Posts Tagged ‘Israel grossman Blog’

More Than 3,700 Dead In Nepal As Earthquake Toll Rises

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 27 2015






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    A helicopter prepares to rescue people from Camps 1 and 2 at Everest Base Camp. The quake also triggered a massive avalanche that buried climbers at the Mount Everest base camp.





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    Residents are evacuated in a truck in Kathmandu on Sunday. A magnitude-6.7 aftershock rumbled Kathmandu and sent people running for open ground Sunday morning, a day after a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake ravaged Nepal and the region.







Nepal’s devastating earthquake that hit Saturday is now blamed for at least 3,700 deaths. Reconstruction is estimated to cost billions. International aid efforts are underway, but aftershocks are rattling survivors’ nerves and making the recovery even more challenging.

Rescue crews and aid groups are working to reach survivors — but their efforts are being hampered by the stricken areas’ remote locations. Roads that are drivable are clogged with traffic.

Officials warn the death toll could go much higher. The magnitude-7.8 quake has left nearly 1 million children in need of humanitarian aid, UNICEF says.

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A woman and child rest in the open outside a destroyed building Sunday, a day after a major earthquake destroyed homes in Kumalpur village on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. Nine people reportedly died in the small village, including four children.

Narendrea Shrestha/EPA/Landov


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A woman and child rest in the open outside a destroyed building Sunday, a day after a major earthquake destroyed homes in Kumalpur village on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. Nine people reportedly died in the small village, including four children.

A woman and child rest in the open outside a destroyed building Sunday, a day after a major earthquake destroyed homes in Kumalpur village on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. Nine people reportedly died in the small village, including four children.

Narendrea Shrestha/EPA/Landov

In one district, 400,000 people were affected by the quake and more than 4,000 homes are now unsafe to inhabit, NPR’s Julie McCarthy reports. From Kathmandu, Julie says many residents are both angry that more wasn’t done to reinforce Nepal’s structures against earthquakes and afraid that further tremors might bring more destruction.

“Until these aftershocks settle down, people will be terrified of them. News of them just consumes their conversations,” Julie tells Morning Edition. She adds, “People tell me they’re afraid even to go back into their homes to grab a blanket.”

As a result, thousands of Kathmandu residents have put up tents in open areas — and now there are new concerns, ranging from a shortage of tents to worries that the food and water supplies might only last until the end of this week, Julie says.

Many others are trying to leave the capital. Reuters reports:

“Roads leading out of the mountain valley city of one million were jammed with people, many with babies in their arms, trying to climb onto buses or hitch a ride aboard cars and trucks.

“Huge queues had formed at Kathmandu airport with people desperate to get a flight out.”

The ancient temples and court buildings of the city of Bhaktapur, a World Heritage site that is just east of the capital, did not fare well, Julie says.

“Interestingly, the National Musuem of Nepal was left standing, virtually untouched. It, among many buildings that had rumbled to the ground around it — beautiful wooden structures with intricate carved doors and windows — it was untouched, because it had been recently reinforced to withstand an earthquake.

The quake also triggered a massive avalanche that buried climbers at the Mount Everest base camp. Helicopter crews have been working to get climbers off the mountain. From the Nepalese capital, NPR’s Kirk Siegler reports on the search and rescue effort in the Himalayas.

“Ron Nissen, 70, was in a dining tent at the Everest base camp when he says the mountain shook. An avalanche of ice and debris came down over him and some fellow climbers.

” ‘The whole of the tent just got blown away,’ he says. ‘I just huddled on the ground flat as we could as the avalanche roared over the top of me.’

“Nissen walked away with just some scrapes and bruises, but he lost all his gear, money, and passport. He managed to find a jacket and he says he and some Sherpas and other climbers hiked down to the nearest village — where he caught a helicopter down to Kathmandu and is looking for help from the Australian embassy.”

