We will rise up: Vice President Kamala Harris highlights 'American aspiration'

Agencies
January 21, 2021

Washington, Jan 21: In her first remarks to the nation as US Vice President, Kamala Harris has highlighted "American aspiration" and underlined that President Joe Biden has summoned the people to look beyond crisis and aspire to unite.

Harris, 56, made history on Wednesday when she was sworn in as the first female, first black and first Asian-American US vice-president. The former senator was sworn in just before Biden took the oath of office to become the 46th US President.

"In many ways, this moment embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates who we are, even in dark times. We, not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be.

"We shoot for the moon, and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless and ambitious. We are undaunted, in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up. This is American aspiration," Harris said outside the Lincoln Memorial.

She cited the accomplishments of President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, who "saw a better future and built it with land grant colleges, and the transcontinental railroad."

She also highlighted how Martin Luther King Jr. fought for racial and economic justice.

Harris said a great experiment, takes great determination. The will to do the work and then the wisdom to keep refining, keep tinkering, keep perfecting. The same determination is being realised in America today, Harris noted.

"I see it in the scientists who are transforming the future. I see it in the parents who are nurturing generations to come and in the innovators, the educators, in everyone, everywhere who is building a better life for themselves, their families and their communities.

"This too is American aspiration. This is what President Joe Biden has called upon us to summon now. The courage to see beyond the crisis, to do what is hard, to do what is good, to unite, to believe in ourselves, believe in our country, believe in what we can do together," Harris said.

Prior to taking the oath at the US Capitol, Harris paid tribute to the women who she says came before her.

"I stand on their shoulders," she said in a video.

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Agencies
February 25,2021

Australia passes law forcing Google and Facebook to pay news publications -  CNET

Canberra, Feb 25: The Australian parliament has passed an amended version of the law forcing tech companies to share revenue with media businesses after the original variant triggered a backlash from Facebook, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the treasury presented amendments to the original bargaining code after Facebook removed posts of Australian news outlets and government pages in protest against the bill. Following the change to the code, the tech giant moved to lift the news blackout. On Wednesday, the Australian upper house passed the amended bargaining code, which was then sent back to the lower chamber for approval.

"Parliament has today passed the Morrison Government's world-leading News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code that addresses the bargaining power imbalance between news media businesses and digital platforms," Frydenberg said.

According to the treasurer, the code will ensure that media businesses are "fairly remunerated" for their content and will offer a relevant framework for negotiations, but the parties are still encouraged to talk commercial deals outside the code.

"The Government is pleased to see progress by both Google and more recently Facebook in reaching commercial arrangements with Australian news media businesses," he added.

Under the code, if technology giants fail to negotiate compensation agreements with news publishers, a state-appointed arbitrator will issue a binding decision.

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Agencies
February 21,2021

Bergerold.jpg

Washington, Feb 21: Authorities in the US have deported a 95-year-old man who acknowledged working as a guard in a Nazi concentration camp.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or Ice, said in a statement that Friedrich Karl Berger, a German citizen, was sent back to Germany this month for serving as a guard of a Neuengamme concentration camp subcamp near Hamburg in 1945.

The case was investigated by the US Department of Justice. Berger was ordered expelled by a Memphis, Tennessee, court in February 2020 but will not face trial in Germany because prosecutors dropped the case against him for lack of evidence.

According to an Ice statement, Berger served at the subcamp near Meppen, Germany, where prisoners – Russian, Polish, Dutch, Jewish and others – were held in “atrocious” conditions and worked “to the point of exhaustion and death”.

Berger has admitted serving as a guard for a few weeks near the end of the war but has said he did not observe any abuse or killings, news agencies have reported.

Berger admitted he guarded prisoners. He also accompanied prisoners on the forced evacuation of the camp that resulted in the deaths of 70 prisoners.

He had been living in the US since 1959.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Celle said police in the German state of Hesse had been asked to question Berger on his return to Germany. A police spokesman said there was no live investigation linked to him and he is a free individual and has not been taken in custody.

In recent years, prosecutors have brought charges against several former Nazis, seizing the last opportunity to secure justice for the millions who perished in concentration camps.

Earlier this month, prosecutors charged a 100-year-old German man with being an accessory to 3,518 murders committed while he was allegedly a guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

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News Network
February 26,2021

Chikkaballapur, Feb 26: Officials investigating into the deadly explosion near a stone crusher unit at Hirenagaveli in Chikkaballapur district which claimed six lives suspect that the tragedy could have been triggered by a ringing mobile phone.

As both gelatin sticks and detonators were kept together in the same bag during the desperate bid by employees of the crusher to hide them, any small force was enough to cause the blast.

According to police sources, the forensic experts who visited the spot have raised suspicion that a call received by one of the labourers during the bid to hide the explosives could have caused the tragedy.

“Two victims were already at the spot, before explosives were brought to the spot in the Tata Ace vehicle. The duo had arrived early to ensure a safe hiding place for
explosives.

After they reached the spot, the explosion was either triggered accidentally - when one detonator slipped from the rice bag or due to the ringing of the mobile phone,” a source said, adding that there were cases in the past when gelatin and detonators kept together had exploded all of a sudden.

Sources also ruled out ‘partying’ by labourers before the explosion, noting that no evidence of a campfire was found so far. 

There are indications that revenue officials turned a blind eye to alleged illegal quarrying beyond the limits of the crusher. 

“The accident occurred adjacent to gomala land. In that land too, quarrying was seen,” a source said.

According to Section 192(A) of the Land Revenue Act, any official who fails to report unlawful occupation of government land and take action can be imprisoned for three years along with a fine. 

Prima facie, it is clear that local revenue authorities failed to report the alleged violation occurring right beside the quarry, the source added.  

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