Protests could erupt in cities across the United States after horrifying video footage was released on Friday of US police beating Tyre Nichols in Memphis earlier this month, leading to injuries from which he later died.

Videos Of Fatal Police Beating Up Man In US Released

Protests could erupt in cities across the United States after horrifying video footage was released on Friday of US police beating Tyre Nichols in Memphis earlier this month, leading to injuries from which he later died.

The city of Memphis on Friday (local time) released four videos that show police officers kicking and beating Nichols, a 29-year-old, Black man, The New York Times reported.
Memphis civic leaders and the family of Nichols have asked people to protest peacefully, as per The New York Times report. US President Joe Biden joined their call in a statement on Thursday afternoon. The police department in New York City in a statement said that officials were preparing for the possibility of protests.

Calling for “justice” for her son, RowVaughn Wells, Mr. Nichols’s mother, said Friday that the five officers had “disgraced” their families, but that she would also pray for them, the New York Times reported.

Nichols, who was pulled out of his car by officers, can be heard saying, “I’m just trying to go home,” and at one point he repeatedly screams, “Mom, Mom, Mom.”

Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was hospitalized after the arrest on January 7 and died three days due to injuries, according to police.

Five officers have been charged with murder in the death of Tyre Nichols, according to The New York Times.

Video taken from a remotely controlled camera mounted on a utility pole in the area shows Memphis police officers hitting Nichols at least nine times without visible provocation, as per CNN. An officer is shown shoving Nichols hard to the pavement with a knee or leg when the camera turns towards the incident site.

According to CNN, Nichols is pulled by his shoulders and then kicked in the face. He was then pulled into a sitting position. The video shows Nichols being hit in the back with what seems to be a baton. After being pulled to his knees, Nichols was again beaten.

After being pulled to his feet, the officers hit Nichols in the face multiple times while his hands were kept behind his body after which he falls to his knees, according to CNN. In the video, an officer then appears to kick Nichols. More than three minutes after the encounter is seen on camera, officers let go of Nichols, and he rolls onto his back.

After one minute, Nichols was dragged along the pavement and propped up in a sitting position against the side of a car. After ten minutes, a person who seems to be a paramedic finally attends to Nichols. According to the video released by the city of Memphis, Tyre Nichols during his initial confrontation with police was heard telling officers that he is “just trying to go home,” as per the news report.

The video released by Shelby County District Attorney’s office showed the medical response to Tyre Nichols moments after he was beaten. About two minutes after paramedics started attending to Nichols, he is seen falling over to the side and seeming to hit his head against a piece of equipment. As per the CNN report, no one appears to help Nichols as he tries to sit up. After a minute, officers were seen crowding around Nichols.

The pole camera showed that 23 minutes pass from the time Nichols appears to be subdued and on his back on the ground before a stretcher arrived at the site, as per the news report. After two minutes, an ambulance arrived at the site of the incident. (ANI)

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Eric Garcetti US Ambassador To India

Biden Re-Nominates Eric Garcetti As US Ambassador To India

United States President Joe Biden on Tuesday renominated Eric Garcetti, the former Mayor of Los Angeles, as an ambassador to India, the White House said after sending the nomination to the Senate.

In the statement, the White House said, “Eric M Garcetti, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of India.”
Earlier, in December, the White House updated Mayor Garcetti’s nomination as ambassador to India update and said that they hoped that the full senate would confirm.

For more than a year, Garcetti’s nomination to be US ambassador to India – announced in July 2021 – is still in limbo. His nomination has been held up for months because of concerns among senators on both sides about allegations that he ignored alleged sexual harassment and bullying by one of his former senior political aides. Garcetti has repeatedly denied that he ignored those allegations, according to CNN.

Finally, in January last year, Garcetti’s nomination was announced.

In November, Pierre reaffirmed the Biden administration’s commitment to getting through the nomination of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as US ambassador to India.

Answering a question whether the White House will push the US Senate to finally get a vote on Garcetti’s nomination, Jean-Pierre said, “Absolutely. India is a very important relationship that we have. You — you saw the President greet and meet very briefly with Prime Minister Modi just last week when he was — in Bali. It’s an important relationship that — that we truly respect.”

