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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 351)

Somalia Bombing Kills More Than 70, Raising Fears of Resurgent Militancy

DEVELOPING

A truck filled with explosives blew up at a busy intersection in the capital. It was the latest, and the worst, in a series of recent attacks.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166418325_10cfb556-209c-482a-810d-9a193f68e8a5-articleLarge Somalia Bombing Kills More Than 70, Raising Fears of Resurgent Militancy Terrorism Somalia MOGADISHU, Somalia Deaths (Fatalities)

Transporting a wounded person at a hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Saturday.Credit…Abdirazak Hussein Farah/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

  • Dec. 28, 2019Updated 11:47 a.m. ET

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A truck filled with explosives blew up at a busy intersection in the Somali capital on Saturday and killed at least 76 people in the latest sign of resurgent militant activity in a country that has long struggled to banish violent extremism.

A bus carrying university students to their campus was struck by the blast, which left the streets littered with bodies and the mangled frames of vehicles. It was the worst attack in Somalia in more than two years.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion immediately fell on the Shabab, a terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda which controls large parts of the country and raises considerable funds through local taxation and extortion. Despite intensified American airstrikes and a long-running African Union offensive, the group has carried out deadly attacks not only in Somalia but also in neighboring Kenya and Uganda.

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that much progress has been made against combating what has become a very resilient and deadly insurgency,” said Murithi Mutiga, the Horn of Africa project director at the International Crisis Group, a research organization.

The attack, one of several this year in Mogadishu, added to concerns about the abilities of Somali forces as African Union troops begin to withdraw from the Horn of Africa nation. The African Union peacekeeping operation has been active in Somalia since 2007, but Somali forces are set to assume responsibility for security in May.

Six thousand to 7,000 American troops are stationed in Africa, with the largest numbers concentrated in the sub-Saharan region and in the Horn of Africa. In Somalia, about 600 Special Operations forces are fighting the Shabab from small outposts alongside local troops.

The Pentagon is weighing whether to sharply reduce or pull out several hundred American troops stationed in West Africa as the first phase of a global reshuffling of United States forces. But Defense Department officials said it was less likely that troops would be withdrawn from Somalia because — as Saturday’s attack gruesomely underscores — security in the country remains fraught.

The Pentagon so far this year has carried out 60 drone strikes in Somalia — almost all against Shabab militants, with a handful against a branch of the Islamic State. That compares with 47 strikes against the Shabab in 2018.

While violent extremist groups like the Islamic State also operate in Somalia, none except the Shabab have proved capable of repeated, large-scale attacks in the capital. The Shabab has also declared war on pro-Islamic State cells in Somalia, most of which operate at a distance from Mogadishu in the northeastern Puntland region.

The Shabab, which means The Youth in Arabic, have wreaked havoc in Somalia since 2006, when they began pursuing their goal of establishing an Islamic state. In areas that it controls, the group has banned music, movies, the shaving of beards and the internet.

In recent years, the Shabab have suffered several critical setbacks, including territorial losses, the killing of senior commanders and high-level defections. Yet the group has proved resilient, intensifying its lethal campaign against the Somali government and its allies. Given its control over large areas of the country’s south, it continues to raise considerable revenue and is now manufacturing explosives, according to the United Nations.

Since 1991, following the ouster of the dictator Siad Barre, Somalia has been plagued by conflict and successive humanitarian disasters that have destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure, economy and public institutions.

In 1993, Somalia’s problems drew the world’s attention after 18 American soldiers were killed in an operation aimed at capturing the powerful Somali warlord Gen. Mohamed Farah Aideed — events depicted in the film “Black Hawk Down.” The United States was leading a United Nations mission to end famine and civil war in the country.

For years, Somalia was run by warlords and weak transitional administrations, and did not take the first steps toward recovery until 2012, when a United Nations-backed federal government emerged in Mogadishu.

With a population of about 12.3 million, Somalia continues to rank among the poorest nations in the world. While no longer considered a failed state, it remains in a fragile phase of recovery with a debt-laden economy and soaring unemployment.

Over the last two years, Somalia has also emerged as a central battleground between Persian Gulf monarchies competing for power and profits in the Horn of Africa. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar have each provided weapons or military training to favored factions.

The country is expected to hold elections next year, but a political stalemate between the central government and federal states has dampened the prospect of change.

Independent terrorism specialists said the attacks represented a dangerous escalation of violence.

“It clearly demonstrates that Shabab has the capability and the will to kill civilians, terrorize the population, and destabilize the modicum of governance in the country that does exist,” said Colin P. Clarke, a senior fellow at the Soufan Center, a research organization in New York.

The government, Mr. Clarke said, “continues to flounder, unable to bring security to the war-torn capital.”

Tricia Bacon, an assistant professor at American University, said in an email that the Shabab “remains resilient, strong, able to terrorize Mogadishu at will, and, by extension, undermine the legitimacy of the Somali government.”

