EarthLink – News

EarthLink – News

EarthLink – News

Pakistani army plane crashes into homes, killing at least 18
By MOHAMMAD YOUSAF and MUNIR AHMED | Tue, July 30, 2019 02:28 EDT
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani military plane on a training flight crashed into homes near the garrison city of Rawalpindi before dawn on Tuesday, killing at least 18 people, most of them on the ground.
Fires, damaged homes and debris were visible in Mora Kalu village on the outskirts of Rawalpindi after daybreak. After rescue efforts ended, troops and police cordoned off the residential area to search for plane debris and investigate the crash site.
Rescue officials said there were no survivors on the plane and that 13 civilians were killed on the ground. The army said in a statement that five crew members, including two pilots, died in the crash.
Farooq Butt, an official at the state-run emergency service, said 15 people were also injured in the crash. There were concerns the death toll could rise further since some of those injured were in critical condition.
“We have moved all the bodies and injured persons to hospitals,” Butt told The Associated Press. “Most of the victims received burn injuries.”
He added that there were children among the dead.
Residents said they woke up when they heard an explosion and saw debris of a burning plane near their homes. Army helicopters were seen hovering over the crash site later.
“My sister, her husband and their three children were killed when the plane crashed into their home,” said Mohammad Mustafa, as he sobbed near his sister’s badly damaged home. He said rescuers and troops quickly reached the area after the crash.
Several men and women who lost their relatives in the crash were seen wailing and crying as rescuers put charred bodies of the victims into ambulances. Footage on social media showed the plane was flying very low before it quickly went down.
Abdul Rehman, a medical doctor, said at least three homes were badly damaged and the pilots’ bodies had been retrieved.
“According to our latest information, a total of 18 people were killed in the plane crash. They include five crew members and 13 civilians who were killed when the plane crashed into homes and quickly caught fire,” he said.
Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan in separate statements expressed their condolences.
The military said the army aircraft was on a routine training flight when it crashed, but had no information on the possible cause. An investigation was underway.
Pakistan’s military has been on high alert since February, when India launched an airstrike inside Pakistan to target Pakistan-based militants behind the suicide bombing that killed 40 Indian troops in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Pakistan at the time retaliated and said it shot down two Indian air force planes. One Indian pilot was captured and later released amid signs of easing tensions.
In 2010, a Pakistani passenger jet crashed into the hills surrounding the capital, Islamabad, in poor weather, killing all 152 people on board.
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Ahmed reported from Islamabad. Associated Press writer Asim Tanveer in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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California shooting claims boy who loved cologne, sports fan
Mon, July 29, 2019 08:23 EDT
GILROY, Calif. (AP) — Three young people died when a gunman opened fire at a popular California food festival this past weekend. Two were children, including a 6-year-old who was a sharp dresser, and the other was a 25-year-old college graduate who loved sports.
Here’s what we know about the victims so far:
STEPHEN ROMERO
The 6-year-old died at a hospital after he was shot in the back.
The boy’s father, Alberto Romero, told the San Jose Mercury News that he was at home in San Jose when his wife called to say that she, her mother and their son had been shot.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening, that what she was saying was a lie, maybe I was dreaming,” he said.
He rushed to the hospital to see his son.
“They told me he was in critical condition and that they were working on him,” he said. “Five minutes later, they told me he was dead.”
Stephen was called “El Romantico” by his uncle because of his good manners, his pressed, button-down shirts and his love of ballads by his favorite singer, The Weeknd.
“He wouldn’t leave the house unless he had cologne on,” Noe Romero told the San Francisco Chronicle.
He described the boy as “a very outgoing kid, very loving.”
The boy’s cousin is San Jose City Council member Maya Esparza, who said on Facebook she was “angry, so angry.” She added, “This violence has to stop.”
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KEYLA SALAZAR
The 13-year-old from San Jose died at the scene. In photos posted on her aunt’s Facebook page, Keyla is seen dressed in pink, wearing a tiara of flowers and smiling as she poses with relatives.
“I have no words to describe this pain I’m feeling,” Katiuska Pimentel Vargas wrote. “Keyla you are an angel and we will miss you with all of our hearts. You were too young to be taken from us.”
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TREVER IRBY
The 25-year-old was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan with a broad smile who majored in biology and graduated in 2017 from Keuka College in upstate New York, where he grew up.
He lived in the tiny town of Romulus, northwest of New York City.
Dionna Williams, Irby’s aunt, posted a photo online of her grinning nephew wearing a graduation cap and gown.
“My nephew was one of the victims of the Gilroy Festival in California,” Williams wrote. “Please pray for our family. RIP Trevor.”