Two of Nepal’s biggest international supporters, the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank, say they’re ready to help the recovery effort. The ADB said Monday that it is sending $3 million for immediate aid, promising another $200 million to help start rehabilitation.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/04/27/402521334/more-than-3-700-dead-in-nepal-as-earthquake-s-toll-rises?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Humanitarian Groups Arrive In Nepal To Help With Earthquake Aftermath

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 27 2015

The death toll continues to climb after an earthquake hit the small Himalayan nation of Nepal on Saturday. Renee Montagne talks Phil Ewert of the aid agency World Vision.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2015/04/27/402514845/weekend-earthquake-devastates-nepal?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

6 Novelists Withdraw From Event Honoring ‘Charlie Hebdo’ For Free Speech

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 27 2015

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Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, the late editor of Charlie Hebdo, is seen in September 2012. PEN American Center’s decision to give the French satirical magazine its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award has prompted six writers to withdraw from the annual event.

Michel Euler/AP


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Stephane Charb Charbonnier, the late editor of Charlie Hebdo, is seen in September 2012. PEN American Center's decision to give the French satirical magazine its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award has prompted six writers to withdraw from the annual event.

Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, the late editor of Charlie Hebdo, is seen in September 2012. PEN American Center’s decision to give the French satirical magazine its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award has prompted six writers to withdraw from the annual event.

Michel Euler/AP

Six writers have withdrawn from the PEN American Center’s annual gala on May 5 in protest against the free-speech organization’s decision to give the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award.

The writers who have withdrawn from the event are Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi, The New York Times reports.

In its decision to honor Charlie Hebdo, PEN America cited the satirical publication’s “dauntlessness in the face of one of the most noxious assaults on expression in recent memory.” An attack on Jan. 7 by Islamist militants on the magazine and its staff killed 12 people, including some of its top cartoonists and editors. In a statement, PEN added:

“The day after the attack, the surviving staff of Charlie Hebdo magazine vowed to continue publication, releasing their next edition on time with a print run expanded from 40,000 to over eight million under the mantra ‘All is Forgiven,’ donating all proceeds to the families of the victims. The Charlie Hebdo attacks dealt a blow to the bedrock principle that no act of expression, no matter how provocative or offensive, can justify violence.”

Charlie Hebdo had long pilloried political and religious figures, but it was the publication’s depiction of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad that had drawn intense scrutiny — as well as death threats from militant groups. Many Muslims consider any depiction of their prophet — even positive ones — to be offensive. Critics of the magazine say Charlie Hebdo was being deliberately provocative.

Kushner, in an email to the Times, said she was withdrawing from the May 5 PEN gala because she was uncomfortable with Charlie Hebdo‘s “cultural intolerance” and promotion of “a kind of forced secular view.” Those views, the Times added, were echoed by the other writers who pulled out of the event.

Carey told the Times that PEN, in its decision, was going beyond its role of protecting freedom of expression.

“A hideous crime was committed, but was it a freedom-of-speech issue for PEN America to be self-righteous about?” he said in an email to the newspaper.

Novelist Salman Rushdie, a past president of PEN who spent years in hiding because of a fatwa over his novel The Satanic Verses, criticized the writers for pulling out, saying while Carey and Ondaatje were old friends of his, they are “horribly wrong.”

In a statement Sunday, PEN said: “We do not believe that any of us must endorse the content of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons in order to affirm the importance of the medium of satire, or to applaud the staff’s bravery in holding fast to those values in the face of life and death threats.”

It added:

“We recognize that these issues are complex, and that there are good faith differences of opinion within our community. ‎At PEN, we never shy away from controversy nor demand uniformity of opinion across our ranks. We will be sorry not to see those who have opted out of the gala, but we respect them for their convictions.”

The award for Charlie Hebdo will be accepted by the publication’s film critic and essayist Jean-Baptiste Thoret, who had arrived to work late on the day of the attack.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/04/27/402541818/6-novelists-withdraw-from-event-honoring-charlie-hebdo-for-free-speech?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Fruit Loops And Crying Travelers: The Trials Of Flight Attendants

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 26 2015

On this week’s travel segment, Wingin’ It!, NPR’s Rachel Martin speaks with Gailen David, a flight attendant for more than 20 years, about what life is really like up in the air.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2015/04/26/402353794/fruit-loops-and-crying-travelers-the-trials-of-flight-attendants?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

High-Altitude Rescue Underway On Everest

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 26 2015

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People approach the scene after an avalanche triggered by a massive earthquake swept across Everest Base Camp, Nepal on Saturday. At least 17 people have been killed on the mountain.

