shootings

The suspect has been named by US media as Patrick Crusius, a resident of the city of Allen, in the Dallas area, about 650 miles (1,046km) east of El Paso.
He has been charged with capital murder, meaning he could face the death penalty.
He is believed to be the author of a text posted on 8chan, an online message board frequently used by the far right, which says "this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas" and talks about "cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by invasion".
The four-page document, reportedly posted some 20 minutes before police received the first emergency call from the Walmart, also expresses support for the gunman who killed 51 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.
US cyber security firm Cloudflare said it would terminate 8chan as a customer following the attack.
"The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths," Cloudflare chief executive officer Matthew Prince wrote in a blog post.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the attorney general was considering litigation claiming that terrorism was committed against Mexicans in the shooting. Such an action could lead to the extradition of the gunman, he said.
"For Mexico, this individual is a terrorist," he told reporters.

A map shows the location of the shooting

What happened in Dayton?

Connor Betts, 24, opened fire in a popular nightlife district in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Security camera footage shows dozens of people racing through the doorway of the local Ned Peppers nightclub.
Seconds later, the gunman is seen running towards the venue and being hit by police gunfire as he reaches the door.
Police said he had worn body armour and came carrying extra ammunition for his .223-calibre assault rifle with high-capacity magazines.

Media caption
CCTV footage captures moment of Dayton shooting

"Had this individual made it through the doorway of Ned Peppers with that level of weaponry, there would have been catastrophic injury and loss of life," said Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl.
Officials said it was too early to speculate about motives for the attack.
But responding to questions about a possible racial element to the killings, Mr Biehl said there was nothing to suggest a "bias motive".

Media caption
Dayton shooting witness: "As you came outside, you saw the bodies"

Police said the rifle was ordered online from Texas and there was nothing in the gunman's history that would have stopped him from buying the gun legally.
His sister Megan was among the dead.
Police listed all nine of those who died. They were:
  • Lois Oglesby, black female, 27
  • Megan Betts, white female, 22
  • Saeed Saleh, black male, 38
  • Derrick Fudge, black male, 57
  • Logan Turner, white male, 30
  • Nicholas Cummer, white male, 25
  • Thomas McNichols, black male, 25
  • Beatrice Warren Curtice, black female, 36
  • Monica Brickhouse, black female, 39
Twenty-seven people were injured in the attack.

A map shows Ned Peppers Bar in Dayton, Ohio
Presentational white space

What has the reaction been?

The shootings have given renewed momentum to gun control debate and put fresh scrutiny on the president's rhetoric.
"He's an open avowed racist and is encouraging more racism in this country," Democratic presidential candidate and El Paso native Beto O'Rourke told CNN.
"Our president isn't just failing to confront and disarm these domestic terrorists, he is amplifying and condoning their hate," tweeted fellow Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg.
Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders said Mr Trump's language "creates a climate which emboldens violent extremists."
But acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney rejected the Democrats' allegations and attributed the attacks to "sick" individuals.
"There's no benefit here in trying to make this a political issue, this is a social issue and we need to address it as that," he told ABC.

Media caption
After the Las Vegas attack in October 2017 the BBC looked at how US mass shootings are getting worse

Mr Trump, who has made curbing illegal immigration one of the key points of his presidency, has previously made derogatory comments about Mexican migrants and has called large groups of migrants trying to reach the US an "invasion".
In recent weeks, Mr Trump has been accused of racism after his attacks on members of Congress who are members of racial or ethnic minorities.
In 2017, the president said he would "never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms".

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