In January, the Shabab claimed responsibility for an attack on a luxury hotel and office complex in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, that killed more than 20 people. In July, militants killed 26 people in a hotel in the southern port city of Kismayo, including a prominent Canadian-Somali journalist, Hodan Nalayeh.

The same month, a suicide attack by the group fatally wounded the mayor of Mogadishu, Abdirahman Omar Osman, a British-Somali citizen. And on a single day in September, the Shabab targeted an American base in Somalia and a group of Italian peacekeeping troops.

Mr. Mutiga of the International Crisis Group said the attacks showed the group’s reach. “This is a year in which they demonstrated a capacity to attack in the capital at a rate that signifies they remain a very potent player,” he said.

The Shabab are suspected in one of the deadliest terrorist strikes in recent years, a double-truck bombing in the heart of Mogadishu that killed nearly 600 people in October 2017.

Saturday’s blast occurred just before 8 a.m. at Ex-control Junction, an intersection that connects Mogadishu to southern and southwestern Somalia.

Mogadishu’s mayor, Omar Mohamud Mohamed, said at a news conference that many of the wounded were students. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ordered the government to put all of its resources toward supporting the wounded and families of the dead.

“The terrorists massacred the people because of the enmity they have for the country’s development,” he said.

Abdulkadir Adan, the founder of Aamin Ambulance, Somalia’s only free ambulance service, said his team had counted at least 76 dead and 70 wounded. The foreign minister of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said two Turkish citizens were killed.

After the attack on Saturday, some Somalis lamented the state of the nation’s politics and asked when lawmakers and leaders would deal with the security situation.

“When will our politicians have human feeling to the relentless massacre against the innocent citizen?” Ahmed Ibrahim, a Mogadishu resident, wrote in a post on Twitter. “Here they are arguing and competing for power, but who will they rule?”

Hussein Mohamed reported from Mogadishu, Abdi Latif Dahir from Nairobi, Kenya, and Eric Schmitt from New York.

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Lee Zeldin rips Bill de Blasio’s ‘feckless leadership’ as NYC faces 9th anti-Semitic attack

Westlake Legal Group Zeldin-De-Blasio-Getty-AP Lee Zeldin rips Bill de Blasio's 'feckless leadership' as NYC faces 9th anti-Semitic attack Sam Dorman fox-news/us/crime/hate-crime fox-news/topic/anti-semitism fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 4476d19a-03cf-5611-bc34-ba8d8c1faf8a

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., is blaming New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for a string of anti-Semitic attacks, including one on Friday.

“There’s a massive leadership failure in New York City and Bill de Blasio’s answer has been have another press conference, and if it happens again, have another press conference,” Zeldin said Saturday, before praising the decision to ramp up police presence.

There have been at least nine alleged anti-Semitic attacks in less than a week, much of it occurring during Hanukkah, according to authorities.

“It needs to happen more, and there needs to be some level of burden-sharing here. You need to see — on all levels of government — elected officials and community leaders going all in to confront this and crush it,” Zeldin added, while appearing on “Fox & Friends.”

De Blasio announced Friday that the NYPD would beef up its police presence in response to the attacks. “Hate doesn’t have a home in our city,” he tweeted.

NYPD INVESTIGATING WAVE OF ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACKS SINCE START OF HANUKKAH

“In light of recent anti-Semitic attacks, the NYPD will increase their presence in Boro Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg. Anyone who terrorizes our Jewish community WILL face justice,” he added.

The victim of the most recent attack was a man wearing Orthodox Jewish attire, 6ABC reported.  Another man punched him in the face while walking through Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood. Police have not yet classified it as a hate crime.

NYPD INVESTIGATING 6TH ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACK IN LESS THAN 4 DAYS: ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’

In another incident, a man threatened to shoot people after approaching a member of Brooklyn’s Hasidic community.

More from Media

Zeldin told “Fox & Friends” that the city’s “feckless leadership is greatly concerning, and these people are being victimized and it’s only getting worse until you see more people stepping up to confront it.”

The congressman believes the apparent hate crimes stemmed from an eroding quality of life in the city, a lack of education and negative cultural influences.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The fifth night of Hanukkah was marred by the sixth reported anti-Semitic attack in the city this week. The attack unfolded Thursday in Brooklyn, where police said they arrested a woman who allegedly assaulted another woman, calling her an “[expletive] Jew.”

The string of incidents began Monday, when a 28-year-old man allegedly punched and kicked a 65-year-old man in Manhattan while screaming, “[Expletive] you, Jew,” the NYPD said. The victim suffered cuts to his face and hand.

