Texas church shooting leaves 26 dead

At least 26 people have been killed and 20 others wounded after a gunman opened fire at a Texas church during Sunday service. The attack happened at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small town in Wilson County. The victims’ ages ranged from five to 72. The suspected gunman was later found dead in his vehicle some miles away. Police identified him only as a “young, white male”, but US media named him as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26. Kelley is reported to have been discharged from the US Air Force in 2014 following a court-martial for assaulting his wife and child.

The motive for the killings is not yet clear. Texas Department of Public Safety regional director Freeman Martin said the attacker, dressed all in black and wearing a bulletproof vest, opened fire with an assault-style rifle outside the church at around 11:30 local time (17:30 GMT) and then moved inside. As the gunman left the church, a local citizen grabbed his own rifle and began shooting at the suspect, who then dropped his weapon and fled in a vehicle. The citizen pursued the suspect, who eventually drove off the road and crashed his car at the Guadalupe County line.

Police found the man dead in his car, but it is unclear if he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or from injuries received when fired on by the local citizen. The car contained several weapons. Mr Martin added: “We have multiple crime scenes. We have the church, outside the church. We have where the suspect’s vehicle was located. “We have been following up on the suspect and where he’s from. We have Texas Rangers at all the hospitals locating those and interviewing those who were injured.” Governor Greg Abbott, confirming the death toll, said it was the worst mass shooting in the history of Texas.

“This will be a long, suffering mourning for those in pain,” he said at a news conference on Sunday. The First Baptist Church’s pastor, Frank Pomeroy, told ABC News that his 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle, was among those killed. Mr Pomeroy, who was in Oklahoma at the time of the attack, described her as “one very beautiful, special child” in a phone call to the television outlet. At least 10 victims, including four children, were being treated at the University Health System in nearby San Antonio, the hospital said in a tweet.

Sheriff Joe Tackitt said authorities could not confirm the names of any victims yet as they continued to work through the crime scene. Officials said 23 people were found dead inside the church while two people were fatally shot outside. Another died in hospital, authorities said. One witness, Carrie Matula, told NBC News: “We heard semi-automatic gunfire… we’re only about 50 yards away from this church. “This is a very small community, so everyone was very curious as to what was going on.”

Sutherland Springs, which has a population of about 400, lies about 30 miles (50km) south-east of the city of San Antonio. President Donald Trump, on a tour of Asia, condemned the “act of evil” and said Americans would pull together. “And through the tears and through the sadness, we stand strong, oh so strong,” he added. The shooting comes just a month after a gunman in Las Vegas opened fire on an outdoor music festival, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds in the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history. Source BBC

Source: 3news


Beijing and Seoul agree to ‘normalize’ ties after THAAD

China and South Korea have agreed to get their relations back on track as soon as possible, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, following high level talks between the two countries.

Both countries attach a great importance to the bilateral ties, according to a statement on its website.

South Korea acknowledges China’s stance and concerns about the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system and it has made clear that the deployment of THAAD will not target any third country, and will not harm China’s strategic security and interests, the statement read.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said both countries agreed to normalize all forms of cooperation and exchanges “expeditiously.”

A US military vehicle which is a part of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system arrives in Seongju, April 26, 2017. /Reuters Photo

“Both sides shared the view that the strengthening of exchange and cooperation between South Korea and China serves common interests and agreed to expeditiously bring exchange and cooperation in all areas back on a normal development track,” South Korean Foreign Ministry said.

On Monday, South Korean Foreign Ministry Kang Kyung-wha told lawmakers Seoul will not mull any more deployment of THAAD and it will not participate in the US-led missile defense (MD) networks.

The US military has already installed a THAAD battery that includes six missile launchers in the southeastern county of Seongju.

The statements said the two countries also discussed the tension in the Korean Peninsula.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of an upcoming summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries in Vietnam on November 10-11.

Source: CGTN Global

China targets ‘high-quality’ over ‘high-speed’ economic growth

China will pursue quality economic development instead of high-speed growth over the next five years, a senior official confirmed at a press conference on Thursday morning to mark the end of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

On high-quality development

Yang Weimin, deputy head of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Finance and Economic Affairs, said that doubling the country’s GDP was no longer a key goal, with the focus shifting on “high-quality growth, not high-speed growth.”

Yang Weimin speaks at a press conference after the 19th CPC National Congress, October 26. /China.com.cn Photo

Yang urged a quality-first approach, giving priority to performance, efficiency and new growth drivers while pursuing deeper supply side reform to develop a modernized society.

Growth has shifted gears over the past five years from high-speed to medium-high, the official noted, adding that while China leads the world in capacity, “the main problem is insufficient quality.” Capacity cuts are now needed, he added.