Azim Afif/AP


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People approach the scene after an avalanche triggered by a massive earthquake swept across Everest Base Camp, Nepal on Saturday. At least 17 people have been killed on the mountain.

People approach the scene after an avalanche triggered by a massive earthquake swept across Everest Base Camp, Nepal on Saturday. At least 17 people have been killed on the mountain.

Azim Afif/AP

Following a powerful quake that has killed more than 2,000 people in Nepal, a high-altitude effort is underway on the slopes of the world’s highest peak to rescue trapped climbers and recover the bodies of those killed when the temblor triggered a massive avalanche that swept base camp.

At least 17 people were killed and more than 60 injured when a wall of snow and ice shook loose from the mountain and smashed through the tent city that is Everest Base Camp –- a staging area on the south (Nepalese) side of the mountain for support teams and climbers trying to reach the top of the 29,029-foot mountain.

Other climbers are reportedly trapped higher up on the mountain, at or near Camps 1 and 2.

In a post from Saturday, we collected tweets from climbers and officials about the situation on the mountain in the hours immediately after the earthquake and avalanche.

Eric Simonson of Washington-based International Mountain Guides reports that his spoken to his team via sat phone and that “All the IMG members and [Sherpas] are safe. The many climbers up at Camps 1 and 2 from several different teams are all doing well.”

“Unfortunately, the news from [Everest Base Camp] is quite bleak,” Simonson adds, reporting that the earthquake caused a huge block of ice to snap off high up the mountain.

“The tons and tons of falling ice going this vertical distance created a huge aerosol avalanche and accompanying air blast that hit the upper part of Everest BC and blew many tents across the Khumbu Glacier towards the lower Icefall,” he writes.

Pemba Sherpa, 43, a Mount Everest guide, is quoted by The Associated Press saying he was swept almost 1,000 feet by the tumbling wall of ice and snow and “lost consciousness” briefly.

“There are still many people who are still missing on the mountain. There were several tents buried by the snow, several blown away,” he was quoted by the AP as saying.

Meanwhile, reports from the north (Tibetan) side of the mountain, where many few climbers make attempts, appear to be much better than those from the Nepali side.

Summit attempts are traditionally made during short breaks in the weather in early May, so many climbers and their Nepali Sherpa porters were on the mountain when the earthquake occurred just before noon local time on Saturday.

The first group of survivors was flown to Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, but none of their injuries appear to be life threatening, according to the AP.

The news agency says: “Twenty-two of the most seriously injured had already been taken by helicopter for treatment in the village of Pheriche, the location of the nearest medical facility. But bad weather and communications were hampering more helicopter flights, said Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.”

This is Dans little sister Megan. I regret to inform all who loved him that during the avalanche on Everest early this morning our Dan suffered from a major head injury and didn’t make it. We appreciate all of the love that has been sent our way thus far and know his soul and his spirit will live on in so many of us. All our love and thanks to those who shared this life with our favorite hilarious strong willed man. He was and is everything to us. Thank you.

A photo posted by Dan Fredinburg (@danfredinburg) on Apr 25, 2015 at 11:27am PDT

Among the climbers reportedly killed on the mountain is Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive who handled product management for the tech giant’s privacy team. StartupGrind.com, a website that follows the tech industry, says that Fredinburg co-founded the Google Adventure Team “to translate the Google Street View concept into extreme, exotic locations like the summit of Mount Everest or the Great Barrier Reef off Australia.”

Fredinburg’s sister posted the news of her brother’s death on his Twitter account and Jagged Globe, the Everest team he belongs to, also posted a statement.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/04/26/402355842/high-altitude-rescue-underway-on-everest?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Eliud Kipchoge Edges Out Fellow Kenyans To Win London Marathon

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 26 2015

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Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge (left) celebrates winning the London Marathon next to runner-up and last year’s winner Wilson Kipsangm also of Kenya, on Sunday.

