13 Aug

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective



Minister stresses need to prevent secondary accidents as Greenpeace says chemicals blamed for Tianjin blasts continue to pose threat

Drone footage recorded by a member of the public and originally published by Chinese news site, The Paper, shows the aftermath of huge explosions in the port city of Tianjin on Wednesday night. So far Chinese authorities have confirmed 50 deaths, including at least 12 firefighters, and say 701 people have been admitted to hospital, 71 with ‘severe’ injuries. Those numbers are expected to rise

Fireball from Tianjin explosions injures hundreds and kills at least 50 – latest updates

Armed troops and elite military units trained to handle nuclear, biological and chemical disasters are being dispatched to the scene of a deadly explosion in northern China as Beijing vowed to deploy “every resource available” to help survivors.

At least 50 deaths have been confirmed and 701 people admitted to hospital with injuries – 71 of those said to be “severe” – after a fire at warehouse containing “dangerous chemicals” sparked a series of blasts on Wednesday night.

The explosions were so massive they were picked up from space in a sequence of satellite photos released by the Japanese meteorological agency.

By Thursday afternoon at least 1,000 firefighters were attempting to bring the flames under control around the main disaster zone, a portside industrial estate in Tianjin.

Around 10,000 medical staff were working at 10 different hospitals to treat survivors, Zhang Yong, a local Communist party official, told a press conference. “We will bring things back on track as soon as possible,” he said…………………..


Rights lawyers may seek arrest warrants against members of regime after David Cameron invited president for bilateral talks in UK

Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque

A man walks inside the burnt-out Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque on 15 August 2013. Photograph: Ahmed Hayman/EPA

Senior officials in Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s regime in Egypt could face arrest for crimes against humanity if they take up a UK government invitation to visit London, human rights lawyers say.

The warning comes a day before the second anniversary of the massacre of more than 800 protesters outside Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, the worst of three mass killings of supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi during the summer of 2013.

Last month David Cameron invited Sisi for bilateral talks in the UK, but Sisi has put off the visit due to fears that he or other members of his military regime could be detained if human rights lawyers seek arrest warrants from British courts on the basis of universal jurisdiction for mass crimes.

Toby Cadman, a war crimes lawyer, said he believed that was “almost certainly one of the reasons Sisi did not come” to Britain.

“We are pushing for accountability and pushing for prosecutions in the cases of a number of the individuals … and if they travel to the UK we’ll do our best to make sure they are arrested,” said Cadman, who is one of the lawyers pressing for prosecutions for the massacres. “If we had details of people’s travel we would take their files to the war crimes unit at the Met [Metropolitan police]. We would take their files and ask for their arrest.”……………………


Judge vacates murder conviction of Lewis Fogle, who has been in prison for the shooting death of a 15-year-old in 1976

A Pennsylvania judge is vacating the murder conviction of a man who has been in prison for 34 years in the shooting death of a 15-year-old, citing new DNA evidence.

The Innocence Project says a senior visiting judge issued the order Thursday in Indiana County favoring 63-year-old Lewis Fogle. Fogle is being released on bond later in the day because he remains charged.

The judge’s decision stems from a joint motion by the Innocence Project and district attorney Patrick Dougherty.

Dougherty will review other evidence before deciding whether to retry Fogle. He will announce that decision on 14 September.

Fogle has denied killing the girl in 1976. He was the only one of four people arrested in March 1981 to be tried.



Brittany Ferrell accused by St Louis police of causing $5,000 damage to car as driver forced her way through demonstrators at Michael Brown anniversary

Brittany Ferrell

Brittany Ferrell (center) raises her fist at the Creating Change conference by the National LGBTQ Task Force in Denver in February. Photograph: Joe Amon/Denver Post via Getty Images

A protest leader in Ferguson, Missouri, could face up to four years in prison after being charged with a felony for allegedly kicking a vehicle as it ploughed through a line of peaceful demonstrators who were blocking a highway.

Brittany Ferrell was accused of causing damage worth more than $5,000 to the SUV as its driver forced her way through the group, which had gathered on Interstate 70 near Ferguson during events to mark the anniversary of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by a police officer.

Ferrell, 26, was charged with first-degree property damage, which is a class D felony in Missouri. She was also charged with trespassing and disturbing the peace, according to Bob McCulloch, the prosecuting attorney for St Louis County, who oversaw the grand jury inquiry into Brown’s death. Ferrell was released on a $10,000 bond on Wednesday.

Ferrell’s wife, Alexis Templeton, was charged with misdemeanour assault for allegedly punching the driver through her vehicle’s window, and misdemeanour charges similar to Ferrell’s for alleged trespass and disturbing the peace. Templeton, 21, has also been released.

The charges prompted a furious reaction among the wider Black Lives Matter protest movement. Brittany Packnett, an activist who sat on Barack Obama’s White House taskforce on police reform, said several demonstrators were struck by the vehicle…………………


Criminal inquiry opens after supermodel condemns Nizhny Novgorod cafe for insisting sibling Oksana, who has cerebral palsy, scared customers

Natalia Vodianova at a fashion shoot. After the incident with her sister she said alarm bells should ring for society concerning attitudes towards children with special needs.

Natalia Vodianova at a fashion shoot. After the incident with her sister she said alarm bells should ring for society concerning attitudes towards children with special needs. Photograph: Tony Barson/WireImage

A criminal investigation began on Thursday after the Russian-born supermodel Natalia Vodianova described how a cafe “kicked out her sister because of her disability”.

Vodianova, who has been the face of Calvin Klein campaigns and has modelled for Givenchy and Stella McCartney, grew up in poverty in the industrial city of Nizhny Novgorod, where her sister and mother still live.

She wrote an indignant Facebook post after her 27-year-old sister Oksana, who has cerebral palsy and autism, was ordered to leave a cafe with her carer on Tuesday, with the owner allegedly claiming she was frightening other customers.

Hours after Vodianova’s post, Russia’s investigative committee opened a criminal case into violation of human dignity with the threat of violence, which carries a maximum jail term of five years. It called the cafe’s alleged actions “an outrageous incident”.

The case has garnered extensive media coverage in a country where the rights of people with disabilities to equal treatment and access are still far from fully recognised.

Vodianova wrote on her Facebook page: “The owner of the cafe suddenly came up to them and said, ‘get out of here, you are scaring all our customers, go get treated and treat your child, then you can go out in the public’.”


Deadliest attack in Baghdad this year kills 80 people in Shia district of Sadr City – a sign of how easily capital’s security cordon can be breached

Residents gather at the site of a lorry bomb attack at a crowded market in Baghdad.

Residents gather at the site of a lorry bomb attack at a crowded market in Baghdad. Photograph: Reuters

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for a bomb blast that killed at least 80 people in a Shia neighbourhood of Baghdad in the deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital this year.

The bomb was placed in a refrigerated lorry and driven to the heart of a farmers’ market in Sadr City in the early hours of Thursday morning. A witness told the Guardian that the bomber had beckoned people to the truck by telling them he had cheap tomatoes to sell.

Hospitals in Baghdad said at least 200 people had been injured in the blast. The marketplace in the Jamila district of Sadr City – an impoverished quarter of north-eastern Baghdad – had been bustling with buyers ahead of the weekend.

A website post purported to be by Isis said the attack had killed “charlatans” in the Shia community and members of the Iraqi security forces.

Shia communities have been constant targets of attacks by the Sunni extremists throughout the past decade of instability in Iraq. However, this year Isis has placed extra emphasis on trying to strike inside Baghdad, which has, by and large, been quarantined from the chaos that has enveloped other areas of the north and west of the country……………………..



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