Indian-origin presidential hopeful Kamala Harris’ town hall on CNN got the network its highest ratings ever for such an event with an individual election candidate, according to the network. Harris, 54, who was elected to the Senate in 2016, announced her run for presidency last week. She has been voted on top of the list of Democratic leaders aspiring to defeat President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election. Harris, the second African-American woman elected to the US senate, has drawn comparisons to Barack Obama since early in her political career. CNN said that the broadcast was the most-watched cable news single candidate election town hall, according to Nielsen data. The live event averaged 1.957 million viewers, a figure far greater than CNN’s previous four town halls, which attracted an average audience of 1.119 million each, it said.
7 indicted for helping murder suspect of Indian American cop
Seven friends and relatives believed to have helped Paulo Mendoza, the alleged killer of California police officer Ronil Singh last month, have been formally indicted. Mendoza allegedly killed Singh, a Fijian Indian American, on December 26 last year, after Singh stopped him at a traffic stop believing him to be intoxicated. Mendoza was arrested on December 28. The undocumented immigrant was being held without bail in Stanislaus County Jail. The charges against Mendoza make him eligible for the death penalty. The seven others charged in the case are: Mendoza’s live-in girlfriend, Ana Leyde Cervantes, Conrado Virgen Mendoza, Adrian Virgen, Erik Razo Quiroz, Bernabe Madrigal Castaneda Erasmo Villegas and Mendoza’s great-aunt Maria Luisa Moreno, for helping him escape law enforcement officials.
ED issues notice to Pak singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
India's Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a show cause notice to Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in connection with an alleged foreign exchange violation case against him, officials said. They said the notice for violation of forex funds to the tune of £200,000 has been issued under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), after the probe in the case was completed. They added Khan, who is popular for his renditions in India and Pakistan, has been asked to reply to the notice within 45 days. The case pertains to FEMA investigation against him and his associates in 2014 after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), in 2011, intercepted Khan and his manager, Marrouf Ali Khan, at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi for allegedly carrying an undeclared amount of $1,24,000 and some other instruments in foreign currency. The singer, who has been grilled by the ED in this case in the past, had said he had done nothing wrong and they were carrying the large amount of cash because they were travelling in a group and the act was inadvertent.
13 arrested in Lahore for violating kite flying ban
At least 13 people were arrested in Lahore for defying the Pakistan government's ban on kite flying, police said. The police launched a crackdown in several areas of the city after two people were injured by the strings of kite flyers. The famous kite flying festival, locally called "Basant," was celebrated on the onset of spring in February every year till 2007 when the government slapped a ban on it after a surge in deaths caused by the glass or metal-coated strings of the kite flyers. The police said that when the glass-coated string of a low flying kite hit someone's throat, it acted as a sharp knife, cutting the victim's throat. The present government earlier announced to lift the ban but officials said that keeping the ban was "in the best interest of the people." The government said that preventive steps will be taken in the future to celebrate the festival in a peaceful manner, but it will not be celebrated this year.
Hindu temple vandalised in Bangladesh
Dhaka: A Hindu temple was vandalised in clashes between two groups in Bangladesh's central Tangail district, a media report said. The family of the temple's owner was also attacked by a group of eight to nine people in Batra village of the district. Chitta Ranjan acquired the land and built a temple of Lord Shiva over 20 years ago, it said. The group of miscreants, led by a local resident of the same village, tried to forcefully seize the land where the temple is situated by vandalising Ranjan's home and attacking his family members, the report said. Ranjan said people have been performing religious activities at the temple for more than 20 years. The accused had attempted to forcefully seize the land several times before as well, he claimed. Police visited the spot and ordered a probe.
29 killed in US Midwest due to extreme cold
At least 29 people were reported dead due to the Polar Vortex that froze the US Midwest region and brought temperatures to record lows. But weather officials said the weather was finally improving after over a week of extreme cold. In many places, like Chicago, the temperatures climbed just above zero on Friday after the city reeled under intense cold with temperatures dipping to extreme lows like minus 31 degrees Celsius. "It's fairly rare to see this much of a turnaround in temperature in this sort of time," said Todd Kluber, a meteorologist. Many offices and school reopened in the Midwest which comprises the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The Midwest's deep freeze was brought by the Polar Vortex, a mass of cold air that is normally contained above the North Pole but in recent weeks broke apart, sending a block of icy air toward the US.
