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Mon, 23 Sep 2019
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Over 50,000 people pack Texas stadium to greet leaders Modi and Trump

modi trump houston
© AP
U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk around the NRG Stadium waving to the crowd during the Howdy, Modi! event in Houston on September 22, 2019.
Over 50,000 people showed up for the 'Howdy, Modi' event in Houston, Texas, giving India's PM a rock star-level welcome. President Donald Trump joined him on stage as the two leaders lauded US-India ties.

The massive rally, held at Houston's NRG Football Stadium, launched some 90-minute music and dance show featuring around 400 artists entertained the audience who gathered hours in advance. People were chanting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's name long before he appeared in a welcome for a foreign leader rarely seen on the American soil.

The spectacle was both campaign event for Trump and the show of the "strategic partnership between the world's oldest and largest democracies," as the White House put it. Although it comes amid ongoing trade disputes between the two nations, the tensions were not reflected in the speeches that lauded strong ties and friendship, receiving ovations from the audience.

Comment: That's populists for you: they're very popular!

Which is why the fake news media in both countries calls them both supremacist nazis...

Their speeches in full:

Modi is one hell of a public speaker. No teleprompters for him!


YouTube reverses verification reforms with apologies after user uprising threatened bottom line

© Reuters/Dado Ruvic
YouTube is reversing course - and apologizing profusely - after an attempt to strip popular channels of their verification checks nearly triggered an uprising. Management listening to the users - is this a social media first?

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki took to Twitter on Friday to grovel before the enraged YouTube community, apologizing for the "frustration and hurt" caused by the mass un-verification and for "missing the mark" with the rollout. "We heard loud & clear how much the badge means to you," she tweeted, alluding to the deluge of angry comments all YouTube management accounts received on Thursday.

Comment: See also:


Iraq: Deadly minivan blast claimed by Daesh

Iraq ambulance
© AFP 2019/Karim Sahib
Ambulance in Karbala, Iraq
The Daesh* terror group on Saturday claimed responsibility for the minivan bombing that killed 12 near the Iraqi city of Karbala, the Daesh-linked Amaq news agency said.

The bomb was set off on Friday near the northern entrance to the city, revered by Shiite Muslims. It reportedly triggered a fire and a blast in the gas-powered vehicle.

A suspect thought to have planted the bomb has been detained, according to al-Sumaria television channel.

Iraqi security forces continue to root out militants after announcing Daesh defeat in 2017.

Wedding Rings

Louisiana man drowns during underwater marriage proposal to his girlfriend at African resort

Marriage proposal
© Kenesha Antoine/Storyful
Steven Weber is seen here moments before his proposal turned tragic. This image was taken from a video filmed by his fiancee Kenesha Antoine.
A Louisiana man reportedly drowned after he asked his girlfriend to marry him in an underwater proposal, she said in a social media post.

"You never emerged from those depths, so you never got to hear my answer, 'Yes! Yes! A million times, yes, I will marry you!!'" his girlfriend, Kenesha Antoine, wrote in an emotional Facebook post on Friday announcing the death.

Steven Weber Jr., of Baton Rouge, died after he appeared to swim up to meet Antoine, she said.

Antoine recorded the proposal and could be heard excitedly giggling as Weber put a note on a glass window that read, "I can't hold my breath long enough to tell you everything I love about you but ... everything I love about you, I love more every day," according to Antoine's Facebook post.


Pakistan bus crash kills 26; brakes fail on mountain road

Bus crash
A bus crash in northern Pakistan killed 26 people Sunday after its brakes failed on a winding mountain road, police said.

Another 20 passengers were injured when the bus smashed head-on into a dirt embankment, said Abdul Wakil, a local police officer.

Such road accidents are common in Pakistan, where motorists largely disregard traffic rules and safety standards on worn-out roads. Last month, a speeding bus fell off a mountainous road into a river in the northwest, killing 24 passengers.


Deplorables: Trump, Brexit and the Demonised Masses

Erie, Pennsylvania

Erie, Pennsylvania
A film about the people who had long been forgotten, but now cannot be ignored -- from the Rust Belt to the Essex coast. Featuring: Salena Zito, Matthew Goodwin, Glenn Loury, Munira Mirza, Paul Embery, Brian Denny and more.


Hundreds Of Egyptians turn out to protest against government, demand Sisi resignation

protests sisi cairo
© Reuters
People gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square on September 20 as part of antigovernment protests.
Rare antigovernment protests have broken out in several Egyptian cities, with demonstrators calling for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to step down.

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights on September 21 said dozens of people were arrested, including at least two journalists, but that no casualties had been reported.

Many of the small street demonstrations were quickly dispersed by riot police using batons and tear gas.

In a rare show of dissent since Sisi's government previously cracked down on opponents, hundreds of people in the city of Suez took to the streets for the second night following a call online to demonstrators to show their opposition to the president.

Comment: Al Jazeera reports:
The demonstrations came after self-exiled Egyptian businessman and actor Mohamed Ali accused President el-Sisi of corruption and called on people to take to the streets and demand the leader be removed. El-Sisi has dismissed the allegations as "lies".

"If el-Sisi does not announce his resignation by Thursday, then the Egyptian people will come out to the squares on Friday in protest," Ali said in a video posted on Tuesday.

