Italy quake toll hits 247 as rescuers hunt for survivors

Italy quake toll hits 247 as rescuers hunt for survivors

ACCUMOLI: The death toll from a powerful earthquake that shook central Italy rose to 247 on Thursday, officials said, as rescuers desperately searched for survivors in the rubble of devastated mountain villages.

Hundreds of others were injured, some critically, and an unknown number were trapped under the ruins of collapsed buildings after Wednesday’s pre-dawn quake.

Amid scenes of carnage, dozens of emergency services staff and volunteers were determined to attempt to pluck more survivors from the ruins.

Rescuers search through debris following the earthquake in Pescara Del Tronto, Italy ─AP
Rescuers search through debris following the earthquake in Pescara Del Tronto, Italy ─AP

Rescuers had pledged to work through the night in the hope of finding people alive in the mangled wreckage of homes.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had earlier warned that the toll would likely rise after visiting the badly hit village of Amatrice.

Hundreds of people spent a chilly night in hastily assembled tents with the risk of aftershocks making it too risky for them to return home.

Scores of buildings were reduced to dusty piles of masonry in communities close to the epicentre of the quake, which had a magnitude of between 6.0 and 6.2.

It hit a remote area straddling Umbria, Marche and Lazio at a time of year when second-home owners and other visitors swell the numbers staying there.

Many of the victims were from Rome.

The devastated area is just north of L’Aquila, the city where some 300 people died in another quake in 2009.

Most of the deaths occurred in and around the villages of Amatrice, Accumoli and Arquata del Tronto.

Anguish

Guido Bordo, 69, lost his sister and her husband after they were trapped inside their holiday house in the hamlet of Illica, near Accumoli.

“There’s no sound from them, we only heard their cats,” he told AFP before the deaths were confirmed.

“I wasn’t here. As soon as the quake happened, I rushed here. They managed to pull my sister’s children out, they’re in hospital now,” he added, wringing his hands in anguish.

Among the victims was a nine-month-old baby girl whose parents survived, an 18-month-old toddler and two other young children who died with their parents in Accumoli.

Two boys aged four and seven were saved by their quick-thinking grandmother, who ushered them under a bed as soon as the shaking began, according to reports. She also survived but lost her husband.

Renzi said it was too early to consider what might have been done to prevent the disaster.

“Today is the time for tears and emotion,” he said, vowing that his government would start reconstruction work first thing on Thursday.

Bodies in playground

It was Italy’s most powerful earthquake since the 2009 disaster in L’Aquila.

People prepare to spend the night in a gymnasium. Residents have been advised not to return to their homes. ─AP
People prepare to spend the night in a gymnasium. Residents have been advised not to return to their homes. ─AP

“Half the village has disappeared,” said Amatrice mayor Sergio Pirozzi, surveying a town centre that looked as if had been subjected to a bombing raid.

The tremors were strong enough to be felt 150 kilometres away in Rome, where authorities ordered structural tests on the Colosseum.

Some of the worst damage was in Pescara del Tronto, a hamlet near Arquata in the Marche region where the bodies of the dead were laid out in a children’s park.

With residents advised not to go back into their homes, temporary campsites were being set up in Amatrice and Accumoli as authorities looked to find emergency accommodation for more than 2,000 people.

Amatrice is a hilltop beauty spot considered home of amatriciana, one of Italy’s favourite pasta sauces. It is popular with Romans seeking cool mountain air at the height of the summer.

It was packed with visitors when the quake struck at 3:36am (0136 GMT).

Three minutes later the clock on the village’s 13th-century tower stopped.

Out of the blue’

The first quake measured 6.2, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

It measured 6.0 according to Italian monitors, who put the depth at only four kilometres. A 5.4-magnitude aftershock followed an hour later.

Photo courtesy USGS ─AFPG
Photo courtesy USGS ─AFPG

Italy is vulnerable to earthquakes and the 2009 tremor in L’Aquila led to lengthy recriminations over lax building controls and the failure of authorities to warn residents that a quake could be imminent.

David Rothery, Professor of Planetary Geosciences at Britain’s Open University, said the shallowness of Wednesday’s quake had made it more destructive.

But he added: “Unlike the L’Aquila quake, which was preceded by swarms of smaller quakes and led to claims ─ unjustified in my view ─ that the eventual big quake should have been predicted, this one appears to have struck out of the blue.”

Source :Dawn News

Pakistan Army wins international sniping competition in Beijing

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Army soldiers have won an international sniping and shooting competition in Beijing, said the Inter-Services Public Relations on Thursday.