Facundo Arrozabalaga/EPA/Landov


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Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge (left) celebrates winning the London Marathon next to runner-up and last year's winner Wilson Kipsangm also of Kenya, on Sunday.

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge (left) celebrates winning the London Marathon next to runner-up and last year’s winner Wilson Kipsangm also of Kenya, on Sunday.

Facundo Arrozabalaga/EPA/Landov

In his first London Marathon win, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge edged past his countryman and defending champ Wilson Kipsang to win the distance race by five seconds, with a final time of 2:04:47. Fellow Kenyans, including the world-record holder, rounded out the third and fourth spots.

ESPN writes:

“In a tight finale, Kipchoge broke clear of Kipsang in the final 800 meters before waving and pointing at the crowd in front of Buckingham Palace as he finished five seconds in front of his compatriot.

“Kipsang still holds the course record of 2:04:29, which he set last year.”

“It was a tough race. My training paid off and it went to plan,” Kipchoge told reporters. “The crowd were wonderful and lifted me for my sprint finish.”

Reuters reports:

“The narrow, twisting turns of London’s course, compounded by blustery conditions, were not conducive to world record pace and an assault on [Dennis] Kimetto’s 2:02.57 set in September’s Berlin marathon was unlikely. …

“Kipchoge and Kipsang made their break along the banks of the River Thames and as the pair geared up for a sprint finish it was Kipchoge who opened up a narrow gap in the final kilometer and Kipsang was unable to reel him in.”

And ESPN notes:

“[While] Kenya dominated the men’s race, a four-year winning streak for the East African nation ended in the women’s event. Tigist Tufa became only the second Ethiopian woman to win in London, emulating Derartu Tulu’s triumph in 2001.

“The 28-year-old Tufa won her first major marathon in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 22 seconds, with two-time winner Mary Keitany of Kenya 18 seconds adrift. Tufa’s compatriot, Tirfi Tsegaye, was third.”

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/04/26/402360988/eliud-kipchoge-edges-out-fellow-kenyans-to-win-london-marathon?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Flood Of Desperate Refugees Tests Spaniards’ Tolerance

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 25 2015

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Migrants wait to disembark at the Catania harbor in southern Italy on April 24. In recent weeks, hundreds of migrants leaving Libya have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to European countries, including Italy, Spain and Greece.

Alessandra Tarantino/AP


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Migrants wait to disembark at the Catania harbor in southern Italy on April 24. In recent weeks, hundreds of migrants leaving Libya have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to European countries, including Italy, Spain and Greece.

Migrants wait to disembark at the Catania harbor in southern Italy on April 24. In recent weeks, hundreds of migrants leaving Libya have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to European countries, including Italy, Spain and Greece.

Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Pepe Guerrero is a doorman at a high-rise building in Malaga, on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. From his post he looks out at the turquoise blue waters — where hundreds of Arab and African migrants have drowned in recent weeks.

“They’re people — human beings like us,” he says. “Searching for a better life.”

But Guerrero says he’s divided. He says his heart goes out to those fleeing war and poverty, but he also worries about whether the local economy can absorb them. The jobless rate in the Andalusia region of southern Spain is 34 percent.

“It’s so high, the unemployment rate,” Guerrero says. “Spaniards themselves are migrating abroad because they can’t find work.”

Unlike northern Europeans, Spaniards have more experience with emigrating than receiving immigrants from abroad.

Spain is still relatively homogenous — white and Catholic. An economic boom in the early 2000s brought an influx of immigrants, mostly Latin Americans, to work in sectors like construction, but then the Spanish economy collapsed — and some began to see the newcomers as a burden on society.

It’s into this dynamic that desperate refugees are arriving by the thousands, often in rubber rafts. Malaga is about 100 miles north of the coast of Africa.

“They’ve been cheated by these traffickers,” says Guerrero, with a shrug. “I’m not sure what they expect to find here.”

He says he worries those immigrants could be cheated in Spain, too — or that they could cheat him and other Spaniards out of jobs.

Spain has no far-right anti-immigrant political party like the Northern League in Italy or Golden Dawn in Greece; Spain hasn’t had as many immigrants for that long. But that’s changing — both the number of immigrants and people’s attitudes toward them — which has experts worried.