Yang stressed that while strong growth will still be pursued, “the foundation is not solid enough, we still face challenges.”

Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said during his address to the opening session of the 19th CPC National Congress that China would deepen economic and financial reforms and open its doors to further foreign investment.

On achievements over the past five years

Yuan Shuhong, deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, briefed media on achievements made in “the truly remarkable” five years since 2012.

Yuan Shuhong, deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council. /CGTN Photo

With the gross domestic product rising from 54 trillion to 80 trillion yuan, China has maintained its position as the world’s second largest economy and contributed more than 30 percent to global economic growth, Yuan said.

He said the CPC has “solved many tough problems that were long on the agenda but never resolved and accomplished many things that were wanted but never got done.”

On Xi Jinping Thought

Wang Xiaohui, deputy head of the Publicity Department of  the CPC Central Committee, elaborated on Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, which was enshrined into the Party Constitution at the Congress.

The senior official said that the Thought has opened a new ground for Marxism, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, state governance and self-governance of the Party.

When asked why Xi’s name is used to name after Party’s guiding principle, Wang said to name a Party theory and guiding thought with the name of a leader is a common practice in international Communist movement, citing Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory as examples.

Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is “a crystallization of the collective wisdom of the whole Party and summary of the practical experience of the Party and the people. However, the main initiator is comrade Xi Jinping and he made big contributions to it. So we believe he deserves to have his name attached to this theory, which also shows the maturity and confidence in the Party’s theory,” Wang added.

On New Era and principal contradiction

Leng Rong, director of Party Literature Research Center of CPC Central Committee, analyzed on the connotation of the New Era and gave the sufficient basis on why principal contradiction has evolved.

The report defines the New Era as “Five Eras”. Leng said these eras can respectively answer the following questions: What kind of path will China follow? What historical tasks will China accomplish and how to fulfill the strategic arrangements? What development thought will China insist and what are China’s goals? What kind of ethos will be used to realize China’s goals? What contributions should China make to human society?

Leng Rong, director of Party Literature Research Center of CPC Central Committee /CGTN Photo

The Sixth Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1981 came up with the “principal Chinese contradiction at the primary stage of socialism,” which is the “contradiction between the people’s rising material and cultural needs and the low level of social production.”

However, in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress, Xi made the remarks that “the primary contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved to the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s growing need for a better life.”

Leng said, the change of people’s needs and social production are the sufficient basis to explain why principal contradiction has evolved.

“From material and cultural needs to the need for a better quality of life, and from backward social production to imbalanced and inadequate development, the changes in concept have reflected the tremendous progress of Chinese society, of the developmental needs for the current stage, and of the key requirements for advancing the cause of the Party and the country. Economic development will remain our central task. More emphasis will be put on all-round development in the New Era.” Leng added.

Meanwhile, Leng pointed out that China is still at the primary stage of socialism and will remain so for a long time to come, which will not be influenced by the change of principal contradiction.

On Party building

Jiang Jinquan, a discipline inspection official of the CPC, elaborated on Party building in a New Era, emphasizing on pushing efforts in effective Party building, weeding out corruption.

Jiang Jinquan, a discipline inspection official of the CPC /CGTN Photo

Deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) Xiao Pei noted that Xi emphasizes on strict Party self-governance as he dedicated one-eighth of the report to talk about it.

When asked whether the power of the Discipline Inspection Commissions will be further expanded once they work together with the Supervisory Commissions in the future, Xiao said it will not mean power expansion to any of the commissions but will just mean greater responsibility in enforcing both the disciplines and the law.

Xiao Pei, deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) /CGTN Photo 

The 19th CPC National Congress, a five-yearly event, concluded Tuesday in Beijing, enshrining Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era into the Party Constitution and installing a new Central Committee and a new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Source: CGTN Global

Toyota to halt operations at all Japan plants as typhoon precaution

Toyota Motor Corp will suspend operations at all of its assembly plants in Japan, including those of its subsidiaries, from Monday morning as a precautionary measure due to a powerful typhoon that is approaching Japan’s mainland, according to Reuters.

Tens of thousands across Japan were advised to evacuate, hundreds of flights were canceled and rail services were disrupted on Sunday as heavy rain and wind lashed a wide swathe of the country.

Japan’s national broadcaster NHK and other media said on Friday that the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC) was conducting onsite inspections at the company.

Major Japanese automakers and other companies have confirmed they have used Kobe Steel products affected by fake inspection data, but say they have found no safety concerns so far

Kobe Steel, a century-old industrial giant, has admitted to falsifying data on products sold to top customers. /Reuters Photo

The investigations by automakers, aircraft manufacturers and other customers of Kobe Steel follow the company’s disclosure earlier this month which said inspections data on a slew of products was faked or manipulated.

