Many killed in mass shooting at Chinese New Year bash in Los Angeles

News Network
January 22, 2023

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At least nine people were killed and others hurt when a gunman opened fire at a dance studio in Monterey Park on Saturday night, according to law enforcement sources and witnesses.

The shooting occurred on the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue at around 10:22 p.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood barbecue restaurant on Garvey Avenue across from where the shooting happened, said three people rushed into his restaurant and told him to lock the door.

They said there was a man with a semiautomatic gun in the area. The shooter, they said, had multiple rounds of ammunition on him, so that once his ammunition ran out he reloaded, Choi said.

Wong Wei, who lives nearby, said his friend had gone to the dance club that night with a few of her friends. His friend was in the bathroom when the shooting started.

When she came out, he said, she saw a gunman and three bodies — two women and one person who he said was the boss of the club, Wei said. He said his friend escaped to his home around 11 p.m.

The shooter was carrying a long gun and appeared to fire indiscriminately, his friends told him.

“They don’t know why, so they run,” he said.

The shooting occurred near the site of a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. Tens of thousands had gathered Saturday for the start of a two-day festival, one of the largest Lunar New Year events in the region.

Earlier in the day, crowds were enjoying skewers and shopping for Chinese food and jewelry. Saturday’s New Year festival hours were scheduled from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

John, 27, who declined to give his last name, lives near the shooting site. He got home around 10 p.m. and heard about 4 or 5 gunshots, he said. Then he heard police cruisers “smashing” down the street. He went downstairs at around 11:20 p.m. to see if the shooting occurred at the New Year festival.

“My first concern was I know they’re having a Lunar New Year celebration,” he said. But he said he saw that the festival had already been cleaned up for the day when he arrived. He went to the scene of the shooting and saw one person being put on a stretcher. Another person had a bandage on their arm.

Video on social media showed police and fire units swarming an area on Garvey Avenue and treating victims.

Injured people were taken to multiple hospitals in the area.

It was unclear if a suspect was in custody.

The violence left many in the area stunned.

Edwin Chen, a 47-year-old delivery dispatcher, rushed over from Woodland Hills to Monterey Park around 12:30 a.m. after hearing the news. Chen grew up in the area, he said, and about a dozen of his relatives and friends live there.

He said he was saddened this happened just as the community was celebrating Lunar New Year.

“This is [supposed to be] a happy time,” he said. “I want to find out as much as possible. It’s still shocking.”

“Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones tonight in our neighboring city, Monterey Park, where a mass shooting just occurred,” Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia, the first Asian American to hold citywide office in L.A., said in a tweet.

Monterey Park, a city of 61,000 in the San Gabriel Valley, has a majority Asian American population. Located east of Los Angeles, the suburb is 65% Asian American, 27% Latino, and 6% white, according to census data.

One of the anchor suburbs in the San Gabriel Valley, Monterey Park is a hub of Asian American supermarkets and restaurants.

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Agencies
January 26,2023

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New Delhi, Jan 26: India's military prowess infused with a spirit of "aatmanirbharta" and diverse and vibrant cultural heritage were showcased on the Kartavya Path as the nation celebrated its 74th Republic Day on Thursday.

"Nari Shakti" was predominantly the theme of the celebrations with President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of other dignitaries joining people and members of the armed forces in marking the august occasion.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was the chief guest at the ceremonial event.

A combined band and marching contingent of the Egyptian Armed Forces also took part in the parade that started around 10:30 am and ended close to noon after a fly-past.

The Egyptian contingent included 144 soldiers representing the main branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces and it was led by Col Mahmoud Mohamed Abdelfattah Elkharasawy.

The ceremony commenced with Prime Minister Modi visiting the National War Memorial and paying tributes to the fallen heroes by laying a wreath.

According to tradition, the national flag was unfurled followed by the national anthem with a booming 21-gun salute. However, the ceremonial salute this year was given with 105-mm Indian field guns, which replaced the vintage 25-pounder guns, reflecting upon the growing "aatmanirbharta" in defence.

Shallow fog lowered visibility at the Kartavya Path on Thursday as spectators strained their eyes to watch aerial manoeuvres by a battery of 50 aircraft that flew in different formations.

The military assets which were displayed during the parade included made-in-India equipment, showing the spirit of "aatmanirbhar bharat", officials said.

