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Found 17 results

  1. Police in Guatemala arrested a ruling party lawmaker Saturday for involvement in plotting a 2015 killing of journalists. Julio Juarez, of the FCN-Nacion party, was arrested near his home in San Bernardino, Suchitepequez, south of the capital. He is suspected of having masterminded the killings, a spokeswoman for prosecutors said. In December, the 37-year-old lawmaker made a US list of alleged human rights abusers and people engaging in corruption around the world. The two killings took place March 10, 2015 in Mazatenango. Prosecutors with a UN agency already had linked him to the crime last year. "I have not done anything. And all this will be cleared up," Juarez told local media. About 6,000 people are killed each year in Guatemala, with about half the crimes linked to drug trafficking and gangs.
  2. Kentucky state representative Dan Johnson/File photo Kentucky state representative Dan Johnson, who was facing sexual assault accusations, died in a probable suicide on Wednesday, Bullitt County Coroner Dave Billings said. Johnson, 57, also the leader of the Louisville-area Heart of Fire Church, held a news conference on Tuesday at which he denied accusations contained in a report by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. The report, published earlier in the week, included accusations from a woman that Johnson molested her in 2013 when she was a teenager. Johnson, whose press conference was widely reported by local media, also defied calls by some legislators to step down. On Wednesday evening, Johnson was found dead in a probable suicide from a single gunshot wound near Louisville, the coroner said, adding that an autopsy would be performed on Thursday. Billings said law enforcement officials had been searching for Johnson after someone read a post on his Facebook page, became concerned and contacted police. The post has since been taken down, but the Courier-Journal reported that it appeared to be a farewell and read in part, ?the accusations from NPR are false, GOD and only GOD knows the truth. Nothing is the way they make it out to be.? The death comes amid a national reckoning over sexual harassment and abuse that has included allegations of misconduct in a number of state legislatures, including in Kentucky. Kentucky Republican Jeff Hoover recently resigned his post as Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations. ?Saddened to hear of tonight?s death of KY Representative Dan Johnson,? Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin wrote on Twitter. ?My heart breaks for his family tonight...these are heavy days in Frankfort and in America...may God indeed shed His grace on us all...we sure need it.? Actress Salma Hayek details harrowing ordeal by 'monster' Weinstein Michael Skoler, President of Louisville Public Media, which operates the investigative reporting center, said in a statement on social media that the organization reached out to Johnson numerous times during its seven-month investigation but that he declined to discuss the group?s findings. Johnson was elected in 2016 despite becoming known for a 2016 Facebook post comparing President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama to monkeys, WDRB-TV has reported.
  3. NICE: Russian businessman and lawmaker Suleiman Kerimov was arrested by French police at Nice airport on Monday evening in connection with a tax evasion case, an official at the French prosecutor?s office said on Tuesday. Kerimov is ranked by Forbes magazine as Russia?s 21st wealthiest businessman, with a net worth of $6.3 billion. His family controls Russia?s largest gold producer Polyus. ?He is being held for questioning in a case related to laundering of tax fraud proceeds,? the official said. Representatives for Kerimov could not immediately be reached for comment. Polyus declined to comment. A source said the investigation centers on the purchase of several luxury residences on the French Riviera via shell companies, something that would have enabled Kerimov to reduce taxes owed to the French state. The source added Kerimov would be held in custody for at least another 24 hours. Russia?s foreign ministry said in a statement carried by Interfax news agency that Kerimov held a diplomatic passport and had immunity. It said it had informed the French authorities. ?Kerimov does have a diplomatic passport, but that does not protect him from prosecution,? the French official said. The French foreign ministry could not immediately confirm it had been in contact with Moscow. A French diplomatic source said immunity was given by governments to people on diplomatic lists or if they had been mandated with a specific mission in the country. Reporting by Matthias Galante in Nice, Sophie Louet in Paris and Denis Pinchuk in Moscow; Additional reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Michel Rose and John Irish; Editing by Robin Pomeroy