“As for Mayor Garcetti, we are committed to getting him through the process. We are continuing — to talk to the Senate about making that happen. That is a priority of ours. And I just don’t have anything further to share on any strategy or anything else moving forward on that,” the White House Press Secretary added.

The United States continues to seek the expeditious confirmation of the Los Angeles Mayor, as the ambassador to India, following a long delay in the confirmation of his nomination.

Last year, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmed the nomination of Garcetti to be the US Ambassador to India. However, the nomination needed to be confirmed by a majority of the US Senate.

Garcetti’s nomination came under a shadow after a Senate report released suggested that Garcetti had ignored a pattern of sexual harassment allegedly carried out by one of his top aides. (ANI)

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Random Sampling For Covid-19 Of Intl Passengers Started | Lokmarg

Random Sampling For Covid-19 Of Intl Passengers Started

A sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in the United States, China, Brazil and South Korea has prompted the Union Health Ministry to review the pandemic situation in India and as per the precautionary measure the government has restarted random sampling of international passengers at airports across the country for Covid from today.
Sources told ANI, “Random sampling of international passengers for Covid19 has started at airports in the country from today.”

“There are currently 10 different variants of Covid-19 in the country, with the latest variant being BF.7. At present various variants of Omicron are spreading in the country and Delta variant can still be seen in the country,” said the sources.

Earlier in the day, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya also conducted a high-level meeting to review the COVID-19 situation in India and the preparedness of the public health system for surveillance, containment and management of COVID-19 in view of the recent spike in cases of COVID-19 in some countries along with Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare.

Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, senior officials and public health experts were present.

“The Union Health Minister was briefed on the global COVID-19 situation and the domestic scenario. Underlining the challenge posed by the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in some countries across the world such as China, Japan, South Korea, France and the United States, Union Health Minister noted the importance of being prepared and remaining alert against new and emerging strains of COVID-19, especially in view of the upcoming festive season,” reads the statement issued by the Health Ministry after the meeting.

Mandaviya also said that Covid-19 is not yet over and directed officials to be alert and strengthen surveillance amid a surge in coronavirus cases globally.

He urged people to follow COVID appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated against COVID.

“The surveillance system for whole genome sequencing of positive case samples will track the variants through Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network to ensure timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country. This would facilitate the undertaking of appropriate public health measures. States/UTs have been requested to send samples of all COVID-19 positive cases to INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) on a daily basis, for sequencing, to track new variants, if any,” he said.

“In a presentation, the Union Health Minister was briefed that India has been witnessing a steady decline in cases with average daily cases falling to 158 in the week ending December 19, 2022. However, a consistent rise in global daily average cases has been reported since the last six weeks, with 5.9 lakh daily average cases reported in the week ending December 19, 2022. A new and highly transmissible BF.7 strain of the Omicron variant has been found to be behind a wider surge of COVID infections in China,” the ministry said in a statement.

Present in the meeting, Dr VK Paul, Member, Niti Aayog said, “Only 27-28 per cent of people have taken precaution dose. We appeal to others, especially senior citizens, to take the precautionary dose. Precaution dose is mandated and guided to everyone.”

“Use a mask if you are in a crowded space, indoors or outdoors. This is all the more important for people with comorbidities or those of higher age,” Dr Paul added.

In the meeting, other Senior Officials present were Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Union Health Ministry, Prof. Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Advisor, Dr RS Gokhale, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, AYUSH, Dr Rajiv Bahl, Secretary, Department of Health Research, Dr Atul Goel, DGHS, Sh. Lav Agarwal, Additional Secretary, MoHFW and Dr N K Arora, Chairman of the COVID Working Group, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI). (ANI)

No Decision Yet To Stop Flights To-From China | Lokmarg

Chinese Hackers Stole Millions Of Covid Relief Money In US

China-based hackers stole at least USD 20 million in US Covid relief benefits, including unemployment insurance funds and Small Business Administration loans, NBC news reported citing the country’s Secret Service.