The team representing Pakistan Army secured first position in all individual and team events.

Naik Arshad was declared the best sniper in the competition, which was attended by 21 teams representing 14 countries.

In July, a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) C-130 Hercules transport aircraft won the Concours D’ Elegance trophy at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) Show 2016 at Royal Air Force Base Fair Ford in the United Kingdom.

More than 200 aircraft from 50 countries participated in the competition, with the Pakistani contingent stealing the show and winning the trophy.

Last year, a team of Pakistan Army won the gold medal in the premier patrolling event of the British Army – Exercise Cambrian Patrol – beating around 140 teams from armies across the globe.

Source : Dawn News

India refuses talks over Kashmir issue with Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: India on Thursday formally rejected Pakistan’s proposal to hold exclusive talks on the issue of Kashmir and said it will only discuss the issue of terrorism alleged infiltration of militants with Pakistan, it has been learnt.

India’s Secretary for External Affairs S. J. Shankar wrote a letter to Islamabad, in which it was mentioned that “India would not hold dialogue with Pakistan over Kashmir issue.”

Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Gotam Bambawale handed over the letter to Secretary Foreign Affairs Aizaz Chaudhry.

Earlier this month, a letter was written by Foreign Affairs secretary to his Indian counterpart Shankar, inviting him to visit Islamabad to hold bilateral talks on the disputed territories of Jammu and Kashmir.

“India has rejected the proposal saying that it would only hold talk with Pakistan on terrorism and the alleged infiltration of militants from the Line of Control (LoC),” said the Foreign Office.

“Suitable response would be delivered to New Delhi after thorough consultations,” said the officials in Islamabad.

The letter written by Pakistan had highlighted the international obligation of both countries to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

The offer by Pakistan was made despite the Independence Day speech of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he spoke about alleged human rights abuses in Balochistan, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

On August 12, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had offered a dedicated dialogue to India on Kashmir and observed that India’s policy of not engaging in a comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan was not conducive for peace in South Asia.

Source Dawn News

Canada: Extremist literature common in many mosques and Islamic school libraries. study says

Canada: Extremist literature common in many mosques and Islamic school libraries. study says

The committee has urged the government to explore imam training and certification in an effort help curb radicalization, one of 25 recommendations it made in the interim anti-terrorism report.

A Canadian Muslim of Pakistani descent, Asmat Khan, carried on with anti-Canada,
anti-Ahmadi, and pro-Saudi propaganda today.

OTTAWA — Many mosques and Islamic schools in Canada are placing young people at risk by espousing — or at least not condemning — extremist teachings, a new study says.

Co-authors Thomas Quiggin, a former intelligence analyst with the Privy Council Office and the RCMP, and Saied Shoaaib, a journalist originally from Egypt, base their findings on research conducted quietly in mosque libraries and Islamic schools.

The study says what worried them was not the presence of extremist literature, but that they found nothing but such writings in several libraries.

“Further research is required to determine the depth and breadth of this problem,” the study says.

The authors say openly available material and analysis of social media postings helped confirm their views that many Canadians, including leading politicians, are turning a blind eye to the dangers.

They argue the issue is too important to ignore, given that a number of young Canadians have become radicalized to violence.

Canadian Muslims with humanist and modernist outlooks are being drowned out by those with extreme views, the study says. “The struggle for the soul of Islam between Islamists and humanists goes on in Canada and the U.S., not just in the Middle East, Europe and South Asia.”

The Canadian Council of Imams did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Liberal government plans to announce details soon of its plans for a national office of counter-radicalization to carry out research and co-ordinate activities across Canada.

One year ago, the Senate defence and security committee issued a report saying some foreign-trained imams had been spreading extremist religious ideology and messages that are not in keeping with Canadian values, contributing to radicalization.

The committee has urged the government to explore imam training and certification in an effort help curb radicalization, one of 25 recommendations it made in the interim anti-terrorism report.

When the report was released, an Ottawa imam, Mohamad Jebara, raised questions about its key recommendation.

“Who is going to do the certifying?” asked Jebara. “Islam is so diverse, like many religions. So what sect or school of thought are you going to certify?

“It is extremely complex,” he said. “It’s like having certification for Christian clergy. The question is: Would the Catholics, Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons agree on requirements for certification? Obviously not.”

Targeting Muslim clergy exclusively could backfire, said Jebara, and result in further marginalizing Muslims.