  4. Powerful Democratic lawmaker John Conyers, the longest-serving US congressman, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint after a former staffer said she was sacked because she would ?not succumb to (his) sexual advances. Photo: AFP file WASHINGTON: Powerful Democratic lawmaker John Conyers, the longest-serving US congressman, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint after a former staffer said she was sacked because she would ?not succumb to (his) sexual advances,? according to BuzzFeed News. The 88-year-old representative from Detroit, a prominent civil rights activist, is the latest public figure to be accused of sexual harassment in an ever-widening scandal following the downfall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein last month. In addition to the 2015 settlement worth just over $27,000, BuzzFeed said it had also obtained notarized affidavits from other staff members accusing Conyers of making repeated sexual advances, caressing their hands and rubbing their legs and backs in public. The employee who was fired said on one occasion, the congressman asked her to work from his hotel room and began talking about his sexual desire, urging her to touch his *****. Conyers did not admit liability as part of his settlement, which came about as part of a process that BuzzFeed described as secretive and designed to make victims feel they had no choice but to accept what was on offer. His office has not responded to confirm or deny the settlement to AFP. Two other staffers meanwhile alleged in their 2014 testimony that Conyers used congressional resources to fly in women they believed he was having affairs with. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a Republican, described the report as ?extremely troubling,? adding that a process was underway to reform the way Congress deals with such cases. Conyers is the most senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and would be in line to head it if his party gains a majority in next year?s elections. US politics has recently been hit by several sexual misconduct scandals ? Democratic Senator Al Franken stands accused of groping by two women and could face an ethics committee, while Republican senate candidate Roy Moore is reported to have preyed on teenage girls when he was in his thirties. Last week two female lawmakers from the House of Representatives said they knew of two male colleagues who engaged in harassment on the Hill. And on Monday, Democratic congresswoman Diana DeGette told MSNBC that former representative Bob Filner attempted to pin her against the wall of an elevator and kiss her several years ago.
  5. British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday called for tougher rules governing MPs? conduct after a government minister was accused of asking his secretary to buy *** toys. Photo: AFP file LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday called for tougher rules governing MPs? conduct after a government minister was accused of asking his secretary to buy *** toys. Expressing her concern in a letter to the House of Commons speaker ? a lawmaker who acts as its impartial chief officer ? May said current disciplinary procedures lack "the required teeth". "I do not believe that this situation can be tolerated any longer. It is simply not fair on staff, many of whom are young and in their first job post-education," she wrote. The premier?s letter was prompted by allegations against Mark Garnier by his former secretary in The Mail on Sunday. Caroline Edmondson told the newspaper that the Conservative party lawmaker gave her money to buy two vibrators from a London *** store in 2010. The paper also reported that Edmondson, who now works for another lawmaker, said Garnier also described her in lewd terms on one occasion, in front of witnesses. The Cabinet Office ? responsible for ensuring effective government ? will investigate if Garnier?s behaviour violated ministerial codes of conduct, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Sunday. "These stories, if they are true, are obviously totally unacceptable," Hunt told a BBC political programme. The prime minister went further, saying the current suggested disciplinary procedure for MPs needed to be overhauled to make it contractually binding for lawmakers. "I would be grateful if you would be able to use your office to assist me in doing all we can to ensure that the reputation of Parliament is not damaged further by allegations of impropriety," May said in her letter. Garnier, a minister for international trade, could not be reached by AFP for comment on Sunday but has admitted the accusations, according to the paper, calling the *** toys purchase "high jinks". A Cabinet Office spokeswoman confirmed the investigation into Garnier ? a married father of three ? but declined to comment further. Garnier is the most senior of several British politicians named in media reports at the weekend accused of inappropriate behaviour or sexual harassment. They are in the spotlight following the avalanche of harassment and rape allegations against disgraced Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Former Conservative party cabinet minister Stephen Crabb, a devout Christian, apologised on Saturday after a newspaper investigation found he had sent sexually explicit messages to a young female job applicant. On Friday Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, called for an end to the "warped and degrading culture" at Westminster. "The problem doesn?t stop with those who make unwanted advances on women, it extends to a culture that has tolerated abuse for far too long," he said.