Fox News’ Yael Halon contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Zeldin-De-Blasio-Getty-AP Lee Zeldin rips Bill de Blasio's 'feckless leadership' as NYC faces 9th anti-Semitic attack Sam Dorman fox-news/us/crime/hate-crime fox-news/topic/anti-semitism fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 4476d19a-03cf-5611-bc34-ba8d8c1faf8a   Westlake Legal Group Zeldin-De-Blasio-Getty-AP Lee Zeldin rips Bill de Blasio's 'feckless leadership' as NYC faces 9th anti-Semitic attack Sam Dorman fox-news/us/crime/hate-crime fox-news/topic/anti-semitism fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 4476d19a-03cf-5611-bc34-ba8d8c1faf8a

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Lee Zeldin rips Bill de Blasio’s ‘feckless leadership’ as NYC faces 9th anti-Semitic attack

Westlake Legal Group Zeldin-De-Blasio-Getty-AP Lee Zeldin rips Bill de Blasio's 'feckless leadership' as NYC faces 9th anti-Semitic attack Sam Dorman fox-news/us/crime/hate-crime fox-news/topic/anti-semitism fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 4476d19a-03cf-5611-bc34-ba8d8c1faf8a

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., is blaming New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for a string of anti-Semitic attacks, including one on Friday.

“There’s a massive leadership failure in New York City and Bill de Blasio’s answer has been have another press conference, and if it happens again, have another press conference,” Zeldin said Saturday, before praising the decision to ramp up police presence.

There have been at least nine alleged anti-Semitic attacks in less than a week, much of it occurring during Hanukkah, according to authorities.

“It needs to happen more, and there needs to be some level of burden-sharing here. You need to see — on all levels of government — elected officials and community leaders going all in to confront this and crush it,” Zeldin added, while appearing on “Fox & Friends.”

De Blasio announced Friday that the NYPD would beef up its police presence in response to the attacks. “Hate doesn’t have a home in our city,” he tweeted.

NYPD INVESTIGATING WAVE OF ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACKS SINCE START OF HANUKKAH

“In light of recent anti-Semitic attacks, the NYPD will increase their presence in Boro Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg. Anyone who terrorizes our Jewish community WILL face justice,” he added.

The victim of the most recent attack was a man wearing Orthodox Jewish attire, 6ABC reported.  Another man punched him in the face while walking through Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood. Police have not yet classified it as a hate crime.

NYPD INVESTIGATING 6TH ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACK IN LESS THAN 4 DAYS: ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’

In another incident, a man threatened to shoot people after approaching a member of Brooklyn’s Hasidic community.

More from Media

Zeldin told “Fox & Friends” that the city’s “feckless leadership is greatly concerning, and these people are being victimized and it’s only getting worse until you see more people stepping up to confront it.”

The congressman believes the apparent hate crimes stemmed from an eroding quality of life in the city, a lack of education and negative cultural influences.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The fifth night of Hanukkah was marred by the sixth reported anti-Semitic attack in the city this week. The attack unfolded Thursday in Brooklyn, where police said they arrested a woman who allegedly assaulted another woman, calling her an “[expletive] Jew.”

The string of incidents began Monday, when a 28-year-old man allegedly punched and kicked a 65-year-old man in Manhattan while screaming, “[Expletive] you, Jew,” the NYPD said. The victim suffered cuts to his face and hand.

Fox News’ Yael Halon contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Zeldin-De-Blasio-Getty-AP Lee Zeldin rips Bill de Blasio's 'feckless leadership' as NYC faces 9th anti-Semitic attack Sam Dorman fox-news/us/crime/hate-crime fox-news/topic/anti-semitism fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 4476d19a-03cf-5611-bc34-ba8d8c1faf8a   Westlake Legal Group Zeldin-De-Blasio-Getty-AP Lee Zeldin rips Bill de Blasio's 'feckless leadership' as NYC faces 9th anti-Semitic attack Sam Dorman fox-news/us/crime/hate-crime fox-news/topic/anti-semitism fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 4476d19a-03cf-5611-bc34-ba8d8c1faf8a

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7 Confirmed Dead Following Tour Helicopter Crash In Hawaii

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1176593331_custom-130f6c6cfd5b245c0a25c6a98416ac84e3ee0c1c-s1100-c15 7 Confirmed Dead Following Tour Helicopter Crash In Hawaii

Officials in Hawaii said Saturday there were no survivors after a helicopter crashed in a remote part of Hawaii. Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images hide caption

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Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  7 Confirmed Dead Following Tour Helicopter Crash In Hawaii

Officials in Hawaii said Saturday there were no survivors after a helicopter crashed in a remote part of Hawaii.

Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Updated at 2:19 a.m. ET Sunday

Authorities in Hawaii confirmed Saturday that none of the seven people aboard a tour helicopter that crashed in a remote area had survived.

“Due to the additional recovery efforts, the nature of the crash and impact damage, Kaua’i police can confirm that there are no survivors,” the police said in a statement Saturday.

Authorities identified some of the crash’s victims: pilot Paul Matero, 69, of Wailua, Hawaii, and passengers Amy Gannon, 47, and Jocelyn Gannon, 13, of Madison, Wis. Police said the remaining victims are believed to be a Swiss family of four, with two adults and two children.