Friday's protests were a rare public display of dissent in the country. Egypt outlawed all unauthorised demonstrations in 2013 after el-Sisi, as defence minister, led the military's overthrow of democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi following mass protests.

A pro-government TV anchor said only a small group of protesters had gathered in central Cairo to take videos and selfies before leaving the scene. Another pro-government channel said the situation around Tahrir Square was quiet.

Since el-Sisi came to power, economic austerity measures have been introduced, helping to reboot an economy battered by the 2011 Arab Spring. But the poverty rate has soared.


Hong Kong protesters ransack local mall, set fires and clash with police

Hong Kong protest
© REUTERS / Aly Song
A barricade on fire is pictured during a demonstration by anti-government protesters in Sha Tin, Hong Kong, China.
Some of their actions were peaceful. They chanted anti-government slogans, played protest songs, and built an art object from paper cranes with a politically loaded name.Thousands of masked protesters descended on a Hong Kong satellite town, vandalizing a mall and rail stations. Clashes with police ensued in nearby streets where police used tear gas and activists set barricades on fire.

The action in Sha Tin, a neighborhood in Hong Kong's New Territories, on Sunday followed the template set on the previous day in Tuen Mun, another satellite town. Most of the heat was in the streets, where the activists, who have been waging a 16-week-long campaign against the government in Beijing, erected barricades and set them on fire. Hong Kong police responded with force, deploying tear gas and dispersing the crowds.



Pakistani airline faces losses after running 46 flights without any passengers

PIA airline

PIA flew 46 flights during the time period of 2016 to 2017 from Islamabad.
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) set a new benchmark for providing subpar service as it operated 46 flights without any passengers, it was learnt on Friday.

In an audit report received by Geo News, it was revealed that the national airline suffered huge financial losses by operating 46 empty flights from the federal capital.

Comment: More information on why the seats were empty from an article written in 2017:
The planes used for all Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flights from Lahore to London leave half empty, reportedly because they're told to be on standby for the family of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

According to sources requesting anonymity, the PIA is keeping half of the total seats of all its London-bound flights "reserved" just in case a VIP family had to leave the country at any moment.

As per the details, when a passenger tried to book a ticket in flight PK-757 that departed on August 5, he was told that the entire flight was booked and no seat was available, just until a few hours before the flight when the intending passenger was finally allowed to make a booking.

After boarding, the passenger was shocked to see half of the plane empty. Upon asking, he was told by the flight crew "casually" that half of the seats in all London-bound PIA flights were reserved for Nawaz Sharif's family just in case they had to leave.

When Daily Times contacted PIA spokesman Mashhood Tajwar for comment, he categorically denied the report and said the flights were not full because "this is the off-season". He said the bookings would start picking up again after August 15 ahead of Eid.

Upon asking why the passengers were told the booking had been closed in the off-season, he said it was because of an automatic "Revenue Inventory Management System", which starts dropping the reservations of passengers who earlier made the reservations but did not purchase the tickets as the flight time approached.

At this point, Daily Times asked again if passengers could make reservations without making payments, the spokesman said, "Yes, this is how it usually happens."

He said the time limit up to when a passenger could make payment depended on the flight, seats and the time of booking.

He said that oftentimes, agents overbook seats and the reservations are dropped if tickets are not purchased in 24-48 hours ahead of the flight. He said this was done using an automatic computer-run system.

The PIA spokesman said that in such a case, the loss was compensated with fines from the agents who had booked the passengers making reservation without paying.

When asked why the cabin crew were telling passengers that flights were empty because half the seats were reserved for the Sharif family, he jokingly said, "This is the problem we have been dealing with for a very long time. Our crewmembers like to cut the hands that feed them." He said the cabin crew must have made that comment on their own, and the airline "does not endorse it".

He said it was possible that certain people might have made reservation of 20 seats and then never boarded the plane, adding that in such a case the airline still gets the revenue whether or not the passenger shows up.

He said that 20 seats on one flight was possible, but completely denied the report of half of seats in every flight being reserved for the Sharif family.

"The airline would be in a loss amounting to crores if this was the case, and PIA is not in a position of bearing such a loss," he said, while dismissing the report and laughed it out.

However, if true, it is unclear what made the Sharif family make such a drastic contingency planning, but making the national flag carrier bear the brunt needs some explanation.

This is specially because newly sworn-in Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also faces corruption allegations because of his involvement in the aviation industry, PIA and a private airline that he owns.

The Sharif family might have taken this measure as a matter of urgency but the loss this is causing to the national carrier and inconvenience to passengers are beyond reparable.


3 dead, 4 hospitalized in drug overdoses on Pittsburgh's South Side

police cars drug deaths pittsburgh
Police say there are multiple deaths and hospitalizations that have occurred at the SouthSideWorks City Apartments in Pittsburgh.
Multiple people are in the hospital or dead following drug overdoses in Pittsburgh, according to police.

Police said seven people are involved in what they initially called a medical situation at SouthSideWorks City Apartments. Police said five people were found in an apartment and one was in an elevator. Another person was found on the street.

"The victims -- including three people who died and four who remain hospitalized -- appear to have been at the same venue together, and then to have gone to a second location at a private residence where they apparently overdosed on drugs," public information officer Chris Togneri said in an update Sunday morning. "The victims all took the narcotics at the same time and in the same location."

Togneri said the incident appears to be isolated.