  6. QUETTA: Underage prisoners are routinely sexually abused by older prisoners in jails in Balochistan, said Jamiat- Ulema Islam MPA Sardar Abdur Rehman during an assembly session. The lawmaker said that older prisoners who have been in the jails for a considerable period of time and enjoy influence subject young and vulnerable prisoners to sexual abuse. The children are in not a position to resist the abuse and a number of them often come out of jails as victims of abuse and drug addicts, Rehman said. The speaker of the Balochistan Assembly has directed the home ministry to present a report on the matter in the next session. Despite a law criminalising child sexual abuse, various reports keep surfacing about young children and teenagers being subjected to *** crimes. The country was hit by a major child abuse scandal in 2015 when a massive child abuse and extortion scandal in Hussain Khanwala village of Kasur district came to light. Initial investigation into the scandal, termed the biggest in the country's history, revealed that around 400 videos were made of 280 victims over the last 10 years by an organised gang of over 25 criminals in Hussain Khanwala village.
  7. US President Donald Trump told the widow of a soldier killed during an ambush in Niger "he knew what he was signing up for," according to a lawmaker who accused him of insensitivity. Photo: AFP file WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump told the widow of a soldier killed during an ambush in Niger "he knew what he was signing up for," according to a lawmaker who accused him of insensitivity. Frederica Wilson, a Democratic congresswoman from Florida, said she listened in to part of a group phone call between the president and the grieving family of Sergeant La David Johnson. "I didn´t hear the whole phone call, but I did hear him say, 'I'm sure he knew what he was signing up for, but it still hurts,'" she told CNN. Trump denied making the comments, tweeting Wednesday: "Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!" Johnson was among four US soldiers killed earlier this month in Niger, where Daesh fighters have established a presence. The Miami native´s body was returned home Tuesday afternoon, according to the Miami Herald. He is survived by his wife Myeshia Johnson, who is pregnant with the couple´s third child. After the phone call, Myeshia "was crying, she broke down. And she said ´he didn´t even know his name,´" added Wilson, referring to Trump. Trump had faced criticism for not contacting the families of the soldiers killed in Niger right away. At a press briefing on Monday, he said he had written them letters and would call soon while accusing his predecessor Barack Obama of neglecting to call as many grieving families as himself. He also suggested on a call to Fox News radio Tuesday that Obama had not made a condolence call to retired Marine general John Kelly, Trump´s White House chief of staff after his son was killed in action in Afghanistan. The statements sparked outrage from former Obama aides, who said Trump´s claims were baseless.
  8. After Taj Mahal was excluded from a tourism book of Uttar Pradesh, row has started between politicians over the historical significance of the mausoleum, with some cherishing its glory while others irked by its fame. , according to Indian media. A lawmaker of Bharatiya Janata Party, Sangeet Som, has said the monument was ?built by traitors and is a blot on Indian culture?. Som believes India's history should be rewritten to erase Mughal emperors. "What history are we talking about? The man who built Taj Mahal imprisoned his father. He wanted to massacre Hindus. If this is history, then it is very unfortunate and we will change this history, I guarantee you," Som said while addressing a public meeting in Meerut on Sunday. Earlier, an Indian politician who is notorious for his inflammatory speeches, Yogi Adityanath, had said Taj Mahal does not represent Indian culture. Adityanath is the incumbent chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and it is under his rule that the new tourism booklet ? sans Taj Mahal?s mention ? has been released. However, in an attempt to tackle the controversy, Adityanath said on Tuesday that Taj Mahal was built ?by the blood and sweat of Indians?. "It does not matter who built it and for what reason; it was made by the sons of Bharat Mata,? he said while talking to reporters in Gorakhpur. ?It was built by the blood and sweat of Indian labourers. I don't want to go into the depth of who built the Taj and why they made it."