The helicopter was reported missing on Thursday about 30 minutes after it was scheduled to return from a sightseeing flight around Kauai, according to county officials. One pilot and six passengers were on the Safari Helicopter tour.

Local authorities suspended recovery efforts Saturday afternoon and said they had turned over the scene to the National Transportation Safety Board for investigation.

County officials had released a statement earlier saying that wreckage from the crash was found on Friday in Koke’e State Park and that the remains of six people were recovered.

“We are heartbroken by this tragedy and we continue to ask the public to consider the sensitive nature of this devastating situation,” Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of all the victims during this extremely difficult time.”

Helicopter tours of Kauai are popular, as they offer many people the opportunity to see the “Garden Island” that includes lush rainforests, mountains and the towering sea cliffs as seen in the Jurassic Park movies.

But Ladd Sanger, a Texas-based aviation attorney and helicopter pilot, told that The Associated Press that this varying terrain can create challenges for tour pilots.

“[Kauai] has microclimates, so the weather at the airport is going to be different than up at the crash location,” Sanger said. “Those microclimates can come on very quickly and dissipate quickly too, so the weather reporting is difficult.”

After the crash, Hawaii Rep. Ed Case released a statement, saying, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those lost, and our thanks to those who placed themselves in harm’s way to find them.”

Case went on to address the safety regulations surrounding helicopter tours and other small aircraft operations.

“Tour helicopter and small aircraft operations are not safe, and innocent lives are paying the price,” Case said. “We know this not only because of repeated fatal accidents and other incidents over the years, but because the National Transportation Safety Board, responsible for analyzing all such accidents, has placed safety improvements for such operations on its highest priority list. We further know that the Federal Aviation Administration, responsible for regulating our nation’s airspace, has not taken the NTSB’s concerns seriously.”

In August, Case introduced a measure that would “impose strict regulations on commercial tour operations to include helicopters and small planes.”

The legislation came after two other deadly crashes one in April and one in June.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced on Friday that it was sending three officials to Kauai to investigate this week’s fatal crash.

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Tennessee woman buys ‘pyromaniac’ dad a flamethrower for Christmas

Westlake Legal Group Flamethrower-Christmas-Gift Tennessee woman buys 'pyromaniac' dad a flamethrower for Christmas Gerren Keith Gaynor fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/media fnc c0313e6a-91ef-543c-8d09-5faeca7523f5 article

A Tennessee woman’s Christmas gift to her “pyromaniac” father has gone viral.

When Katie Van Slyke locked her eyes on a flamethrower being advertised on Instagram, she knew it would be the perfect gift for her fire-enthusiast dad.

“I’ve seen my dad for years be a mild pyromaniac, so I’ve always been on the lookout for a gift that would wow him,” Van Slyke told “Fox & Friends” on Saturday.

NEW YORK UPS DRIVER PROTECTS BOY’S CHRISTMAS TOY BY HIDING IT BEHIND TRASH BINS, VIDEO SHOWS

Van Slyke said growing up she would often see her father, Matt, be admonished at restaurants for stoking the flames at fireplaces.

“He’s always the guy that brings fireworks,” she added.

While a flamethrower isn’t your average gift, Slyke knew it was the perfect thing to buy for her father. Not surprisingly, he loved it.

Matt Van Slyke described his reaction to the flamethrower as “pure jubilee.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“My wife and my daughter, they try and seems like I always figure out what’s going on. This time I was completely surprised and completely elated,” he said.

The Internet apparently also loved the scorching Christmas gift.

Katie shared a video of herself showing off the flamethrower on Christmas Day. “I got my dad a flame thrower for Christmas, meaning I’m the best daughter that has ever existed,” she tweeted.

The video has since garnered 1.1 million views.

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And if you’re wondering what practical use there is for a flamethrower, Matt said he had some ideas.

“I think it’ll be great for setting bonfires and burning brush piles on the farm,” he said. “But mostly just having fun.”

Westlake Legal Group Flamethrower-Christmas-Gift Tennessee woman buys 'pyromaniac' dad a flamethrower for Christmas Gerren Keith Gaynor fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/media fnc c0313e6a-91ef-543c-8d09-5faeca7523f5 article   Westlake Legal Group Flamethrower-Christmas-Gift Tennessee woman buys 'pyromaniac' dad a flamethrower for Christmas Gerren Keith Gaynor fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/media fnc c0313e6a-91ef-543c-8d09-5faeca7523f5 article

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Trump personally stepped in to cut health funding for Puerto Rico in new spending deal, report says

Westlake Legal Group iLNwasJ4nV4tJfRWTQKi4TGP8mWceylK61WVrQOsunE Trump personally stepped in to cut health funding for Puerto Rico in new spending deal, report says r/politics

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Plane with 6 people on board crashes in Lafayette near Walmart

Westlake Legal Group Plane-Crash-Google-Maps Plane with 6 people on board crashes in Lafayette near Walmart Robert Gearty Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc eea09745-c561-5e14-a878-fed7282adaa1 article

A twin-engine plane with six passengers on board crashed in Louisiana on Saturday morning, about a mile from Lafayette airport, police told Fox News.