Hackers linked to the Chinese government are from a Chengdu-based group known as APT41. The report said other federal investigations of pandemic fraud also seem to point back to foreign state-affiliated hackers.
“It would be crazy to think this group didn’t target all 50 states,” Roy Dotson, national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator for the Secret Service, told NBC.

The US Secret Service declined to confirm the scope of other investigations.

They said there are over 1,000 ongoing investigations involving transnational and domestic criminal actors defrauding public benefits programs, and APT41 is “a notable player,” according to NBC news.

In recent months, the US has witnessed a rise in espionage cases emanating from China.

Last month, in three separate cases, the US government charged 13 individuals, including members of China’s security and intelligence apparatus and their agents, for alleged efforts to unlawfully exert influence in the United States for the benefit of their government.

“As these cases demonstrate, the government of China sought to interfere with the rights and freedoms of individuals in the United States and to undermine our judicial system that protects those rights. They did not succeed,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, as quoted in the Justice Department press statement.

“The Justice Department will not tolerate attempts by any foreign power to undermine the Rule of Law upon which our democracy is based. We will continue to fiercely protect the rights guaranteed to everyone in our country. And we will defend the integrity of our institutions,” Garland added.

Seven Chinese nationals were charged – two of whom were arrested on October 20 in New York – with participating in a scheme to cause the forced repatriation of a PRC national residing in the United States.

The defendants are accused of conducting surveillance of and engaging in a campaign to harass and coerce a U.S. resident to return to Beijing as part of an international extralegal repatriation effort known as “Operation Fox Hunt.” (ANI)

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US Senate Passes Bill

US Senate Passes Bill Granting Protections To Same-Sex, Interracial Marriages

The US Senate on Tuesday passed legislation granting federal protections to same-sex and interracial marriages in the United States.

The Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act in a vote of 61-36, with 60 votes needed for passage, according to CNN.
The bill requires the US federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed. According to US media, it also guarantees recognition of marriages between states through the full faith and credit clause of the US Constitution.

However, the bill does not require US states to issue marriage licenses contrary to their laws.

In a statement, US President Joe Biden said the Senate’s approval of the Respect for Marriage Act is a bipartisan achievement, showcasing that Republicans and Democrats together support the right of LGBTQ and interracial couples to marry.

“With today’s bipartisan Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love. For millions of Americans, this legislation will safeguard the rights and protections to which LGBTQI+ and interracial couples and their children are entitled,” Biden said.

“It will also ensure that, for generations to follow, LGBTQI+ youth will grow up knowing that they, too, can lead full, happy lives and build families of their own,” he added.

Biden said he will sign the legislation if it passes the House of Representatives and is sent to his desk.

The legislation was crafted through bipartisan collaboration and amended to provide religious protections for organizations that do not wish to provide goods or services to celebrate same-sex marriages.

The bill also contains provisions to prevent it from being used to diminish or repeal protections such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The House passed the bill in July, placing the legislation on track to be signed by US President Joe Biden.

The Senate passed the bill in its so-called “lame duck session” between Election Day earlier in November and the new class of lawmakers taking office in January. While Democrats will retain their majority in the Senate, they are set to lose control of the House.

Lawmakers are also slated to consider government funding legislation, the National Defense Authorization Act, Ukraine aid, and other legislative priorities before the end of the year. (ANI)

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China-US Relations

Looking Forward To Improving China-US Relations: Xi To Biden

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday said that he is looking forward to bringing China-US relations back on track with healthy and stable growth.

“In our meeting today, I am ready to have a candid and in-depth exchange of views on issues of strategic importance in the China-US relationship. I look forward to working with you to bring China-US relations back on track with healthy and stable growth,” Xi Jinping told his US counterpart, Joe Biden.
US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have begun bilateral talks on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia Monday evening local time.

Both leaders gave brief opening remarks and exchanged pleasantries in front of the media before the press were swiftly ushered from the room for the start of the high-stakes talks.

“Today, we finally have this face-to-face meeting. Currently, the China-US relationship is in such a situation that we all care a lot about it. We need to find the right direction for the bilateral relationship going forward and elevate the relationship,” added Xi.

On the US side, Biden was accompanied by a team including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, and Ambassador of the United States to the People’s Republic of China Nicholas Burns.