  9. SEOUL: North Korean hackers stole a large amount of classified military documents, including South Korea-US wartime operational plans to wipe out the North Korean leadership, a South Korean ruling party lawmaker said on Wednesday. Democratic Party representative Rhee Cheol-hee said in radio appearances on Wednesday that 235 gigabytes of military documents were taken from the Defense Integrated Data Center in September last year, citing information from unnamed South Korean defence officials. This May an investigative team inside the defence ministry announced the hack had been carried out by North Korea but did not disclose what kind of information had been taken. Pyongyang has denied responsibility for the cyberattacks in its state media, criticizing Seoul for ?fabricating? claims about online attacks. Rhee, currently a member of the National Assembly?s committee for national defence, said about 80 percent of the hacked data has not yet been identified, but that none of the information was expected to have compromised the South Korean military as it was not top classified intelligence. Some of the hacked data addressed how to identify movements of members of the North Korean leadership, how to seal off their hiding locations, attack from the air before eliminating them, the lawmaker had said. These plans had likely not been classified properly but defence ministry officials told Rhee the hacked documents were not of top importance, he said. Rhee said on Wednesday the hack had been made possible via ?a simple mistake? after a connector jack linking the military?s intranet to the internet had not been eliminated after maintenance work had been done on the system. The South Korean Defence Ministry?s official stance is that they cannot confirm anything the lawmaker said in terms of the hacked content due to the sensitivity of the matter. In Washington, the Pentagon said it was aware of the media reports but would not comment on the potential breach. ?Although I will not comment on intelligence matters or specific incidents related to cyber intrusion, I can assure you that we are confident in the security of our operations plans and our ability to deal with any threat from North Korea,? Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning told reporters.
  10. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the Second Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang October 8, 2017. Photo: Reuters File MOSCOW: North Korea?s leadership has told Russian lawmakers that it possesses a ballistic missile with a range of 3,000 kilometres (1864.11 miles) that will be able to reach US territory after modernisation, the Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday. Interfax cited Anton Morozov, a lawmaker and member of the lower house of parliament?s international affairs committee, who visited Pyongyang from October 2-6. North Korea aims to increase the range of its ballistic missiles to 9,000 kilometres (5592.34 miles), Morozov was quoted as saying. ?There was no talk about the deadline (for solving this task),? he said.
  11. Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Tariq Masood Arain. Photo: File KARACHI: Police have registered a case against Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Tariq Masood Arain and his 12 armed guards over charges of attempted murder, SSP South said on Wednesday. According to the registered first information report (FIR), the provincial lawmaker's guards allegedly assaulted the security squad of Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Shahid Baig Mirza's family in Defence. The FIR, registered on a complaint of Havaldaar Fahimullah Jan with Darakhshan police, said that four men in a car tried to obstruct the protocol of the corps commander's family near Saba Avenue, upon which the personnel instructed them to stop in view of checking their vehicle. Jan alleged that two of the four men, Moon and Asad, called a person named Tariq, who sent two vehicles with over a dozen men armed with automatic weapons. According to the FIR, one person, identified as Manzoor, who arrived with the gunmen in a Land Cruiser threatened and beat up members of the VIP security squad. Their accomplice, later identified as Jehangir, and others, assaulted sepoys Arif, Ali Jan and the complainant. The men beat the security staffers and snatched two official weapons and two magazines, the complainant alleged, adding that he and two other members of the security squad were treated at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Complex due to serious injuries.