The plane crashed near a Walmart and U.S. Post Office at the intersection of Verot School Road and Fei Follet, local media reported.

Lafayette Police Lt. Scott Morgan told Fox News the incident took place at 9:22 a.m. local time.

“We know it came down in a parking lot,” he said, adding that it had taken off from Lafayette Regional Airport.

Additional information about casualties was not immediately available, however, Morgan said he doesn’t believe there were any injuries on the ground.

KATC reported that the Walmart store on Pinhook Road was closed and evacuated.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

It was not immediately known if there was a distress call from the plane before the crash.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Westlake Legal Group Plane-Crash-Google-Maps Plane with 6 people on board crashes in Lafayette near Walmart Robert Gearty Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc eea09745-c561-5e14-a878-fed7282adaa1 article   Westlake Legal Group Plane-Crash-Google-Maps Plane with 6 people on board crashes in Lafayette near Walmart Robert Gearty Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc eea09745-c561-5e14-a878-fed7282adaa1 article

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Fort Worth’s top cop, 52, captured on video nabbing suspect after foot chase

The top cop in Fort Worth, Texas, showed he can still hoof it when it comes to chasing down a fleeing suspect.

Chief Ed Kraus’ pursuit of the suspect Friday morning through backyards and over fences was recorded by a police helicopter over the scene.

Police said the suspect took off after causing a multi-car crash on I-20, Fox 4 Dallas reports. Kraus happened to be in the area in his police vehicle.

Westlake Legal Group Fleeing-Suspect-Fort-Worth-PD Fort Worth's top cop, 52, captured on video nabbing suspect after foot chase Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc f2463f76-a859-5bc2-a305-c28621320688 article

Image from video shot by a police helicopter shows Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus nabbing a suspect after a foot chase through backyards and over fences. (Forth Worth Police Department)

TEXAS POLICE CHASE, CAPTURE MAN ACCUSED OF RAPING WOMAN, STUFFING HER IN TRUNK, BODYCAM VIDEO SHOWS

“The bad guy decides to take a wrong turn and runs toward the chief,” police spokesman Buddy Calzada told the station. “The bad guy jumped the fence and the chief jumped the fence to keep going after him. He runs through the middle of a yard, and the suspect jumps another fence. So what does the chief do? He jumped the fence with him.”

Calzada said as the chief started closing in on the man, “I think he realized at that point, I’m not going to make it. I’m not going to get away from this.”

KENTUCKY ESCAPEES BACK IN CUSTODY AFTER POLICE CHASE IN OHIO: REPORTS

Westlake Legal Group Fort-Worth-Chief Fort Worth's top cop, 52, captured on video nabbing suspect after foot chase Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc f2463f76-a859-5bc2-a305-c28621320688 article

Chief Ed Kraus, 52, is a 26-year veteran of the force who was only named permanently to the role earlier this month after performing the role on an interim basis since May. (Fort Worth Police Department)

The fleeing suspect, who was not immediately identified, was facing a charge of fleeing the scene of an accident, the station reported.

Kraus, 52, a 26-year veteran of the force who was only named permanently to the role earlier this month after acting as the chief on an interim basis since May, had to be coaxed into commenting on the chase, Fox 4 reported.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“I’m just proud to be one of 1,700 officers, who do this kind of work every day,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group Fleeing-Suspect-Fort-Worth-PD Fort Worth's top cop, 52, captured on video nabbing suspect after foot chase Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc f2463f76-a859-5bc2-a305-c28621320688 article   Westlake Legal Group Fleeing-Suspect-Fort-Worth-PD Fort Worth's top cop, 52, captured on video nabbing suspect after foot chase Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc f2463f76-a859-5bc2-a305-c28621320688 article

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In China’s Crackdown on Muslims, Children Have Not Been Spared

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166073571_65b74708-0e9c-49d1-a018-5c979325078e-facebookJumbo In China’s Crackdown on Muslims, Children Have Not Been Spared Xi Jinping Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) Istanbul (Turkey) Hotan (China) Han Chinese (Ethnic Group) Communist Party of China Chinese Language China

HOTAN, China — The first grader was a good student and beloved by her classmates, but she was inconsolable, and it was no mystery to her teacher why.

“The most heartbreaking thing is that the girl is often slumped over on the table alone and crying,” he wrote on his blog. “When I asked around, I learned that it was because she missed her mother.”

The mother, he noted, had been sent to a detention camp for Muslim ethnic minorities. The girl’s father had passed away, he added. But instead of letting other relatives raise her, the authorities put her in a state-run boarding school — one of hundreds of such facilities that have opened in China’s far western Xinjiang region.