The committee report called on the government to work with the provinces and Muslim communities to “investigate the options that are available for the training and certification of imams in Canada.”

The report was not supported by Liberal senators on the committee. It was denounced by the National Council of Canadian Muslims as stigmatizing and failing to offer effective solutions to the challenge of violent extremism.

The Canadian Press, with files from Ottawa Citizen

iRabwah| News Watch |
Source/Credit: National Post

Saudi Arabia: Police Foil Attack By Pakistani Against Shi’ite Mosque

Saudi Arabia: Police Foil Attack By Pakistani Against Shi’ite Mosque

Saudi Arabia says it has thwarted a terrorist attack against worshipers at a Shi’ite mosque in the eastern governorate of Qatif.

The Interior Ministry said on August 24 that police questioned a Pakistani man the day before and discovered he was carrying a bomb inside a sports bag.

The ministry said police fired on the suspect, who died on the way to hospital.

The attempted attack occurred around sunset prayers, it added.

In July, Saudi Arabia identified a Pakistani man as being behind a suicide bombing outside the U.S. Consulate in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Since 2014, the Islamic State group has claimed a series of bombings and shootings targeting the Sunni-ruled kingdom’s minority Shi’a, as well as security forces.

iRabwah| News Watch |
Source/Credit: Radio Free Europe

Pakistan: MQM worker held for crimes including killings of Ahmadi man

Pakistan: MQM worker held for crimes including killings of Ahmadi man

KARACHI: Pakistan Rangers Sindh on Wednesday claimed to have arrested a suspect, affiliated with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), for the alleged killing of a member of Jamaat Ahmedia.

The suspect, according to the Rangers spokesman, works for the MQM “London Secretariat” and is also alleged to have committed street crimes in Karachi.

The arrest took place after Rangers conducted a raid in Paposh Nagar and Liaquatabad area of the metropolis.

It is pertinent to mention that this is the first time law enforcement agencies have mentioned the ‘London Secretariat’.

“One held suspect, Mohammed Abid, belonged to militant wing of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, London Secretariat,” said the Rangers spokesperson.

“He was involved in several murders and other criminal cases including one murder of member of Qadiani Jamaat,” he added.

Another held suspect, Mohammed Asif Ismail was involved in robberies and street crimes.

Arms and ammunition were seized from their custody.

Later on, the both suspects were handed over to the police for further legal action.

Earlier, a 50-year-old homeopathic doctor, belonging to the Ahmadi community, was shot dead in his clinic in the Abul Hasan Isphani area of the metropolis on June 20.

It was the second such attack in the same vicinity within a month, police and a community spokesman said.

“Dr Chaudry Abdul Khaleeq was gunned down in an attack on his clinic,” confirmed Malir SSP Rao Anwar.

iRabwah | News Watch |
Source/Credit: Daily Dawn Pakistan

Vietnam: Asian Seafood Raised on Pig Feces Approved for U.S. Consumers

Vietnam: Asian Seafood Raised on Pig Feces Approved for U.S. Consumers

At Ngoc Sinh Seafoods Trading & Processing Export Enterprise, a seafood exporter on Vietnam’s southern coast, workers stand on a dirty floor sorting shrimp one hot September day. There’s trash on the floor, and flies crawl over baskets of processed shrimp stacked in an unchilled room in Ca Mau.

Elsewhere in Ca Mau, Nguyen Van Hoang packs shrimp headed for the U.S. in dirty plastic tubs. He covers them in ice made with tap water that the Vietnamese Health Ministry says should be boiled before drinking because of the risk of contamination with bacteria. Vietnam ships 100 million pounds of shrimp a year to the U.S. That’s almost 8 percent of the shrimp Americans eat.

Using ice made from tap water in Vietnam is dangerous because it can spread bacteria to the shrimp, microbiologist Mansour Samadpour says, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its November issue.

“Those conditions — ice made from dirty water, animals near the farms, pigs — are unacceptable,” says Samadpour, whose company, IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group, specializes in testing water for shellfish farming.

Ngoc Sinh has been certified as safe by Geneva-based food auditor SGS SA, says Nguyen Trung Thanh, the company’s general director.

“We are trying to meet international standards,” Thanh says.

SGS spokeswoman Jennifer Buckley says her company has no record of auditing Ngoc Sinh.

At Chen Qiang’s tilapia farm in Yangjiang city in China’s Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong, Chen feeds fish partly with feces from hundreds of pigs and geese. That practice is dangerous for American consumers, says Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety.