  12. WASHINGTON/NEW YORK: The top Democrat on the US House of Representatives' antitrust subcommittee has voiced concerns about Amazon.com Inc's (AMZN.O) $13.7 billion plan to buy Whole Foods Market Inc (WFM.O) and is pushing for a hearing to look into the deal's potential impact on consumers. The deal announced in June marks the biggest acquisition for the world?s largest online retailer. Amazon has not said what it will do with Whole Foods' stores and other assets, but analysts and investors worry the move could upend the landscape for grocers, food delivery services and meal-kit companies. US Representative David Cicilline requested the hearing on Thursday in a letter to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee and the subcommittee chairman. Shares of Amazon were up 0.3 percent in mid-morning trading on Friday. "Amazon?s proposed purchase of Whole Foods could impact neighborhood grocery stores and hardworking consumers across America," Cicilline said in a statement. "Congress has a responsibility to fully scrutinise this merger before it goes ahead." The deal must be approved by US antitrust enforcers, in this case most likely the Federal Trade Commission. Congress plays no formal role in that process but hearings are often used to highlight the possible impact of deals on consumers. The hearing is unlikely to happen without Republican support. Amazon and Whole Foods declined to comment. Also this week, hedge fund manager Douglas Kass from Seabreeze Partners Management Inc said he was shorting shares of the retailer because of concern about Amazon in Washington. Kass said he had heard rumblings on Capitol Hill regarding concern about Amazon's size and clout but did not specify what the concerns were. "I am shorting Amazon today because I have learned that there are currently early discussions and due diligence being considered in the legislative chambers in Washington, DC," he wrote in a note to investors late on Wednesday. "If I am correct, word of this could lower Amazon's shares by 10 percent overnight." Kass said in emailed comments to Reuters on Friday that he has what he called a ?core? short position in Amazon, meaning a sizeable bet based on a long-term outlook. "This has the potential of being the biggest business news story of year,? he said. Kass declined to comment when asked for more details about pressure from Capitol Hill. Kass is followed for his bets on declines in companies' share prices. He shorted Marvel Entertainment in 1992 when its shares were in the high $60s, and the company went bankrupt 1-1/2 years later. He also bet against big US banks leading into the 2007-2009 financial crisis, shorting Bank of America, MGIC, Citigroup and several other financials that ultimately averaged a 98 percent price decline by the time they bottomed in 2009. While antitrust experts have said they expect Amazon's bid to win regulatory approval, some critics argue the deal should be blocked because it gives the retailer a big head start towards domination of online grocery delivery. They argue the Whole Foods acquisition will give Amazon an unfair advantage over traditional grocers and new players that might emerge in the market, potentially grounds for the deal to be blocked for antitrust reasons.
  13. Khalida Jarrar. Photo: File JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities have re-arrested a prominent Palestinian lawmaker in an overnight raid over her leadership in a movement Israel considers a terrorist organisation, officials said Sunday. Khalida Jarrar was arrested in the raid in the Ramallah area in the occupied West Bank, Israel´s army said. The 54-year-old was released in June 2016 after 14 months in an Israeli jail for allegedly encouraging attacks against Israelis. Jarrar is a senior figure in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist party considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States and the European Union. Many of its leaders are in custody and Jarrar has been jailed multiple times. Israel´s army alleged that "after her release she returned to the activity in the PFLP terror organisation," calling her one of its senior leaders in the West Bank. "She was apprehended for her involvement in the PFLP and not because of her membership in the (Palestinian parliament)," an army spokeswoman said. Israeli authorities said they had also arrested Khatim Khativ, whom they said was a senior PFLP leader as well. Jarrar is a member of the Palestinian parliament, which has not met since 2007 after elections a year earlier were won by Hamas. A number of Palestinian lawmakers are currently detained by Israel. Addameer, a prisoners´ support and rights group, said a total of 11 people had been arrested in the raid, including Jarrar and Khitam Saafin, who is identified as chairwoman of the Union of Palestinian Women´s Committees. "The arrest of Khalida Jarrar constitutes an attack against Palestinian political leaders and Palestinian civil society as a whole," it said in a statement. "It also constitutes one arrest in the context of continuous arrest campaigns against Palestinians."