Pictures on Irby’s Facebook page show him decked out in Steelers garb with his arm around his girlfriend, Sarah Warner.
Warner, also a Keuka alumnus, was with Irby at the festival but wasn’t hurt, college President Amy Storey said.
“We are shocked that this latest episode of senseless gun violence resulted in the loss of one of our recent graduates — graduates in whom we place so much hope because of their potential to create a brighter tomorrow,” Storey said in a statement.
Irby graduated in 2012 from Romulus High School.
“Trevor was a multi-sport athlete, member of the drama club, band and friend to everyone he knew here in Romulus,” school officials said in a statement. “Trevor was the type of student who could bring joy, laughs, and comfort to everyone he met.”
“This is heartbreaking,” Keuka alum Samantha Napolitano wrote.
Keuka College is planning a memorial for Irby at the campus that’s about 70 miles (113 kilometers) southwest of Syracuse, New York.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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A history of racism is woven into the US presidency
By RUSSELL CONTRERAS | Tue, July 30, 2019 10:24 EDT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — When President Donald Trump drew widespread condemnation for describing a majority-black congressional district as a “rat and rodent infested mess” and for tweets targeting four Democratic congresswomen of color, it was not the first time a U.S. president attracted such attention.
Throughout American history, presidents have uttered comments, issued decisions and made public and private moves that critics said were racist, either at the time or in later generations. The presidents did so both before taking office and during their time in the White House.
Many of the early presidents, George Washington to Zachary Taylor, owned black slaves and held power when African Americans, Native Americans and Latinos did not have the right to vote or serve on juries and could be refused service in public accommodations. They often repeated racist views that were commonly held in their times, even when challenged by scholars or civil rights leaders.
Before he became the nation’s third president, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” But in his only book, “Notes on the State of Virginia,” published in 1785, the future president expressed a series of beliefs about African Americans that would be seen today as racist.
He wrote that blacks were cursed with “a very strong and disagreeable odor” and were incapable of producing art and poetry. And though he said he believed slavery was immoral, he owned slaves and, historians say, carried on a sexual relationship with at least one of them, Sally Hemings. If every black slave were ever freed, he wrote, they should be deported since he believed blacks and whites could not live together peacefully.
Andrew Jackson, the nation’s seventh president, was also a slaveholder from the South. Before he became president, he offered in an 1804 advertisement $50 for the return of a runaway slave and $10 extra “for every hundred lashes any person will give him, to the amount of 300.” In Jon Meacham’s 2008 book “American Lion: Andrew Jackson and the White House,” Meacham wrote that Jackson owned around 150 slaves and freed none of them in his will.
As president, Jackson allowed his postmaster general to let Southerners seize anti-slavery publications, in direct violation of the First Amendment. He called the abolitionist pamphlets urging black equality “unconstitutional and wicked.”
Jackson is widely vilified today among Native Americans for his role in forcibly removing indigenous people from their land, especially for the Trail of Tears. The removal of the Cherokee people from Georgia led to thousands of deaths.
“The philanthropist will rejoice that the remnant of that ill-fated race has been at length placed beyond the reach of injury or oppression,” Jackson said in his farewell address.
The Virginia-born Woodrow Wilson worked to keep blacks out of Princeton University while serving as that school’s president. When he became president of the U.S., the Democrat refused to reverse the segregation of civil service, though he had won the White House with the support of some African American men.
In 1915, Wilson sparked outrage by screening the racist film “The Birth of a Nation” at the White House. The silent movie was the retelling of Reconstruction through the eyes of the Ku Klux Klan. The movie portrayed the KKK as heroes and African Americans as uncivilized.
“No explanation or apology followed” after the screening, Patty O’Toole wrote in “The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made.”
Wilson appeared oblivious during the “Red Summer” of 1919 — a time when communities across the country saw white mobs attack African Americans, resulting in hundreds of deaths. He spoke out against lynching but did not use the federal government’s resources to stop the violence.
Democrat Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency in 1963 after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and sought to push a civil rights bill amid demonstrations by African Americans. Johnson famously convinced skeptical lawmakers to support the measure and gave a passionate speech about his days as a teacher in Mexican American schools to urge Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act.
But according to tapes of his private conversations, Johnson routinely used racist epithets to describe African Americans and some blacks he appointed to key positions.
His successor, Republican Richard Nixon, also regularly used racist epithets while in office in private conversations.
“We’re going to (place) more of these little Negro bastards on the welfare rolls at $2,400 a family,” Nixon once said about what he saw as lax work requirements. Nixon also made derogatory remarks about Jews, Mexican Americans, Italian Americans and Irish Americans.