“The economic crisis has worsened the view Spanish society has of these migrants,” says Alejandro Cortina, the director of Malaga Acoge — which means Malaga Welcome in English — an NGO that helps newly arrived immigrants. “[The economic crisis] creates fear and distorts the reality.”

To try to change that, Cortina’s group has launched a campaign called Stop Rumors — to challenge stereotypes of immigrants. NGO workers and volunteers give presentations in area schools to raise awareness of the plight of migrants trying to reach Spanish territory. The program is funded partly by the Spanish government, and partly by the European Union.

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High school kids make drawings of what immigration means to them as part of a Stop Rumors seminar run by Malaga Welcome, an NGO that works with newly arrived migrants and tries to change stereotypes about them. This student’s drawing is of migrants from Africa arriving on rafts on Spain’s coast.

Lauren Frayer/NPR


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High school kids make drawings of what immigration means to them as part of a Stop Rumors seminar run by Malaga Welcome, an NGO that works with newly arrived migrants and tries to change stereotypes about them. This student's drawing is of migrants from Africa arriving on rafts on Spain's coast.

High school kids make drawings of what immigration means to them as part of a Stop Rumors seminar run by Malaga Welcome, an NGO that works with newly arrived migrants and tries to change stereotypes about them. This student’s drawing is of migrants from Africa arriving on rafts on Spain’s coast.

Lauren Frayer/NPR

In a high school in Torremolinos, a suburb of Malaga, Stop Rumors volunteers start by asking kids to draw a picture of what immigration means to them.

“I think the drawing is a good way to make them think about their stereotypes,” says Juan Alberto Ruiz Casado, who volunteers with the group. “Mainly we saw boats crossing from Africa to Spain. Very few people draw, like, airplanes.”

But more than 60 percent of immigrants come to Spain by airplane, not rubber raft, and most are from Eastern Europe or Latin America. They find work and pay taxes, and government data show they use Spain’s public health system less, on average, than native Spaniards. But a different, negative stereotype persists.

“I think some people are scared. Like, when you see a big Moroccan guy or a big African guy, usually you think: ‘I’m going to cross the street. I don’t want to walk in the same street. Maybe he jumps me, attacks me, robs me,’ ” says Kunal Keswani, a 16-year-old student attending the Stop Rumors seminar. “People have that concept of them — and not just a small percentage of people. It’s a big percentage actually — many people are racist.”

Keswani himself was born in Spain to immigrant parents.

“My parents are from India — they came here looking for a job. I grew up here,” he explains, adding that he has felt discrimination himself. “But yeah, if would have had darker skin I think it would be way worse.”

Until now, the Spanish government’s policy toward migrants has been to try to stop them from coming — by fortifying its borders, especially at two North African enclaves, where tens of thousands of migrants try to jump fences into Europe each year.

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Juan Alberto Ruiz Casado speaks to high school students in Spain’s Malaga province about challenging stereotypes of immigrants. Here he explains how most immigrants arrive in Spain by airplane — not by rubber raft.

Lauren Frayer/NPR


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Juan Alberto Ruiz Casado speaks to high school students in Spain's Malaga province about challenging stereotypes of immigrants. Here he explains how most immigrants arrive in Spain by airplane  not by rubber raft.

Juan Alberto Ruiz Casado speaks to high school students in Spain’s Malaga province about challenging stereotypes of immigrants. Here he explains how most immigrants arrive in Spain by airplane — not by rubber raft.

Lauren Frayer/NPR

If migrants do manage to get here, the government houses them in prison-like facilities — which creates a stigma, says Cortina, the NGO director.

“It’s all about militarizing the borders and stripping away migrants’ rights,” Cortina says of Spanish government policy.

Spain has spent more than $270 million fortifying its borders in the past five years. At a meeting Thursday in Brussels, European leaders announced they would triple their funding for maritime missions in the Mediterranean.

But Cortina says the money would be better spent resettling refugees and helping them assimilate. His budget is just $3 million over five years.

“You know how many lives I could save and improve, with that money?” Cortina asks. “If I only had the budget they use to put up fences — we could really change things.”