The main battle tank Arjun, the Nag Missile System (NAMIS) and the K-9 Vajra were also showcased.

All equipment from the Army which were part of the Republic Day celebrations are made-in-India, Chief of Staff Delhi Area Maj Gen Bhavnish Kumar had earlier said.

With 'Nari Shakti' being the theme, the Akash weapon system display had Lt Chetana Sharma at the forefront.

The marching contingents from the Army included one each from the mechanised infantry, the Dogra Regiment, the Punjab Regiment, the Maratha Light Infantry, the Bihar Regiment and the Gorkha Brigade. A camel band from the Border Security Force also took part in the parade.

The Republic Day celebrations were held on the revamped Central Vista avenue and was the first at the ceremonial boulevard after Rajpath was renamed to Kartavya Path last year.

Lt Commander Disha Amrith, a woman naval air operations official posted at a strategic base, led the Indian Navy's contingent of 144 young sailors.

The naval tableau, designed on the theme 'Indian Navy - Combat Ready, Credible, Cohesive and Future Proof', showcased the multi-dimensional capabilities of the force, "Nari Shakti" and key indigenously designed and built assets under "aatmanirbhar bharat", officials said.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) showcased one tableau and equipment. The theme of the tableau was "Securing Nation with Effective Surveillance, Communication and Neutralising Threats".

Indigenously-developed Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP), a modular 8X8 wheeled combat platform, carried on a 70-ton trailer was displayed by the DRDO.

Three Param Vir Chakra awardees and three Ashok Chkara awardees also took part in the parade, and a "veterans' tableau" with the theme -- "Towards India's Amrit Kaal with a Resolve of Veterans' Commitment" was also part of it.

The Indian Air Force contingent comprising 144 air warriors and four officers, was led by Sqn Ldr Sindhu Reddy. The air force tableau, designed on the theme "Indian Air Force Power Beyond Boundaries", displayed a rotating globe highlighting IAF's expanded reach, whereby it has been able to provide humanitarian assistance across borders, as also exercises conducted with friendly countries.

A group of "Shramyogis" involved in the construction of the Central Vista, the Kartavya Path, the new Parliament Building along with milk, vegetable and street vendors were specially invited for the parade.

A total of 23 tableaux - 17 from states and union territories and six from various ministries and departments -- depicting India's vibrant cultural heritage, economic and social progress took part in the ceremonial parade with 'Nari Shakti' as the theme for majority of the floats. 

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News Network
January 27,2023

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Bengaluru, Jan 27: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday said the state government-run residential schools, which have completed 10 years, will have colleges offering pre-university courses (PUC) on their premises from the next academic year.

These residential schools will also have to conduct competitive examinations amongst students so that they are prepared for such challenges once they complete their education and go out in search of jobs, Bommai said.

The Chief Minister also asked the social welfare department to give up its "tendency of spending money only constructing school buildings to gratify contractors".

Instead, the focus should be on improving the quality of education. "Start the Pre-University Colleges from next year in those schools which have completed 10 years and the students are in 10th standard,” Bommai said after inaugurating 'Science Expo-2023' of the Karnataka Residential Education Institution Society (KREIS) at the Palace Grounds here.

According to Bommai, the "quality education will not continue" if the students have to go to various other schools after completing 10th standard because the competitive examinations for them start after completing their Pre-University education. Hence, the students have to continue their PUC education from the same residential school, he said.

"Conduct competitive exams in these schools among the children. We have provided them a level playing field to find out the shortcomings among the children so that it can be set right and their capacity is increased," the Chief Minister said. Bommai pointed out that the children studying in the Morarji Desai Residential Schools and similar other residential schools run by the state government are quite sharp who got admission by scoring above 60 per cent to 70 per cent.

He said the target of the government is to ensure that these students score 90 per cent by the time they complete their education.

The Chief Minister took a swipe at the tendency of spending more money on constructing buildings, which benefits contractors. "We spend thousands of crores of rupees on these institutions. We are spending more on buildings and compound walls," Bommai said and insisted that the focus should be on the "requirements" of the students studying in these residential schools.