As with Johnson, many of Nixon’s remarks were unknown to the general public until tapes of White House conversations were released decades later.
Recently the Nixon Presidential Library released an October 1971 phone conversation between Nixon and then California Gov. Ronald Reagan, another future president, The Atlantic reported Tuesday . Reagan in venting his frustration with United Nations delegates who voted against the U.S. dropped some racist language.
“Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan said. “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries — damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes.”
Nixon began laughing hard.
Reagan would launch his 1980 general election presidential campaign in Mississippi’s Neshoba County — a place where three civil rights activists were murdered in 1964.
Reagan ignored the criticism of his visit and told a cheering crowd of white supporters, “I believe in states’ rights.”
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This story replaces a previous version to correct the spelling of The Atlantic.
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Russell Contreras is a member of The Associated Press’ race and ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/russcontreras .

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Baltimore-area district pushes back against Trump comments
By JUANA SUMMERS and REGINA GARCIA CANO | Tue, July 30, 2019 10:07 EDT
BALTIMORE (AP) — As Latoya Peoples painted a mural with high school-age students Monday in Baltimore, she was determined not to let President Donald Trump’s recent tweets about the city “sink in too much.”
Peoples was in Sandtown-Winchester, the West Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray grew up years before his death in police custody in 2015 prompted a racial uprising. Now Baltimore is in the spotlight again, this time because of the president’s recent attacks on Rep. Elijah Cummings, a powerful Trump critic who has represented Maryland in Congress for decades. Trump called the congressman’s district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”
While parts of Maryland’s 7th Congressional District have struggled with poverty and crime, it also includes more affluent areas and Baltimore landmarks such as Johns Hopkins University and its hospital, the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Elsewhere are cultural touchstones like the Baltimore Museum of Art and the world-class Walters Art Museum.
Residents of Maryland’s largest city say their home bears no resemblance to the place Trump described.
“People think you can’t walk through here. It’s intimidating,” Peoples said. “It’s nothing like that.”
Trump’s tweets paint an incomplete picture of a sprawling district that spans Baltimore City and parts of surrounding counties. It has stretches of empty storefronts and boarded-up homes, as well as trendy neighborhoods dotted with manicured parks and restaurants. It also has Pimlico Race Course, which is home to the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of horse-racing’s annual Triple Crown.
Sari Garbis, who lives in Clarksville, more than 20 miles from Baltimore City, said her community is diverse and well-educated and that she is “very proud” that Cummings represents her.
“You’re talking about a congressman that needs to represent very diverse interests,” Garbis said. “I believe that he represents my interests as well, and with the same sense of purpose, as he does the people of Baltimore City.”
Clarksville is in Howard County, which is routinely counted among the nation’s most affluent. So is Ellicott City, a historic mill town. As he stood outside a recreation center, longtime resident Mac Chrysskos said that nearby Baltimore has a crime problem that needs to be brought under control, but that attacks on the district were “totally uncalled for and totally unfair.”
Cummings’ district, which is nearly 53% black, has a median household income of $60,929, though there is a sizeable wealth gap between white and black residents.
Few residents will deny that Baltimore has problems with violent crime and drugs. The city’s murder rate has soared in recent years, with Baltimore recording more than 300 homicides in 2018, most from gunfire. Residents say those struggles have compounded over the years, owing to institutional segregation and neglect by the federal government.
The city’s previous mayor was forced to resign earlier this year. In the past five years, there have been five police commissioners.
Residents are clear-eyed about the community’s challenges but frustrated by Trump’s comments, which seemed to shrink the city to a crime-infested caricature.
Nancy O. Greene, who has lived in Baltimore for 15 years, pointed to the thriving arts community in her neighborhood of Charles Village and throughout the district. Greene said she supports Cummings but complains about times when “money was needed and money wasn’t received” by district residents.
“You’re not going to keep Baltimore down,” she added. “Despite anything, people will come together to defend the city. It has a rich history from Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald — you name it. … You can’t say this city doesn’t have a lot going for it.”
Other parts of the city are represented by two other Democratic lawmakers: Reps. John Sarbanes and Dutch Ruppersberger. Statewide, Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1.
Earlier Monday, the Rev. Al Sharpton held a news conference at a West Baltimore church alongside former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, a Republican.
Trump has described Sharpton as “a con man” who “Hates Whites & Cops!” Sharpton said Trump “has a particular venom for blacks and people of color.”
For his part, Steele challenged Trump to visit blighted areas of West Baltimore and talk with residents to learn about their challenges and understand their “hard work and commitment.”