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/04/25/402035778/flood-of-desperate-refugees-tests-spaniards-tolerance?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Powerful Quake Hits Nepal; Death Toll Rising

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 25 2015

An estimated 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook Nepal on Saturday. It’s being described as the strongest quake to hit the country in 81 years. NPR’s Scott Simon talks to Red Cross spokesman Mark South.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2015/04/25/402159988/powerful-quake-hits-nepal-death-toll-rising?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Nearly 1,000 Dead In Powerful Earthquake In Nepal

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 25 2015






Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET

A powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake has struck Nepal near the capital Kathmandu today, killing at least 876 people there as well as dozens in three neighboring countries as it leveled houses and temples and triggered avalanches on Mount Everest at the peak of the climbing season there.

Authorities feared the death toll was likely to go up — perhaps dramatically — as more information comes in from remote and isolated parts of the region. The Associated Press says that the earthquake “shook several cities across northern India, and was felt as far away as Lahore in Pakistan, Lhasa in Tibet, and in Dhaka, Bangladesh.” Kathmandu’s international airport was shut down following the temblor, the news agency says.

“We need support from the various international agencies which are more knowledgeable and equipped to handle the kind of emergency we face now,” Nepal’s Information Minister Minendra Rijal was quoted by the BBC as saying.

It is the worst quake to hit the South Asian nation since 1934, when a massive one all but destroyed Kathmandu.

In today’s temblor, Deputy Inspector General of Police Komal Singh Ban said at least 876 are confirmed dead in Nepal and that the toll is expected to rise. Dozens were also confirmed dead in neighboring India, the Tibet region of China and Bangladesh, according to the AP.

In Kathmandu, people described panic and ruin amid collapsed buildings. The Associated Press quotes Pushpa Das, a laborer, as saying he ran from his house when the first quake struck but could not escape a collapsing wall that injured his arm.

“It was very scary. The earth was moving … I am waiting for treatment but the (hospital) staff is overwhelmed,” he told AP.

NPR’s Julie McCarthy, reporting from India, says it sent workers in offices running into the streets there. India is sending planeloads of supplies and personnel to assist Nepal to assist in rescue and relief efforts.

The quake, with its epicenter near Lamjung, about 70 miles northwest of the capital, struck just before noon local time and was followed by about 20 aftershocks, one as strong as magnitude 6.6, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A senior mountaineering guide, Ang Tshering, was quoted by the AP as saying an avalanche swept the face of Mount Everest after the earthquake.

Gyanendra Shretha, an official with Nepal’s mountaineering department, said eight bodies had been recovered from the base camp. Earlier, a Nepali official said 30 people had been hurt on the mountain.

This is a breaking news story and we will update this post as new information becomes available.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/04/25/402160910/7-8-quake-hits-nepal-toppling-buildings-killing-at-least-138?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

A Century After Atrocities Against Armenians, An Unresolved Wound

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 24 2015

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Armenians were massacred by forces of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. In this instance, the heads of the victims were placed on stakes.

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Armenians were massacred by forces of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. In this instance, the heads of the victims were placed on stakes.

Armenians were massacred by forces of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. In this instance, the heads of the victims were placed on stakes.

AP

This much is known: Up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed or deported in the violence unleashed by Ottoman Turks starting on April 24, 1915. But as the 100th anniversary of these events is marked on Friday, it remains a bitter source of contention between Turks and Armenians.

Armenians, along with many historians and European countries, have called it the 20th century’s first genocide. Turkey suppressed accounts of the killings for decades, and to this day staunchly rejects the label of genocide.

Modern Turkey, which emerged following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, still reacts sharply to countries that say a genocide took place. It recalled its envoy from the Vatican after Pope Francis used the term last Sunday and did the same in Austria after lawmakers spoke the word.

The U.S. government does not call the events a genocide and neither does Israel. In both countries, this position appears based in part, if not mostly, on a desire not to offend Turkey.

So what exactly happened in 1915? Here’s a look:

The Background

The Ottoman Empire once covered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East and was home to Turks, Kurds, Armenians and many others. But by the start of World War I in 1914, it was crumbling. A few years earlier, a group of young army officers — named the Young Turks — seized power. And in WWI, they sided with the Central Powers — Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire — against the Allied Powers, Britain, France and Russia.