The extent of the problem is unclear because Kobe Steel has not identified by name the customers affected, and it is still investigating the problem.

The company later admitted to also falsified inspection data on iron powder and multiple other products, with problematic products sold to some 500 companies globally.

The misconduct ensnared a wide range of Japanese manufacturers, dealing a blow to the “Made in Japan” brand, as the problematic products have been used in cars, aircraft, Shinkansen bullet trains, and even rockets and defense equipment.

Source: CGTN Global

Spain Catalonia: Foreign minister denies ‘coup’ by Madrid

The Spanish Foreign Minister, Alfonso Dastis, has denied that his government’s move to reassert control over Catalonia amounts to a “coup”.

The speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, called measures announced by the government on Saturday a “de facto coup d’état”.

“If anyone has attempted a coup, it is the Catalan regional government, Mr Dastis told the BBC.

Madrid acted after regional leaders refused to halt an independence drive.

Independence supporters listen to Carles Puigdemont's speech on phones in Barcelona, 21 October
Anxious independence supporters listened to Carles Puigdemont’s speech on their smartphones in Barcelona

The Catalan government, led by President Carles Puigdemont, points to the majority “Yes” vote in a referendum on independence it held on 1 October in the teeth of a Spanish court ban.

Of the 43% of Catalans said to have taken part, 90% voted in favour of independence, it said.

Unionist parties who won about 40% of the vote at the 2015 Catalan elections boycotted the ballot and many anti-independence supporters stayed away, arguing it was not valid.

What is the Spanish government’s position?

On Saturday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced plans to sack Catalonia’s regional government and curtail some of the freedoms of its parliament.

Police inspector: ‘We are not politicians’

Reports suggest the central authorities will also seek to take control of Catalonia’s local police force and its public broadcaster, TV3.

“If there is a coup d’état, this is one followed by Mr Puigdemont and his government,” Mr Dastis told The Andrew Marr Show.

“What we are doing is following strictly the provision of our constitution,” he said, describing it as a “carbon copy of the German constitution”.

“If you look at the rest of democracies and certainly partners in the European Union, they wouldn’t accept a decision as such to be taken by a part of the country.”

Media captionSome 450,000 people protested on Saturday, local police said

He also argued that “many” images of police violence against protesters on referendum day were fake.

The government itself apologised to injured demonstrators days after the vote, as a result of which 1,066 people required medical attention, according to the Catalan health department.

The ferocity of the police response was reported at the time by the BBC’s Tom Burridge.

Read more…

Source:  BBC

Trump’s wealth down $600 mln, drops 92 spots on Forbes list

US President Donald Trump’s net worth slid by 600 million US dollars to 3.1 billion US dollars, according to the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans released on Tuesday.

Trump ranks 248 on the billionaires list this year, dropping 92 spots after coming in at 156 last year.

The president is now tied with 27-year-old Snap co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, the youngest person on the list.

The magazine attributed Trump’s decline to “a tough New York real estate market, particularly for retail locations; a costly lawsuit and an expensive presidential campaign.”


Bill Gates speaking at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2017 Goalkeepers event at the Lincoln Center in New York.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates topped the list for the 24th consecutive year with a net worth estimated at 89 billion US dollars.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, worth 81.5 billion US dollars, held on to the second spot, followed by Warren Buffett and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

According to Forbes, the combined net worth of the 400 billionaires totaled a record-breaking 2.7 trillion US dollars, up from 2.4 trillion US dollars in 2016.

It also takes a record 2 billion US dollars to enter this year’s list, a nearly 18 percent rise from last year.

China’s new mega-airport in Beijing that will open in 2019

In China, construction is underway for one of the biggest airports in the world. Beijing Daxing Airport is about 42 miles south of the city center and will be accessible by high-speed train.

According to Graphic Online’s Edmund Smith Asante, who visited the construction site on Monday in the company three full bus loads of local and international journalists, the new airport would take some of the aviation load off the Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) in Beijing.

The multi-billion project which begun in December 2014 is located between Yufa Town and Lixian Tang of Beijing Daxing District and Guangyang District of Langfang in the Hebei Province 46km from the Tian’anmen Square and 67km from the Capital Airport.

It is scheduled to be fully completed in 2019 and test flights conducted in October that same year.

Beijing public toilets install Facial scanners to check toilet paper theft

Briefing the journalists, the spokesperson for the contractors (Beijing Construction Engineering Group, Beijing Urban Construction Investment and Development Co. Ltd and China Construction 8th Engineering Division Co. Ltd), Mr Zhu Wenxin said the work was being carried out on schedule and it was certain the deadline for completion would be met.

It will cost $12.1 billion to build. The airport will serve 45 million passengers initially, but could eventually serve 100 million.

Below is a picture depicting the current construction stage.