“The manure the Chinese use to feed fish is frequently contaminated with microbes like salmonella,” says Doyle, who has studied foodborne diseases in China.

On a sweltering, overcast day in August, the smell of excrement is overpowering. After seeing dead fish on the surface, Chen, 45, wades barefoot into his murky pond to open a pipe that adds fresh water from a nearby canal. Exporters buy his fish to sell to U.S. companies.

Yang Shuiquan, chairman of a government-sponsored tilapia aquaculture association in Lianjiang, 200 kilometers from Yangjiang, says he discourages using feces as food because it contaminates water and makes fish more susceptible to diseases. He says a growing number of Guangdong farmers adopt that practice anyway because of fierce competition.

“Many farmers have switched to feces and have stopped using commercial feed,” he says.

About 27 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from China — and the shipments that the FDA checks are frequently contaminated, the FDA has found. The agency inspects only about 2.7 percent of imported food. Of that, FDA inspectors have rejected 1,380 loads of seafood from Vietnam since 2007 for filth and salmonella, including 81 from Ngoc Sinh, agency records show. The FDA has rejected 820 Chinese seafood shipments since 2007, including 187 that contained tilapia.

iRabwah| News Watch |
Source/Credit: Bloomberg News
By United Humanists |

USA: True Islam — educating muslims and non-muslims to combat fear

USA: True Islam — educating muslims and non-muslims to combat fear

“The people who don’t know Muslims, they are afraid of them,” said Syed Sajid Ahmad, a researcher at NDSU, while presenting a national campaign to educate Muslims and non-Muslims on True Islam to the Detroit Lakes Kiwanis Tuesday afternoon.

“Concerning war, there is a study. That study shows that if a soldier could see the other soldier, he was reluctant to pull the trigger,” Ahmad said, “but if the other soldiers were far away, and he could not see his face, then he pulled the trigger.”

Ahmad continued, saying it is the same in society: “The people who knew us (before 9/11), they know who we are and who we are not.”

Ahmad said that 9/11 was a turning point when the lack of education surrounding Islam turned into fear.

“You have seen the time before 9/11. How many times did Muslims commit anything which was close to terrorism before 9/11? The Muslims have been part of this society, and they have been a peaceful part of this society. They have contributed to this society.”

Ahmad spoke, campaigning for True Islam, inviting people to understand the religion, rather than fear it.

He spoke of the Ahmadiyyas denomination of Islam, which he is a part of, and how they are combating terrorism by helping people understand the religion.

“The Ahmadiyya community is the only community, which has organization–international organization–and it has one leader, which directs its activities all over the world,” Ahmad said. “Our community is more than 200 countries..we have national officers…hold annual meetings…no other Islamic community does that…the other Muslims, they are split between countries, between cities, between towns.” Ahmad stressed that the Sunnis and Shi’ite denominations of Islam, while they are larger sects, they “don’t have the unity” or leadership to control terrorism.

The Ahmadiyya community does have one leader, and their sect works towards peace through understanding with a number of campaigns: “Muslims for Loyalty,” “Muslims for Peace,” “Muslims for Life” and “True Islam.”

“To conquer the current spat of radicalization in the world, we have started some campaigns, and those campaigns address the problems which some of the Muslims have,” Ahmad said.

“Muslims for Loyalty” is a campaign throughout the Islam religion, which teaches that “whatever country you live in, you have to be loyal to that country,” Ahmad said, seguaying into the next campaign: “Muslims for Peace.”

“Muslims for Peace” teaches that “Islam does not allow killing anybody or causing trouble in the land,” Ahmad said.

Next, Ahmad spoke of the campaign “Muslims for Life,” which began after 9/11.

“Every 9/11 we collect blood for life to give life to people,” Ahmad said, adding that Rep. Keith Ellison participates in the blood drive every year, which begins in Minnesota and is held all over the country “to show that we care for life and life is precious, and we have to save lives rather than take lives.”

Finally, Ahmed spoke of the “True Islam” campaign, which has 11 points, the first one being a rejection of any form of terrorism.

“These 11 points define the True Islam. If anybody differs from them, it means he does not understand Islam properly,” Ahmed said.

Ahmed stressed that these campaigns are a way for Muslims and non-Muslims to “take responsibility for what is happening.”

“We have to make the people understand that this is right, this is wrong. And what is wrong, we have to point it out clearly, and that is the mission,” Ahmad said, adding that this is a mission the Ahmadiyyas have been on for the last 100 years, since they began teaching about Islam in Minnesota.