Xi was flanked by officials including Director of the Chinese Communist Party General Office Ding Xuexiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Biden and Xi sat down at their tables, flanked by officials on each side. Both did not wear masks, while the other room officials all wore masks.

“I am committed to keeping lines of communication open between you and me personally, but our governments across the board, because our two countries have so much that we have the opportunity to deal with,” said Biden in opening remarks.

“As the leaders of our two nations were to share responsibility in my view to show that China and the US can manage our differences, prevent competition from becoming anything even near conflict and find ways to work together on urgent, global issues that require our mutual cooperation,” added Biden.

Xi further stated that the world is paying attention to the high-stakes meeting between him and Biden.

“Currently the China-US relationship is in such a situation that we all care a lot about it because this is not the fundamental interest of our two countries and peoples, and it is not what the international community expects (from) us,” Xi said in his opening remarks at the meeting.

“As leaders of the two major countries, we need to chart the right course for the US-China relationship. We need to find the right direction for the bilateral relationship going forward and elevate the relationship,” he added, speaking through a translator.

“The world expects that China and the United States will properly handle the relationship. Our meeting has attracted the world’s attention, so we need to work with all countries to bring more hope to world peace, greater confidence to global stability, and strong impetus to common development,” the Chinese leader said.

Xi and Biden have known each for more than a decade, but Monday saw them meet face-to-face for the first time in their current roles.

There have been five phone and video exchanges with Xi since Biden took office at the start of 2021, but Monday’s talks are their first in-person since 2017 when Biden was vice president to Barack Obama. The last time Xi met a US leader was Donald Trump in 2019.

The relationship between the world’s biggest economies has deteriorated since Biden took office over the economic competition, human rights issues, and rising tensions between China and Taiwan.

Washington and Beijing are at loggerheads over issues ranging from trade to human rights in China’s Xinjiang region and the status of the self-ruled island of Taiwan. (ANI)

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US Midterm Polls

US Midterm Polls: Democrats To Retain Senate

Democrats will keep their narrow Senate majority for the next two years, CNN projects, after victories in close contests in Nevada and Arizona. Democrats now have 50 Senate seats to Republicans’ 49 seats.

The Democrats need to win just one more seat to retain majority control – with Nevada and Georgia the two states outstanding paving the way for Joe Biden to spend two more years filling the federal courts with his nominees and staffing his administration largely the way he sees fit.
Retaining Senate control is a huge boost to President Biden over the remaining two years of his first term in the White House.

It means Democrats will have the ability to confirm Biden’s judicial nominees — avoiding scenarios such as the one former President Barack Obama faced in 2016 when then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold a vote on his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. It also means that Senate Democrats can reject bills passed by the House and can set their own agenda, reported CNN.

Meanwhile, Republicans appear to be inching closer to a majority in the House of Representatives – with big implications for the next two years of Joe Biden’s presidency.

Republicans appear to be slowly inching closer to the 218 seats that would deliver them a House majority, but several congressional races — including in California and Colorado — remain uncalled.

Georgia will hold a run-off election on December 6, after neither Senate candidate won an outright majority.

Georgia’s race between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker is headed to a December runoff after neither candidate cleared the 50 percent threshold on Tuesday.

Even if Republicans win the Georgia runoff, though, Vice President Kamala Harris would continue to cast the tie-breaking vote in an evenly divided Senate to guarantee the Democratic majority.

Only one Senate seat has changed hands so far in the 2022 midterm elections: Pennsylvania, where Democratic Lt Gov John Fetterman, who campaigned as he recovered from a May stroke, defeated Republican Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Republicans successfully defended seats in hard-fought races in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin, while Democrats retained their seats in competitive contests in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire.

In Nevada, CNN projects that Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a former prosecutor, and state attorney general, will defeat Republican Adam Laxalt, her successor in the attorney general’s office and the son and grandson of former senators.

In Arizona, CNN projects that Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will defeat Republican Blake Masters, a venture capitalist who was endorsed by Trump and supported by tech mogul and emerging GOP megadonor Peter Thiel. (ANI)

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Collide Midair At Airshow

US: Six Feared Dead After Military Planes Collide Midair At Airshow

Six people are feared dead after a B-17 heavy bomber collided with another aircraft and crashed during an airshow in Dallas, Texas, a local affiliate of ABC News broadcaster reported on Saturday.