“Mr. President, come on down,” Steele said. “The streets are ready for you. The neighborhoods are ready for you … Put the tweet down, brother, and show up.”
But some local residents say they are not interested in a visit from Trump.
Benn Ray, who lives in the Remington neighborhood of Baltimore City and is the co-owner of Atomic Books in neighboring Hampden, said Trump “hasn’t ingratiated himself to the city, he hasn’t made himself welcome.”
“I don’t know what city he is describing,” he said of Trump’s attacks. “Like every other city, we have rats and crime. We have good neighborhoods and bad. But as a city, and a community, we endeavor to make things better.”
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Associated Press writers Matthew Daly in Washington and Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland, contributed to this report.

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Festival shooting claims 2 children, 25-year-old man
Tue, July 30, 2019 12:22 EDT
GILROY, Calif. (AP) — Three young people died when a gunman opened fire at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival in California this past weekend. Two were children — a teen who may have saved a relative’s life and a 6-year-old who was a sharp dresser — and the third was a 25-year-old New York college graduate who loved sports.
Here’s what we know about the victims so far:
STEPHEN ROMERO
The 6-year-old died at a hospital after he was shot in the back.
The boy’s father, Alberto Romero, told the San Jose Mercury News that he was at home in San Jose when his wife called to say that she, her mother and their son had been shot.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening, that what she was saying was a lie, maybe I was dreaming,” he said.
He rushed to the hospital to see his son.
“They told me he was in critical condition and that they were working on him,” he said. “Five minutes later, they told me he was dead.”
The boy was described by his grandmother as a kind, happy and playful kid who had just celebrated his birthday in June at Legoland in Southern California.
Stephen was called “El Romantico” by his uncle because of his good manners, his pressed, button-down shirts and his love of ballads by his favorite singer, The Weeknd.
“He wouldn’t leave the house unless he had cologne on,” Noe Romero told the San Francisco Chronicle.
He described the boy as “a very outgoing kid, very loving.”
The boy’s cousin is San Jose City Council member Maya Esparza, who said on Facebook she was “angry, so angry.” She added, “This violence has to stop.”
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KEYLA SALAZAR
The 13-year-old from San Jose may have inadvertently saved a family member’s life at the cost of her own, her aunt said.
The teenager was eating ice cream with her parents, two younger sisters and other family members when they heard what they thought were fireworks but then realized were gunshots, Katiuska Vargas said.
The family started to run away but Keyla stayed back to keep pace with her stepfather’s mother, who uses a cane, and was wounded.
“If Keyla hadn’t been there, her stepfather’s mother would have been shot,” Vargas said.
Keyla’s stepfather was also wounded as he went back for her, Vargas said.
Vargas, who lives in San Francisco, drove to Gilroy to help Keyla’s mother find out where the teenager was taken for treatment.
“We drove to every hospital multiple times,” she said.
Her father later received word that Keyla had died at a hospital.
“There are no words to describe the pain,” Vargas said.
Her aunt described Keyla as a hard-working student who loved drawing and video games and wanted to become an animator.
She loved animals and was planning on getting a puppy for one of her sisters, Vargas said.
“She was such a caring person,” Vargas said. “She would give everything to other people … We lost a really beautiful life.”
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TREVER IRBY
The 25-year-old was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan with a broad smile who majored in biology and graduated in 2017 from Keuka College in upstate New York, where he grew up.
He lived in the tiny town of Romulus, northwest of New York City.
Dionna Williams, Irby’s aunt, posted a photo online of her grinning nephew wearing a graduation cap and gown.
“My nephew was one of the victims of the Gilroy Festival in California,” Williams wrote. “Please pray for our family. RIP Trevor.”
Pictures on Irby’s Facebook page show him decked out in Steelers garb with his arm around his girlfriend, Sarah Warner.
Warner, also a Keuka alumnus, was with Irby at the festival and wasn’t hurt, college President Amy Storey said.
“We are shocked that this latest episode of senseless gun violence resulted in the loss of one of our recent graduates — graduates in whom we place so much hope because of their potential to create a brighter tomorrow,” Storey said in a statement.
Irby graduated in 2012 from Romulus High School.
“Trevor was a multi-sport athlete, member of the drama club, band and friend to everyone he knew here in Romulus,” school officials said in a statement. “Trevor was the type of student who could bring joy, laughs, and comfort to everyone he met.”
“This is heartbreaking,” Keuka alum Samantha Napolitano wrote.
Keuka College is planning a memorial for Irby at the campus that’s about 70 miles (113 kilometers) southwest of Syracuse, New York.

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