“The Quran forbids man to commit suicide,” Ahmad said, when questioned why certain sects of Islam participate in suicide bombing.

Ahmad said the suicide bombings are not justified by the Islamic religion, and those terroristic acts are politically-based, rather than religion-based. “It goes back to politics. Like many organizations, they try to commit certain things to bring their cause to the attention of people,” Ahmad said, mentioning the recent highway protests that took place in Minneapolis after Philando Castile was fatally shot. “They blocked the highway in Minneapolis…now what about somebody going to hospital? You block all those people, and you make people suffer. They wanted to do a wrong thing for the right cause.”

Ahmad said True Islam does not believe in ends justifying means.

“In our community we tell our member that we are not allowed to go and strike,” Ahmad said.

Instead, the Ahmadiyyas focus on their mission: educating others about True Islam to eliminate uninformed fear surrounding the religion.

iRabwah| News Watch |

Source/Credit: DL-Online

Turkey and The ISIS Conundrum

Turkey and The ISIS Conundrum

Turbulent times as Turkey faces yet another tragic attack. While the world celebrates the end of Rio Olympics with all its glory, a suicide bomber struck at a wedding claiming over 50 innocent lives of men, women. and children in the southeastern city of Gaziantep. As members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, we condemn this attack in the strongest terms and send our prayers of patience and fortitude to the victims of this terrifying massacre. To add more disbelief, the age of the bomber was between 12-14. Terrible, how innocent children can be brainwashed to commit crimes against humanity without an ounce of remorse.

These are doings of a perverted mindset with a sinister agenda of spreading the narrative of fear and dissension amongst people and nations. This will only sow the seeds of hatred and discord. The so-called religious scholars and government of Turkey should be held responsible for such violence. The former exploits the poor and destitute sections of the society by taking in children and young impressionable minds. The clerics compulsively instill hatred to breed a dangerous ideology of fanaticism and extremism. These children, as well as adults, are not aware of the peaceful teachings of Islam as noted by a recent news feed that has shown 70% of ISIS affiliates have no knowledge of Islam and are being given copies of ‘Quran for Dummies’ and ‘Islam for Dummies’ to learn about the religion. They are coerced into believing a hardline interpretation of cherry-picked verses of the Holy Quran, much like the Islamophobes of today.

On the other hand, the government of Turkey must take all measures to protect their people and to reinvest in them to develop infrastructure and academic institutions that will fill the vacuum of ignorance and dispel the likelihood of children falling into the hands of terrorists. This will not only save their present generation from corruption but ensure the security of their future generations and out of the ashes will rise a powerful nation. While all of this sounds wonderful, justice is the key to success. Islam implores Muslims to look after the needs of orphans and poor regardless of their caste, creed and color as the Quran states “So give the kinsmen his due and to the needy, and to the wayfarer. That is best to seek the favor of God. It is they who will prosper” (30:39). Islam opposes circulation and accumulation of wealth in the hands of single individuals but rather promotes the distribution of wealth amongst all layers of society. This is the prescribed method of the Holy Quran to prevent wars and civil unrest (2:276-280).

Truth be told, terrorism has no religion and to label it anything otherwise is grave ignorance. In the past decade or so, the word Islam has been synonymously used with terrorism by mainstream media. However it cannot be farther from the truth as the Quran explicitly exhorts Muslims to protect and save lives. It says that whosoever saved a life is as if he had saved the whole of mankind and vice-versa (5:33). The mainstream media tends to paint the picture that depicts Islam as the enemy of mankind but in actual fact, Islam is the only answer. Muslims need to understand the message of True Islam which is peaceful. To serve this purpose, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of USA has undertaken a nationwide campaign of True Islam and The Extremists which highlights 11 points the extremists are using to distort the teachings of Islam and recruit more terrorists to join their ranks.

I will now end this article with a fitting response of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (The Caliph of Islam and the 5th Supreme Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community) to extremists and a word of caution for Islamophobes, “If a person does not follow a particular teaching properly whilst claiming to subscribe to it, then it is he who is in error, not the teaching. From cover to cover, the Holy Qur’an teaches love, affection, peace, reconciliation and the spirit of sacrifice. Hence, if anybody portrays Islam as an extreme and violent religion filled with teachings of bloodshed, then such a portrayal has no link with the real Islam.” (Message to Pope Benedict XVI, 6 December 2011).

iRabwah | News Watch |
Source/Credit: Patheos | Islam-Ahmadiyya