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Desecration of Mahatma Gandhi’s Statue A Crime Against Humanity: India To US

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Indian Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu termed the desecration of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi as “crime against humanity”. 

“Gandhi’s statue is an iconic monument here. This is a federal piece of land, and this particular Park is controlled by the National Park Police. This was in fact, inaugurated in September 2000 by the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the then US President Bill Clinton,” Sandhu told ANI.

“And ever since that time we have seen many people come and sit here. They pay their respects. On the night of the 2nd and perhaps early morning of 3rd, some unknown elements, committed this. This is a crime against humanity…,” Sandhu told ANI in an exclusive interview.

The statue is situated in a small park maintained by the National Park Service, near the Embassy of India. The statue was vandalized by some unknown individuals last week.

“…I think there is wide recognition of that. We immediately reported it to the State Department, the deputy secretary of state called me. Also, we have registered cases with the Metropolitan Police and the Park police, and they are investigating the matter,” Sandhu said.

The Indian Ambassador informed that the US side has requested to be associated with restoration of the statue.

“As far as restoration is concerned, we received a request from the US side, that they would like to be associated with this, and it’s been very scientifically carried out. An expert is coming over and it will be done so as to bring it back to the way it looked, and there is already work being done on that and I think in another week that should be completed,” said the ambassador.

Asked about sentiment among US Congressmen, Senators, and people in the administration about India-US ties going forward, Sandhu said: “I have been speaking to a lot of policymakers on the think-tank side also, plus a lot of senators and Congressmen. There is certainly a very strong sentiment about India’s tackling of the COVID crisis. Two aspects, particularly stand out there.”

“One- they have taken note that the number of recoveries, almost 50 per cent in India are something which is very striking to them. Number two, they are also, noting that the number of deaths in India has been contained.

That is one aspect which has brought about a lot of positivity here. Second is India’s reliability on being a reliable supply partner,” he said. The Ambassador also recalled that India supplied medicines which were requested by the US side.

“You know that all the medicines which the United States requested us were supplied, and also the private parties here and that has left a very positive sentiment both in the US congress, amongst the policymakers as well as people at large. So, that is bringing about positivity for the future,” he said.

“Already, there is a lot of interest in investment moving into India, and I think on that, both sides, especially the Chambers are in touch with each other,” he added.

The Ambassador further stated that the government in India has already announced a number of measures, which will attract “business into India, investments into India”. “I am sure that this is only the start, much more will come,” said Sandhu.

Asian News International

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Death of Police Doctor due to inhalation of decontamination chemicals – Philippines ready for probe

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While it welcomes any investigation on the death of a police doctor allegedly due to inhalation of decontamination chemicals, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) clarified that it does not buy or distribute any disinfectant materials to any coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) quarantine facility in the country.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesperson Mark Cashean Timbal issued this statement Monday after reports claimed that the Philippine National Police (PNP) tagged the OCD as the source of the chemical that allegedly resulted in the death of Capt. Casey Gutierrez in a quarantine facility in Pasig last month.

“Wala pong binibili at binibigay na decontamination chemicals ang OCD para sa kahit anong Covid-19 facility (The OCD does not buy and distribute any decontamination chemicals to any Covid-19 facility). The only services that were arranged by OCD are: food catering, lodging for servicing personnel, provision of (personal protective equipment sets), hygiene kits, medical equipment and supplies, janitorial services, and waste collection and disposal. OCD is not involved in the actual management and operation of any Covid-19 facility liban po sa pagbibigay ng mga nabanggit (except for the services cited),” he said.

The OCD is the executive arm of the NDRRMC and the implementer of its programs.

“We are confident that the PNP, who manages the Ultra Covid-19 facility, would be able to resolve this matter by verifying where the said chemical actually came from and by examining their procedures involved in disinfecting the facilities they manage as well as the protection of their front-line staff,” Timbal added.

Meanwhile, the PNP clarified the OCD is neither blamed nor pointed to as the source of the concentrated disinfectant solution used by medical and healthcare personnel at the Philsports Arena Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility (PSA TTMF).

“In the interest of a thorough investigation, it was suggested that the OCD be asked to assist in the determination of the chemicals’ source given that it was OCD that accredited the service providers in the quarantine facilities operated by the PNP,” said PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac in a statement.

The PNP earlier noted that the chemical disinfectant used in another PNP-managed quarantine facility at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City is hypoallergenic and biodegradable and that the PSA TTMF and PICC have different service providers.