Lanka to get $1bn from China for road project
Sri Lanka, which last year handed over a strategic port to a Chinese firm for a 99-year lease as a debt swap, will soon sign a $1 billion consessional loan agreement with Beijing to fund a major highway project linking Colombo to the hill resort of Kandy. The first phase of the project had been delayed for more than two years due to a lack of funding. Sri Lankan ambassador to China Karunasena Kodituwakku was quoted as saying that the $1 billion will be used for the first stage of the central highway. Earlier, the chief of Sri Lanka’s central bank said the country would receive a sovereign loan of $1 billion from the Bank of China in the first quarter of this year. Kodituwakku did not confirm if it was the same loan. According to reports, Sri Lanka owed $8 billion debt to China.
12 killed as heavy rain lashes Saudi Arabia
At least 12 people were killed and more than 170 injured as heavy rain lashed Saudi Arabia. The Civil Defense said that 10 people died in the area of Tabuk, one in Medina and another in the Northern Borders region. It did not say what caused the deaths. Civil Defense forces say they rescued 271 people over the past four days, most of them in the al-Jawf region that borders Jordan. Several were also rescued in Mecca, Tabuk, and the Northern Borders region. The heavy rains have flooded desert valleys and forced schools to close. Arab News posted video of water engulfing a street in the city of Medina, home to one of Islam's holiest sites.
Philippine murder convict executed in Saudi Arabia
A female Filipino murder convict was executed this week in Saudi Arabia after being found guilty under the Islamic Shariah law, the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs said. The woman worked as a domestic help in Saudi Arabia. "The Department regrets that it was not able to save the life of the Filipina after the Saudi Supreme Judicial Council classified her case as one in which blood money does not apply under Shariah law," the Department said. The Department has withheld details of the crime. The controversy over abuse and exploitation of Filipino workers abroad escalated in February 2018 when the body of a 29-year old Filipino maid, was found in the freezer of her employers' house in Kuwait after she had been missing for a year.
Detained refugee wins Australia's top literature prize
A refugee held in a remote Pacific detention centre has won Australia's top literature prize with his debut book, which he wrote on his mobile phone and delivered one chapter at a time via WhatsApp. Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian held in an Australian-run camp won the A$100,000 ($72,390) Victorian Prize for literature with his book "No Friends but the Mountains." Boochani said he hoped the prize would focus attention on the plight of more than 1,000 people in Australia's off-shore camps. "I don't want to celebrate this achievement while I still see many innocent people suffering around me," Boochani said. Boochani has been a prominent critic of the treatment of people under Australia’s hardline immigration policy.
WW1 grenade found in French potato shipment
A German World War I hand grenade was found among a shipment of French potatoes imported for a Hong Kong chips factory, police said. The device was safely detonated after it was discovered at the Calbee snacks factory. “The grenade was in an unstable condition because it has been previously discharged but failed to detonate,” superintendent Wilfred Wong Ho-hon said. The grenade was eight centimetres wide and weighed about 1kg. The grenade is believed to have been left in a trench during WW I and accidentally gathered up with potatoes planted in the former battlefield.
Flight returns to LA airport thrice to resolve glitches
Hawaiian Airlines says a flight bound for Maui returned to Los Angeles International Airport three times for three separate problems before finally being cancelled. Spokesman Alex Da Silva says Flight 33 took off and landed again twice on Saturday. Da Silva says each return was “due to separate and unrelated faults with different systems”. The more than 200 passengers were accommodated in hotel rooms and will be placed on other flights.
Mutilated bodies of 10 kidnapped children found
The mutilated bodies of ten children kidnapped in Tanzania have been found dead, an official said. Deputy Health Minister Faustine Ndugulile said that the children had been missing since December in Njombe district. Their bodies were discovered last week after police launched a search operation in the area. "These murders are linked to witchcraft practices because that is the trend for such crimes, where herbalists ask people to get human parts for money rituals," he added. The Minister said that these killings, however, were not linked to the albino ritual murders which are prevalent in Tanzania and other parts of east Africa. Albinos are regularly killed for their bones and organs, which are sold to witch doctors for "charms and magical potions," according to Amnesty International.