As many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others have been sent to internment camps and prisons in Xinjiang over the past three years, an indiscriminate clampdown aimed at weakening the population’s devotion to Islam. Even as these mass detentions have provoked global outrage, though, the Chinese government is pressing ahead with a parallel effort targeting the region’s children.

Nearly a half million children have been separated from their families and placed in boarding schools so far, according to a planning document published on a government website, and the ruling Communist Party has set a goal of operating one to two such schools in each of Xinjiang’s 800-plus townships by the end of next year.

The party has presented the schools as a way to fight poverty, arguing that they make it easier for children to attend classes if their parents live or work in remote areas or are unable to care for them. And it is true that many rural families are eager to send their children to these schools, especially when they are older.

But the schools are also designed to assimilate and indoctrinate children at an early age, away from the influence of their families, according to the planning document, published in 2017. Students are often forced to enroll because the authorities have detained their parents and other relatives, ordered them to take jobs far from home or judged them unfit guardians.

The schools are off limits to outsiders and tightly guarded, and it is difficult to interview residents in Xinjiang without putting them at risk of arrest. But a troubling picture of these institutions emerges from interviews with Uighur parents living in exile and a review of documents published online, including procurement records, government notices, state media reports and the blogs of teachers in the schools.

State media and official documents describe education as a key component of President Xi Jinping’s campaign to wipe out extremist violence in Xinjiang, a ruthless and far-reaching effort that also includes the mass internment camps and sweeping surveillance measures. The idea is to use the boarding schools as incubators of a new generation of Uighurs who are secular and more loyal to both the party and the nation.

“The long-term strategy is to conquer, to captivate, to win over the young generation from the beginning,” said Adrian Zenz, a researcher at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington who has studied Chinese policies that break up Uighur families.

To carry out the assimilation campaign, the authorities in Xinjiang have recruited tens of thousands of teachers from across China, often Han Chinese, the nation’s dominant ethnic group. At the same time, prominent Uighur educators have been imprisoned and teachers have been warned they will be sent to the camps if they resist.

Thrust into a regimented environment and immersed in an unfamiliar culture, children in the boarding schools are only allowed visits with family once every week or two — a restriction intended to “break the impact of the religious atmosphere on children at home,” in the words of the 2017 policy document.

The campaign echoes past policies in Canada, the United States and Australia that took indigenous children from their families and placed them in residential schools to forcibly assimilate them.

“The big difference in China is the scale and how systematic it is,” said Darren Byler, an anthropologist at the University of Colorado who studies Uighur culture and society.

Public discussion in China of the trauma inflicted on Uighur children by separating them from their families is rare. References on social media are usually quickly censored. Instead, the state-controlled news media focuses on the party’s goals in the region, where predominantly Muslim minorities make up more than half the population of 25 million.

Visiting a kindergarten near the frontier city of Kashgar this month, Chen Quanguo, the party’s top official in Xinjiang, urged teachers to ensure children learn to “love the party, love the motherland and love the people.”

Abdurahman Tohti left Xinjiang and immigrated to Turkey in 2013, leaving behind cotton farming to sell used cars in Istanbul. But when his wife and two young children returned to China for a visit a few years ago, they disappeared.

He heard that his wife was sent to prison, like many Uighurs who have traveled abroad and returned to China. His parents were detained too. The fate of his children, though, was a mystery.

Then in January, he spotted his 4-year-old son in a video on Chinese social media that had apparently been recorded by a teacher. The boy seemed to be at a state-run boarding school and was speaking Chinese, a language his family did not use.

Mr. Tohti, 30, said he was excited to see the child, and relieved he was safe — but also gripped by desperation.

“What I fear the most,” he said, “is that the Chinese government is teaching him to hate his parents and Uighur culture.”

Beijing has sought for decades to suppress Uighur resistance to Chinese rule in Xinjiang, in part by using schools in the region to indoctrinate Uighur children. Until recently, though, the government had allowed most classes to be taught in the Uighur language, partly because of a shortage of Chinese-speaking teachers.

Then, after a surge of antigovernment and anti-Chinese violence, including ethnic riots in 2009 in Urumqi, the regional capital, and deadly attacks by Uighur militants in 2014, Mr. Xi ordered the party to take a harder line in Xinjiang, according to internal documents leaked to The New York Times earlier this year.

In December 2016, the party announced that the work of the region’s education bureau was entering a new phase. Schools were to become an extension of the security drive in Xinjiang, with a new emphasis on the Chinese language, patriotism and loyalty to the party.

In the 2017 policy document, posted on the education ministry’s website, officials from Xinjiang outlined their new priorities and ranked expansion of the boarding schools at the top.

Without specifying Islam by name, the document characterized religion as a pernicious influence on children, and said having students live at school would “reduce the shock of going back and forth between learning science in the classroom and listening to scripture at home.”