  14. Congressman Steve Scalise, the No. 3 Republican in the US House of Representatives. Photo: File Congressman Steve Scalise, the No. 3 Republican in the US House of Representatives, was in critical condition on Wednesday night after he and three others were shot as they practised for a charity baseball game. The gunman, who had posted angry messages against President Donald Trump and other Republicans on social media, opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers and colleagues at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, outside Washington. He was wounded in a gunfight with Capitol Hill police at the scene and later died. Scalise was shot in the left hip, suffering broken bones, injuries to internal organs and severe bleeding. He underwent surgery but would need further operations, the MedStar Washington Hospital Center said. "Rep. Steve Scalise, one of the truly great people, is in very tough shape - but he is a real fighter. Pray for Steve!" Trump said on Twitter after visiting the hospital on Wednesday night. The gunman, identified by police as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson from the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois, fired repeatedly at the men playing on the baseball field on Wednesday morning. Congressmen at the ballpark described hearing loud noises like the sound of firecrackers and 15 to 20 people lying on the ground and realising they had only baseball bats to defend themselves against bullets. "When he started shooting, he was shooting to kill people. And thank God he wasn't a very good shot," said Representative Joe Barton, the Republican team's manager. Also wounded were a congressional aide and one former aide who now works as a lobbyist, officials said. One Capitol Hill police officer suffered a gunshot wound and another officer twisted an ankle and was released from a hospital, police said. "It was not only chaotic but it was a combat situation," Alexandria Police Chief Mike Brown told reporters. 'It's got to stop' While police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was too early to determine whether it was a deliberate political attack, the shooting intensified concerns about the sharp divide and bitter rhetoric in US politics. FBI special agent Tim Slater declined to comment on whether the gunman had a vendetta against Republicans. "We continue to actively investigate the shooter's motives, acquaintances and whereabouts that led to today's incidents," Slater told reporters. No one else was in custody, he said. The gunman was believed to have been in the Alexandria area since March, Slater said. Investigators believe that the suspect had been living out of his vehicle. Wednesday's shooting revived the debate about gun rights in America. Virginia's Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, urged gun control measures. Scalise has been a strong opponent of gun control measures. Hodgkinson had raged against Trump on social media and was a member of anti-Republican groups on Facebook including, "The Road to Hell Is Paved With Republicans," "Terminate The Republican Party," and "Donald Trump is not my President," a search of his Facebook profile showed. As businessman Trump rose to become the Republican nominee in the 2016 presidential election, his brash style and outspoken views on immigration and other policies led to mass protests, including on the weekend of his inauguration in January. The charity ballgame between a Republican team and a Democratic team will go ahead as scheduled on Thursday at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball team. Representative Tim Ryan, who early on Wednesday was practising for the ballgame with fellow Democrats, told reporters that Washington politicians needed to cool their rhetoric. "We've got to get back to ... where things aren't so personal and we're so judgmental of each other. It's got to stop. A member of the US Congress got shot because they didn't like (his) political views," Ryan said. Call for unity Trump, who announced the gunman's death, called for unity. "We are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good," he said. In a show of bipartisanship, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said on the floor of the House: "An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us." The House's top Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, echoed Ryan's message. The shooting happened shortly after 7AM. There were 20 House members and two senators present, and the shooting lasted about 10 minutes, said Barton. Two lawmakers who were at the scene, Representatives Ron DeSantis and Jeff Duncan, indicated there might have been a political motive in the attack. Duncan said that as he left the field, the man who would later open fire approached him in the parking lot. "He asked me who was practising this morning, Republicans or Democrats, and I said: 'That's the Republicans practising,'" Duncan told reporters. DeSantis gave a similar account. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who sought the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, said he had been told that Hodgkinson had served as a volunteer with his campaign. "Let me be as clear as I can be: Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms," Sanders said. Ryan, the House speaker, is reviewing rules on how rank-and-file lawmakers can increase their personal security, according to several lawmakers. "Members get threats on a regular basis and have trouble determining which are real," House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer told reporters. 'Heroism' of police The shooting took place at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in the Del Ray neighbourhood of Alexandria, across the Potomac River from Washington. Representative Mo Brooks told CNN that during batting practice, he heard a "bam" and then a quick succession of shots and saw the gunman shooting through the holes in a chain link fence. When Scalise was shot, he went down on the infield between the first and second base, then dragged himself into the grassy outfield as the incident unfolded, leaving a trail of blood, Brooks said. Two Capitol police officers who were there to provide security for the lawmakers engaged the gunman with pistols, Brooks said. "But for the Capitol police and the heroism they showed, it could very well have been a large-scale massacre. All we would have had would have been baseball bats versus a rifle. Those aren't good odds," Brooks said. Wednesday's attack was the first shooting of a member of Congress since January 2011, when Democratic Representative Gabby Giffords was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt at a gathering of constituents in Tucson, Arizona. Six people were killed. Giffords resigned from Congress and became an activist for gun restrictions.