Bommai said, "Stop giving money to the contractors. Change that model itself." According to him, the spending on building schools had started from Rs five crore, which escalated to Rs 10 crore and Rs 14 crore and now it has reached a stage where the government spends Rs 30 crore on each school. "Spend Rs 30 crore on the arrangements (facilities) for children. On the one hand government money is draining and on the other, the arrangements required for the children are not happening," the Chief Minister said.

Bommai blamed the previous governments which he alleged had been splurging money on building schools, instead of improving quality of education. "This is a legacy that has come from the past from the previous governments to take up 'contractor-based civil works' due to which we have reached this stage," he said. Stating that children belonging to the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backwards castes study in these schools, Bommai said it was the duty of the government to make sure about the quality of education.

He instructed officials to give him a list of shortcomings in the schools and assured that the government will give grants. Bommai also directed officials to visit schools instead of "running administration" from Bengaluru. 

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News Network
January 20,2023

Moscow, Jan 20: Russia has warned that if the West provides Ukraine with longer-range missiles, the war will escalate, almost a year into the Russian military operation in the ex-Soviet republic.

At a press call on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, "Potentially, this is extremely dangerous, it will mean bringing the conflict to a whole new level, which, of course, will not bode well from the point of view of global and pan-European security."

Peskov's warning came on the eve of a donor meeting of Ukraine's allies chaired by the United States at the US airbase in Ramstein, Germany, for a new round of talks on supplying Ukraine with more powerful weapons.

Russia started its "special military operation" in Ukraine with the declared aim of "de-Nazifying" the country on February 24, 2022. Since then, the US and Europe have imposed waves of unprecedented economic sanctions on Moscow and have given Ukraine tens of billions of dollars' worth of weaponry, including rocket systems, drones, armored vehicles and communications systems. The Kremlin has time and again warned the sanctions and the Western military assistance will only prolong the war.

On Wednesday, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said the US is encouraging Ukraine to commit terrorist acts against Russia, as Washington signaled it was okay with Kiev hitting Russian-controlled Crimea with Western weapons. The Russian envoy was reacting to comments by US State Department spokesman Ned Price, who said a few hours earlier that it was up to Kiev to decide whether to use Western weapons against Russian forces in Crimea, which was Ukrainian territory before joining Russia.

"It should become obvious to everyone: no matter what weapons the Americans or NATO supply to the Zelensky regime, we will destroy it," Antonov said at the time, referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. "It is simply impossible to defeat Russia," he added.

Crimea declared independence from Ukraine on March 17, 2014 and formally applied to become part of Russia following a referendum a day earlier. Moscow defends Crimea’s reunification with Russia as legitimate, saying more than 90 percent of the people in the Black Sea peninsula voted in favor of rejoining the country in the plebiscite. The West, however, brands the reunification as the annexation of the Ukrainian land by Russia, which strongly rejects the allegation and henceforth considers the peninsula as an inalienable part of the Russian Federation.

In siding with Ukraine, the European Union followed Washington's lead in imposing several rounds of sanctions against Moscow.

In a statement on Thursday, the US Forces Korea (USFK) said the US Department of Defense had asked it to offer some of its equipment to support Ukraine. Two days earlier, the New York Times reported that the US military was tapping into a massive but little-known stockpile of American arms stored in Israel to help Ukraine's army, which desperately needs artillery shells in the current war with Russia.

Ukraine urges allies 

Separately in the day, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov jointly called on Western allies to "considerably" boost arms deliveries to Kiev and send modern German-made Leopard tanks. "We appeal to all partner states that have already provided military assistance or are planning to provide it with a call to considerably reinforce their practical contribution to strengthening Ukraine's ability to defend itself," the pair said in a statement.

The Ukrainian ministers said Russia "retains a substantial quantitative advantage in troops, weapons and military equipment" and that the Kremlin is "determined to further escalate hostilities."

According to Kuleba and Reznikov, the supply of modern armored vehicles is "one of the most pressing and urgent needs."

‘Moscow will do all it can to ‘sober up’ EU, NATO’

During a visit to Moscow's close ally Belarus on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would do all it could to "sober up" the European Union and NATO, which he alleged that have determined to weaken and defeat Russia. In his televised comments, Russia's top diplomat said that the Kremlin would set out to disabuse Western politicians of what he called their "presumptuous" and "colonial" attitudes to Russia. "I hope that the sobering up will come. We will do everything so that our colleagues from NATO and the European Union sober up as soon as possible," Lavrov said. 

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