Philippines News Agency

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US Group donates books to Ilocos Norte State University, Philippines: PNA

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The San Diego County Metropolitan Lions Club (SDC-MLC) in San Diego, California donated on Monday a total of 364 books of various titles to the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) here to be used by its students and the Department of Education (DepEd).

The books were received by the University Library System (ULS) through a shipment package sent by Leo and Norma Sicat, president and Lion Tamer of SDC-MLC, respectively.

The package consisted of five titles in Geometry, Algebra 1 and 2, Milestones, Milestone Workbook, Milestone Teacher Education, Great Expectation, George Washington, Tale of Two Cities, Eleanor Roosevelt, The Meeting on Board HMS Bounty, The Three Musketeers, The Prince and the Pauper, Clara Barton, and The Man in the Iron Mask.

MMSU President Shirley C. Agrupis said that while the university took custody of the hard-bound donations, it will also donate some of these to the DepEd-Division Office in the City of Batac.

MMSU-ULS director Eliza Villarin said some of the books will be distributed to the MMSU main library and its satellite libraries in Laoag City, various high school campus libraries, and college reading centers.

Villarin said organizations and agencies that donate books to the university are considered as library friends because they help the university strengthen its collection of information resources for its students.

The book donation was the result of a tie-up between MMSU and the SDC-MLC in July 2019 through a signed memorandum of understanding which stipulates that the SDC-MLC will help augment the university’s learning resources and support its internationalization programs.

The MMSU and SDC-MLC also agreed to conduct humanitarian medical, dental and optical missions in various communities, and enhance the extension service competencies of MMSU’s faculty and staff.

Philippines News Agency

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Global Politics

Keep Protesting Against Racism But Wear Masks: World Health Organization

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The World Health Organization (WHO) chief on Monday encouraged those protesting against racism around the world to do things safely, including keeping a safe distance from others, cleaning hands, covering coughs, and wearing masks if at protests.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the thrice-weekly video press conference that the organization “fully supports” equality and the global movement against racism.

“We reject discrimination of all kinds,” said Tedros, noting, “We encourage all those protesting around the world to do so safely.”

Tedros said that almost seven million cases of Covid-19 had been reported to WHO, along with nearly 400,000 deaths.

“Although the situation in Europe is improving, globally, it is worsening,” said the WHO chief.

He said more than 100,000 cases had been reported on nine of the past 10 days. On Sunday, more than 136,000 cases were reported, the most in a single day so far.

Almost 75 percent of yesterday’s cases come from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and South Asia. Weekend protests erupted in cities around the world, such as Athens, Berlin, Cape Town, London, Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam, Sydney, and in the United States, to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

They were protesting the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by a white police officer in the US state of Minnesota.

In London and other places as well as in US cities such as New York, there were reports that protestors did not adhere to WHO recommendations on social distancing and wearing masks.

“As much as possible, keep at least one meter (3.2 feet) from others, clean your hands, cover your cough and wear a mask if you attend a protest,” said Tedros.

“We remind all people to stay home if you are sick and contact a health care provider.”

The WHO chief also encouraged countries to strengthen fundamental public health measures that remain the basis of the response to the novel coronavirus. “Find, isolate, test and care for every case, and trace and quarantine every contact,” he reiterated.

Tedros said that so far, WHO has shipped more than 5 million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) to 110 countries. It is also shipping more than 129 million items of PPE to 126 countries, he said.

Meanwhile, the fired Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for minutes on end last month made his initial court appearance Monday on charges related to the death of the handcuffed black man.

Derek Chauvin appeared via video link due to the coronavirus pandemic. Judge Jeannice Reding set Chauvin’s bail at $1 million with conditions or $1.25 million without them. The conditions reportedly cover a wide set of activities, including requiring the former officer to appear at all additional court sessions, not working in security or law enforcement, and not having a firearm.

Chauvin is next expected in court on June 29. Bystander footage of the arrest appears to show Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring Floyd’s pleas that he could not breathe before the victim lost consciousness during the fatal May 25 arrest.

Keith Ellison, the attorney general of the Midwestern state of Minnesota, upgraded charges against Chauvin last week after taking the lead on the prosecution days prior. Chauvin now faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

He also charged the three other officers who were on the scene with aiding and abetting. All four officers are in custody after being fired the day after Floyd’s death.

The public uproar over Floyd’s death triggered protests against police brutality and racism throughout the US and around the wider world.

A majority of Minneapolis’ City Council said Sunday they favor disbanding the city’s police force after striking a deal on Friday with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to ban chokeholds and the use of neck restraints as policing tactics.

It also requires police to halt and report any instances where fellow officers violate the policy.

Philippines News Agency

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