  15. Police investigate a shooting scene after a gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington in Alexandria, Virginia, US, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts ALEXANDRIA, VA.: A man who had posted angry messages against President Donald Trump and other Republicans on social media opened fire on Republican lawmakers practising for a charity baseball game on Wednesday, wounding a senior US House member and three other people. The gunman, a 66-year-old Illinois man, fired repeatedly at the men playing on a baseball field in suburban Alexandria, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. He was wounded in a gunfight with Capitol Hill police who were at the scene, and police said he later died. Steve Scalise, the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives, was shot in the hip. He was tended to by fellow lawmakers, including Brad Wenstrup, a congressman who is a physician, before being transported to a hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. Also wounded were one current congressional aide and one former aide who now works as a lobbyist, officials said. One Capitol Hill police officer suffered a gunshot wound and another officer twisted an ankle, an official said. While police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was too early to determine whether it was a deliberate political attack, the shooting intensified concerns about the sharp divide and bitter rhetoric in US politics. It also quickly revived the debate about gun rights in America. Virginia's Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, urged gun control measures. "This is not what today is about, but there are too many guns on the street," McAuliffe said at a news conference near the scene of the shooting. Scalise has been a strong opponent of gun control measures. The gunman was identified by a senior US official as James Hodgkinson from the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois. He had worked as a home inspector. Hodgkinson had raged against Trump on social media and was a member of anti-Republican groups on Facebook including, "The Road to Hell Is Paved With Republicans," "Terminate The Republican Party," and "Donald Trump is not my President," a search of his Facebook profile showed. As businessman Trump rose to become the Republican Party nominee in the 2016 presidential election, his brash style and outspoken views on immigration and other policies led to mass protests, including on the weekend of his inauguration in January. Representative Tim Ryan, who early on Wednesday was practising for the ballgame with fellow Democrats, told reporters that Washington politicians needed to cool their rhetoric. "We've got to get back to...where things aren't so personal and we're so judgmental of each other. It's got to stop. A member of the US Congress got shot because they didn't like (his) political views," Ryan said. Calls for unity Trump announced the gunman's death and called Scalise, a 51-year-old Louisiana congressman, a good friend. "He's a patriot and he's a fighter. He will recover from this assault," Trump said. Trump also called for unity. "We are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good," he said. In a show of bipartisanship, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said on the floor of the House, "An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us." The House's top Democrat Nancy Pelosi echoed Ryan's message. The shooting happened shortly after 7 AM, while lawmakers were practising their hitting and fielding a day before the annual charity congressional baseball game pitting Republicans against Democrats. There were 20 House members and two senators present, and the shooting lasted about 10 minutes, said Representative Joe Barton, the Republican team's manager. The charity game will go ahead as scheduled at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball team. Two lawmakers who were at the scene, Representatives Ron DeSantis and Jeff Duncan, indicated there might have been a political motive in the attack. Duncan said that as he left the field, the man who would later open fire approached him in the parking lot. "He asked me who was practising this morning, Republicans or Democrats, and I said, 'That's the Republicans practising'," Duncan told reporters. DeSantis gave a similar account. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who sought the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, said he had been told that Hodgkinson had served as a volunteer with his campaign. "Let me be as clear as I can be: violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms," Sanders said. Ryan, the House speaker, is reviewing rules on how rank-and-file lawmakers can increase their personal security, including questions about paying for additional protection through member accounts and campaign funds, according to several lawmakers. "Members get threats on a regular basis and have trouble determining which are real," House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters. Representative James Clyburn, a Democrat, rejected the idea that the shooting was motivated by partisan politics. "I'm not a Republican and I've had all kinds of threats against me and my family. It's got nothing to do with partisan politics." 'Heroism' of police The shooting took place at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in the Del Ray neighbourhood of Alexandria, across the Potomac River from Washington. Representative Mo Brooks told CNN that during batting practice, he heard a "bam" and then a quick succession of shots and saw the gunman shooting through the holes in a chain link fence. When Scalise was shot, he went down on the infield between the first and second base, then dragged himself into the grassy outfield as the incident unfolded, leaving a trail of blood, Brooks said. Two Capitol police officers who were there to provide security for the lawmakers engaged the gunman with pistols, Brooks said. "But for the Capitol police and the heroism they showed, it could very well have been a large-scale massacre. All we would have had would have been baseball bats versus a rifle. Those aren't good odds," Brooks said. Brooks estimated 50 to 100 shots were fired. Wednesday's attack was the first shooting of a member of Congress since January 2011, when Democratic Representative Gabby Giffords was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt at a gathering of constituents in Tucson, Arizona. She survived, but six people were killed. Giffords resigned from Congress and became an activist for gun restrictions.