Historian Eugene Rogan, author of The Fall Of The Ottomans, tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep the Ottomans crossed into Russia thinking they might be able to strike a blow. Instead, they lost. There had been massacres of Armenians in the past, but with the loss to the Russians, he says, the Ottomans began to question the loyalties of the Armenians.

He adds: “What happened was a small number of [Armenian] militants who did cross over to the Russian side, who did actively try and recruit Armenians to support the Russian cause, made life extremely dangerous for the majority of Armenian civilians who basically had no fight with anyone, did not wish to be drawn into any war and found themselves under tremendous pressure; soldiers who, suspected by their Turkish comrades, begin to get shot down.”

The Ottomans’ ruling Committee of Union and Progress and government officials planned to forcibly relocate the Armenians from Anatolia, where they lived, bordering Russia, to the Arab parts of the empire, where they were deemed to be less of a threat. But, Rogan adds, the plans for the Armenians went beyond those that were written down. He adds:

“It was through testimony presented in trials the Ottomans convened after the war that we now know that the Committee of Union and Progress agreed to give, orally, orders for the extermination of Armenians: that men and women would be separated at the moment of departing their villages, that the men would be massacred and that the women would be marched under conditions in which only a fraction of them would survive.

“And the theory that most Turkish scholars of the genocide are putting forward was that the Ottoman plan was to reduce the demographic profile of the Armenians so that they would not exceed 5 to 10 percent in any given province. It wasn’t … to try and eliminate the Armenians in their entirety, but it was to make sure that the Armenians would never constitute a critical mass to seek separation for the Ottoman Empire as an independent Armenian state.”

Earlier Violence Against Armenians

Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were targeted even in the 19th century, but historians don’t call those events a genocide. The reason, writer Peter Balakian tells NPR’s Robert Siegel, was that the earlier killings were “putative — they were punishments for Armenian progressive reform movement. They weren’t designed to exterminate the entire population or rid the Ottoman Empire of its Armenian population, but they begin a very important process of devaluing and dehumanizing this ethnic minority group.”

Here’s what he says was different about the events of 1915:

“I think that the Ottoman government’s final solution for the Armenian people of Turkey represented a shift in organized, state-planned mass killing. The Ottoman government was able to expedite its mass killing of a targeted minority population in a concentrated period of time. So it’s important to realize that the Ottoman government murdered more than a million Armenians between 1915 and 1916 alone — perhaps 1.2 million is the number you come to by the end of the summer of 1916.”

The U.S. View

The U.S., a close ally of Turkey, does not call the events a genocide. The White House, in a statement this week, described it as an atrocity, a long-held position. But the Armenian community in the U.S. has long lobbied for the events to be recognized as a genocide.

The New York Times, in its reporting at the time, noted in a sub-headline: “More Atrocities Detailed in Support of Charge That Turkey is Acting Deliberately.” Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador to the Ottomans at the time, also supported that view in his memoirs, as did other Americans and Westerners.

The word genocide was not coined until 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer who combined the Greek word “genos,” meaning race or family, with the Latin word “-cidere,” for killing, to describe the events of the Holocaust.

As a teenager, he was drawn to the story of what happened to the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire after reading about a survivor of the atrocities. And in interviews in the 1940s he described the events as the Armenian genocide.

The Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which describes the events as a genocide, says Lemkin’s “early exposure to the history of Ottoman attacks against Armenians, anti-Semitic pogroms, and other cases of targeted violence as key to his beliefs about the need for the protection of groups under international law. Inspired by the murder of his own family during the Holocaust, Lemkin tirelessly championed this legal concept until it was codified in the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948.”

Turkey rejects the notion that a genocide was perpetrated against the Armenians, though its leaders have expressed regret for what happened at the time. Many Turks say there was no systematic plan to kill Armenians; admitting an Armenian genocide is seen as insulting Turkey, a crime under the country’s law.

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Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/04/24/401791172/a-century-after-atrocities-against-armenians-an-unresolved-wound?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world