The incident occurred during “America’s Premier World War II Airshow,”, which was reportedly Veterans Day weekend, where guests were to see more than 40 World War II-era aircraft.
Leah Block, a spokesperson for Commemorative Air Force, told ABC News that she believes there were five crew members on the B-17 and one aboard the P-63.

Soon after the news broke, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, said many details remain unknown or unconfirmed at this time and city authorities continue to provide support.

A number of videos of the mid-air collision were making rounds on Twitter. In the videos, the two aircraft appeared to collide in the air before they both rapidly descended, causing a large fire and plumes of black smoke.

“As many of you have now seen, we have had a terrible tragedy in our city today during an airshow. Many details remain unknown or unconfirmed at this time. The @NTSB has taken command of the crash scene with @DallasPD and @DallasFireRes_q continuing to provide support,” Mayor Johnson tweeted.

“The videos are heartbreaking. Please, say a prayer for the souls who took to the sky to entertain and educate our families today,” he added.

The US government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation said it was launching a go-team to investigate Saturday’s mid-air collision.

“The NTSB is launching a go-team to investigate Saturday’s mid-air collision between a Boeing B-17G and a Bell P-63F near Dallas, Texas. Member Michael Graham will serve as spokesperson on scene. The team is expected to arrive tomorrow. Check Twitter @ntsb_newsroom for updates,” National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Newsroom tweeted.

US media reports said the B-17 is an immense four-engine bomber and was a cornerstone of U.S. air power during World War II. The majority of B-17s were scrapped at the end of World War II and only a handful remain now. (ANI)

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Car Bomb Explosions Somalia

2 Car Bomb Explosions Near Somalia’s Education Ministry, 100 Dead

As many as 100 people were killed and more than 300 others were wounded in Somalia on Saturday after two car bombs exploded near the education ministry in the capital Mogadishu.

The two car bombs exploded near a busy intersection in the capital and near the Ministry of Education, according to an official with the president’s office, reported CNN.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in a video statement posted on his official Twitter account claimed that the Al-Shabaab terror group in Somalia was responsible for the deadly attack.

“Today’s cruel and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent people by the morally bankrupt and criminal al-Shabaab group cannot discourage us but will further strengthen our resolve to defeat them once and for all,” Mohamud wrote on Twitter.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the Islamist group Al-Shabaab has claimed other recent attacks, reported CNN.

“Our government and brave people will continue to defend Somalia against evil,” Mohamud added.

The intersection, Zobe junction, was the same location as a deadly bombing attack on October 14, 2017, which killed more than 500 people and injured around 300 others.

“By the will of God, no other October like this will happen. They won’t get the chance to commit such a thing,” Mohamud said, calling Saturday’s attack a repeat of the 2017 bombings.

The recent siege of an upscale hotel in the capital Mogadishu killing at least 20 people is a grave reminder of the security challenges the country is facing.

Al-Shabaab emerged as the radical youth wing of Somalia’s now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which controlled Mogadishu in 2006, before being forced out by Ethiopian forces.

Al-Shabaab advocates the Saudi-inspired Wahhabi version of Islam, while most Somalis are Sufis.

It has imposed a strict version of Sharia in areas under its control, including stoning to death women accused of adultery and amputating the hands of thieves.

It is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK.

There have been numerous reports that Al-Shabab may have formed some links with other militant groups, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al-Qaeda.

Somalia has long been called a failed or fragile state that has seen one of the biggest failures of international counter-terror operations.

Somalia has not had an effective national government for more than 20 years, during which much of the country has been a war zone.

Al-Shabaab gained support by promising people security, but its credibility was knocked when it rejected Western food aid to combat a 2011 drought and famine.

In 2022, there was a peaceful transition of power in Somalia after the successful completion of the legislative and presidential elections.

In recent years, despite international counter-terror measures, Al-Shabab has grown in strength, cashing in on the humanitarian crisis in Somalia and the security crises in neighboring countries. (ANI)

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