By early 2017, the document said, nearly 40 percent of all middle-school and elementary-school age children in Xinjiang — or about 497,800 students — were boarding in schools. At the time, the government was ramping up efforts to open boarding schools and add dorms to schools, and more recent reports suggest the push is continuing.

Chinese is also replacing Uighur as the main language of instruction in Xinjiang. Most elementary and middle school students are now taught in Chinese, up from just 38 percent three years ago. And thousands of new rural preschools have been built to expose minority children to Chinese at an earlier age, state media reported.

The government argues that teaching Chinese is critical to improving the economic prospects of minority children, and many Uighurs agree. But Uighur activists say the overall campaign amounts to an effort to erase what remains of their culture.

Several Uighurs living abroad said the government had put their children in boarding schools without their consent.

Mahmutjan Niyaz, 33, a Uighur businessman who moved to Istanbul in 2016, said his 5-year-old daughter was sent to one after his brother and sister-in-law, the girl’s guardians, were confined in an internment camp.

Other relatives could have cared for her but the authorities refused to let them. Now, Mr. Niyaz said, the school has changed the girl.

“Before, my daughter was playful and outgoing,” he said. “But after she went to the school, she looked very sad in the photos.”

In a dusty village near the ancient Silk Road city of Hotan in southern Xinjiang, nestled among fields of barren walnut trees and simple concrete homes, the elementary school stood out.

It was surrounded by a tall brick wall with two layers of barbed wire on top. Cameras were mounted on every corner. And at the entrance, a guard wearing a black helmet and a protective vest stood beside a metal detector.

It wasn’t always like this. Last year, officials converted the school in Kasipi village into a full-time boarding school.

Kang Jide, a Chinese language teacher at the school, described the frenzied process on his public blog on the Chinese social media platform WeChat: In just a few days, all the day students were transferred. Classrooms were rearranged. Bunk beds were set up. Then, 270 new children arrived, leaving the school with 430 boarders, each in the sixth grade or below.

Officials called them “kindness students,” referring to the party’s generosity in making special arrangements for their education.

The government says children in Xinjiang’s boarding schools are taught better hygiene and etiquette as well as Chinese and science skills that will help them succeed in modern China.

“My heart suddenly melted after seeing the splendid heartfelt smiles on the faces of these left-behind children,” said a retired official visiting a boarding elementary school in Lop County near Hotan, according to a state media report. He added that the party had given them “an environment to be carefree, study happily, and grow healthy and strong.”

But Mr. Kang wrote that being separated from their families took a toll on the children. Some never received visits from relatives, or remained on campus during the holidays, even after most teachers left. And his pupils often begged to use his phone to call their parents.

“Sometimes, when they hear the voice on the other end of the call, the children will start crying and they hide in the corner because they don’t want me to see,” he wrote.

“It’s not just the children,” he added. “The parents on the other end also miss their children of course, so much so that it breaks their hearts and they’re trembling.”

The internment camps, which the government describes as job training centers, have cast a shadow even on students who are not boarders. Before the conversion of the school, Mr. Kang posted a photo of a letter that an 8-year-old girl had written to her father, who had been sent to a camp.

“Daddy, where are you?” the girl wrote in an uneven scrawl. “Daddy, why don’t you come back?”

“I’m sorry, Daddy,” she continued. “You must study hard too.”

Nevertheless, Mr. Kang was generally supportive of the schools. On his blog, he described teaching Uighur students as an opportunity to “water the flowers of the motherland.”

“Kindness students” receive more attention and resources than day students. Boarding schools are required to offer psychological counseling, for example, and in Kasipi, the children were given a set of supplies that included textbooks, clothes and a red Young Pioneer scarf.

Learning Chinese was the priority, Mr. Kang wrote, though students were also immersed in traditional Chinese culture, including classical poetry, and taught songs praising the party.

On a recent visit to the school, children in red and blue uniforms could be seen playing in a yard beside buildings marked “cafeteria” and “student dormitory.” At the entrance, school officials refused to answer questions.

Tighter security has become the norm at schools in Xinjiang. In Hotan alone, more than a million dollars has been allocated in the past three years to buy surveillance and security equipment for schools, including helmets, shields and spiked batons, according to procurement records. At the entrance to one elementary school, a facial recognition system had been installed.

Mr. Kang recently wrote on his blog that he had moved on to a new job teaching in northern Xinjiang. Reached by telephone there, he declined to be interviewed. But before hanging up, he said his students in Kasipi had made rapid progress in learning Chinese.

“Every day I feel very fulfilled,” he said.

To carry out its campaign, the party needed not only new schools but also an army of teachers, an overhaul of the curriculum — and political discipline. Teachers suspected of dissent were punished, and textbooks were rewritten to weed out material deemed subversive.

“Teachers are the engineers of the human soul,” the education bureau of Urumqi recently wrote in an open letter, deploying a phrase first used by Stalin to describe writers and other cultural workers.