  16. ALEXANDRIA: At least five people people including a top Republican congressman were wounded in a Washington suburb early Wednesday morning when a shooting erupted as they practiced for an annual baseball game between lawmakers. Senior congressman Steve Scalise was shot in the hip, according to fellow Republican lawmaker Mo Brooks who told CNN at least two law enforcement officers and one congressional staffer were also shot in the incident in Alexandria, Virginia. "Five people were transported medically from the scene," Alexandria police chief Michael Brown told a press conference. Police said the shooting suspect was in custody and "not a threat." President Donald Trump said he was closely monitoring the developments in Virginia, and that Scalise, the majority whip who rallies Republican votes in the House of Representatives, was expected to recover. "Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him," Trump tweeted. In a statement earlier, Trump described himself as "deeply saddened by this tragedy," saying his "thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders and all others affected." About 25 senators and congressmen were at the practice, according to Senator Jeff Flake who told reporters some 50 shots rang out in the exchange of fire between the gunman and the lawmakers´ security detail, at around 6:30 am (1030 GMT). Flake said the suspect was a white man with dark hair, apparently in his 40s or 50s, wearing jeans and a blue shirt. Asked whether he thought it was a random shooting, Brooks told CNN: "It sure as heck wasn´t an accident." "People know this is the Republican baseball team practicing," he said. "You can tell. You can recognise many of us. You can see our security detail." "It is pretty well known at the neighborhood who those folks are on the baseball field and where we practice." "He knew who we were. I´m a former prosecutor and, yeah, he was going after elected officials, congressmen." ´Dragging his body´ Brooks described chaotic scenes after Scalise was shot. "He was not able to move on his own power. He was dragging his body from the second base infield to the outfield to get away from the shooter while all this firing was going on," Brooks said. "He is a physician and we deferred to his judgment on what to do. I held a cloth over the wound to stop the bleeding as Brad was getting some kind of scissors device to cut through the pants to try to have better access to Steve Scalise´s wound and his hip." Brooks said he took off his belt and used it as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding on a staffer who was shot in the leg. Local schools were locked down. "A lock-in takes place if a threat is identified outside the school. All school doors are locked but classes continue as normal. No entry into or exit from the school will be allowed," said a message from Alexandria City Public Schools. Scalise, a representative from the southern state of Louisiana elected to Congress in 2008, heads the conservative House caucus known as the Republican Study Committee. The staunch conservative is among the lawmakers leaving the drive to repeal former president Barack Obama´s signature health care law, among other top Republican priorities.
  17. If any of us had an option to stay at a five-star hotel, we would obviously jump at that chance and prefer that over anything else. But not S Suresh Kumar. A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker in Karnataka, Kumar decided to ditch his five-star hotel accommodation to stay at a village cowshed while he was in Mysuru. © Wikimedia Apparently, staying in open places and cowsheds is not a new thing for Kumar. "I have stayed in open places while walking from Bengaluru to Tirupati in 2013. I have also stayed in such places when I undertook a padayatra to Dharmasthala and Sabarimala in 2015," he says. Kumar represents the Rajajinagar assembly constituency in a Bengaluru south suburb and is campaigning for BJP candidate Srinivasa Prasad in Nanjangud by-election scheduled which is scheduled for April 9. © Twitter "The party leaders had arranged for air-conditioned accommodation for me, but I decided not to take it," Kumar said. He prefers unwinding at the cowshed after a long day of campaigning, where he spends his time reading newspapers and talking to his followers. Known for his impeccable wit, he always has people surround him to hear him speak. Maybe all politicians aren’t that bad. What do you guys say?