The party launched an intensive effort to recruit teachers for Xinjiang from across China. Last year, nearly 90,000 were brought in, chosen partly for their political reliability, officials said at a news conference this year. The influx amounted to about a fifth of Xinjiang’s teachers last year, according to government data.

The new recruits, often ethnic Han, and the teachers they joined, mostly Uighurs, were both warned to toe the line. Those who opposed the Chinese-language policy or resisted the new curriculum were labeled “two-faced” and punished.

The deputy secretary-general of the oasis town of Turpan, writing earlier this year, described such teachers as “scum of the Chinese people” and accused them of being “bewitched by extremist religious ideology.”

Teachers were urged to express their loyalty, and the public was urged to keep an eye on them. A sign outside a kindergarten in Hotan invited parents to report teachers who made “irresponsible remarks” or participated in unauthorized religious worship.

Officials in Xinjiang also spent two years inspecting and revising hundreds of textbooks and other teaching material, according to the 2017 policy document.

Some who helped the party write and edit the old textbooks ended up in prison, including Yalqun Rozi, a prominent scholar and literary critic who helped compile a set of textbooks on Uighur literature that were used for more than a decade.

Mr. Rozi was charged with attempted subversion and sentenced to 15 years in prison last year, according to his son, Kamaltürk Yalqun. Several other members of the committee that compiled the textbooks were arrested too, he said.

“Instead of welcoming the cultural diversity of Uighurs, China labeled it a malignant tumor,” said Mr. Yalqun, who lives in Philadelphia.

There is evidence that some Uighur children have been sent to boarding schools far from their homes.

Kalbinur Tursun, 36, entrusted five of her children to relatives when she left Xinjiang to give birth in Istanbul but has been unable to contact them for several years.

Last year, she saw her daughter Ayshe, then 6, in a video circulating on Chinese social media. It had been posted by a user who appeared to be a teacher at a school in Hotan — more than 300 miles away from their home in Kashgar.

“My children are so young, they just need their mother and father,” Ms. Tursun said, expressing concern about how the authorities were raising them. “I fear they will think that I’m the enemy — that they won’t accept me and will hate me.”

Fatima Er contributed reporting from Istanbul.

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Miami Heat’s Chris Silva breaks down after seeing mom for first time in years

Miami Heat forward Chris Silva received his most memorable Christmas gift two days late.

The Heat surprised Silva by reuniting him with his mother whom he hadn’t seen in several years. They tearfully embraced on the court Friday shortly before the team tipped off against the Indiana Pacers.

The 23-year-old rookie left his home country of Gabon in 2012 with a dream of making it to the NBA.

Westlake Legal Group Chris-Silva-Getty Miami Heat’s Chris Silva breaks down after seeing mom for first time in years Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/sports/nba/miami-heat fox-news/sports/nba/indiana-pacers fox-news/sports/nba fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/sports fnc article a18db64b-3aa2-5eee-b0c5-ebc0c2fc2367

Chris Silva, of the Miami Heat, received a heartwarming surprise by the NBA for the holidays this year. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

In the seven years since, he had only seen his parents and siblings once, when he returned to the African country for two weeks to renew his visa as a sophomore at the University of South Carolina.

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The Heat, the NBA and NBA Africa teamed up this holiday season to surprise Silva, flying in his mother, Carine Minkoue Obame, hours before Friday’s game.

A video shared on the team’s social media accounts showed a shocked Silva as his mother walked onto the court at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“The holidays also are really about being around the people you love and mostly everybody feels very grateful that you’re able to spend that quality time,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said in the video ahead of the surprise. “But I always think about Silva.”

“That’s my mom!” a very emotional Silva can be heard exclaiming after spotting her, as his teammates and coaches cheered and clapped.

Obame took an 18-hour flight from Gabon to Miami to see her son.

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Silva had no idea that she would be making the trip, telling reporters afterward that they spoke days before when she was still in Gabon.

“I’m shook,” he said, adding that he couldn’t believe it was her at first. “I thought I was seeing a ghost, but, like, after I realized that that was her I couldn’t help myself. I was emotional.”

While Silva did not play, Obame stayed to watch the Heat beat the Pacers 113-112.

Westlake Legal Group Chris-Silva-Getty Miami Heat’s Chris Silva breaks down after seeing mom for first time in years Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/sports/nba/miami-heat fox-news/sports/nba/indiana-pacers fox-news/sports/nba fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/sports fnc article a18db64b-3aa2-5eee-b0c5-ebc0c2fc2367   Westlake Legal Group Chris-Silva-Getty Miami Heat’s Chris Silva breaks down after seeing mom for first time in years Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/sports/nba/miami-heat fox-news/sports/nba/indiana-pacers fox-news/sports/nba fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/sports fnc article a18db64b-3aa2-5eee-b0c5-ebc0c2fc2367

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