- Associated Press - Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pope calls Armenian slaughter by Ottomans ‘first genocide of the 20th century’

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis on Sunday honored the 100th anniversary of the slaughter of Armenians by calling it “the first genocide of the 20th century,” a politically explosive declaration that will certainly anger Turkey.

Francis, who has close ties to the Armenian community from his days in Argentina, defended his pronouncement by saying it was his duty to honor the memory of the innocent men, women, children, priests and bishops who were “senselessly” murdered by Ottoman Turks.

“Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it,” he said at the start of a Mass Sunday in the Armenian Catholic rite in St. Peter’s Basilica honoring the centenary.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event widely viewed by scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century.



Turkey, however, refuses to call it a genocide and has insisted that the toll has been inflated, and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

___

AP sources: Clinton’s campaign to focus on middle-class economics, helping working families

CHICAGO (AP) - What will drive Hillary Rodham Clinton’s second bid for the presidency? Boosting economic security for the middle class and expanding opportunities for working families, key issues that her campaign says will be heralded by a results-oriented “tenacious fighter.”

The former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state is expected to make her 2016 effort official Sunday with an online video followed by small events with residents of early-voting states over the days ahead. The campaign’s opening strategy was described ahead of the announcement by two senior advisers who requested anonymity to discuss her plans.

If Clinton’s strategy sounds familiar, it might be because President Barack Obama framed the choice for voters in 2012 as between Democrats focused on the middle class and Republicans wanting to protect the wealthy and return to policies that led to the Great Recession.

Clinton intends to sell herself as being able to work with Congress, businesses and world leaders, the advisers said Saturday. That approach could be perceived as a critique of Obama, who has largely been unable to fulfill his pledge to end Washington’s intense partisanship and found much of his presidency stymied by gridlock with Congress.

In New York on Saturday, at the final event put on by “Ready for Hillary,” a group not connected with her campaign that’s worked for the past few years to stoke excitement for it, enthusiastic supporters joined elected officials and local party leaders to celebrate the launch to come.

___

Historic Obama-Castro meeting overshadows anti-American trope at Summit of the Americas

PANAMA CITY (AP) - As usual when Latin America leftist leaders get together with U.S. officials, there were plenty of swipes at the U.S. during the seventh Summit of the Americas.

From 19th century territorial raids on Mexico to U.S. support for the overthrow of Chile’s socialist government in 1973 and the 1989 invasion of Panama that removed Gen. Manuel Noriega, Washington’s interventions in Latin America were all targets of rebuke during long speeches by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his allies. That prompted President Barack Obama to retort, “I always enjoy the history lessons that I receive when I’m here.”

But the historic meeting between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday before the summit closed provides the U.S. and Latin America with an opportunity to move beyond a history of grievances and mistrust and set a course of closer cooperation.

There were concerns in the run-up that recent U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan officials could undermine the goodwill generated by Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba, but they proved unfounded.

The conciliatory tone was set by Castro, who joked that since Cuba had been barred from the previous summits he was entitled to speak well beyond the eight minutes allotted to each of the 30-plus heads of state in attendance.

___

Video purports to show Islamic State militants bombing ruins at ancient Iraqi city of Nimrud

BAGHDAD (AP) - Islamic State militants hammered, bulldozed and ultimately blew up parts of the ancient Iraqi Assyrian city of Nimrud, destroying a site dating back to the 13th century B.C., an online militant video purportedly shows.

The destruction at Nimrud, located near the militant-held city of Mosul, follows other attacks on antiquity carried out by the group now holding a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in its self-declared caliphate. The attacks have horrified archaeologists and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who last month called the destruction at Nimrud “a war crime.”

The seven-minute video, posted late Saturday, shows bearded militants using sledgehammers, jackhammers and saws to take down huge alabaster reliefs depicting Assyrian kings and deities. A bulldozer brings down walls, while militants fill barrels with explosives and later destroy three separate areas of the site in massive explosions.

“God has honored us in the Islamic State to remove all of these idols and statutes worshipped instead of Allah in the past days,” one militant says in the video. Another militant vows that “whenever we seize a piece of land, we will remove signs of idolatry and spread monotheism.”

The militants have been destroying ancient relics they say promote idolatry that violate their fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law, including the ancient Iraqi city of Hatra, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Authorities also believe they’ve sold others on the black market to fund their atrocities.

___

Rev. Al Sharpton expected to preach, attend vigil in North Charleston

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The Rev. Al Sharpton is expected to appear Sunday in North Charleston and attend a vigil for Walter Scott, the black driver who was fatally shot by a white police officer after he fled a traffic stop.

Sharpton is expected to preach at Charity Missionary Baptist Church before attending a vigil near the scene of the shooting.

Scott was shot April 4 and former officer Michael Slager initially said he fired after a tussle over his department-issued Taser. Dramatic witness video showed that Slager fired eight times as Scott ran away. Slager was fired and has been charged with murder.

Scott was a father of four and Coast Guard veteran whose death sparked outrage as another instance of a white law officer fatally shooting an unarmed black man under questionable circumstances.

Scott was driving a 1991 Mercedes that he bought from a neighbor and was headed to an auto parts store when he was stopped, his brother Rodney Scott said.

___

Cancer surge in China prompts rise of special patient hotels, as many flock to cities for care

BEIJING (AP) - Li Xiaohe has set herself up for the long haul in a cramped but sunny room in western Beijing, about a block from China’s most renowned cancer hospital. Her laundry dries on hangers and her husband cooks in a communal kitchen as she embarks on an 84-day program of chemotherapy, following the removal of part of her right breast.

The youthful, soft-spoken 43-year-old, who works as a neighborhood watch leader back home in Henan province, is living in one of the many so-called cancer hotels that dot the neighborhood around the hospital, giving patients an affordable, cozy place to wait for appointments and undergo outpatient treatment.

With lung, bowel and breast cancer rates surging in China, such hotels have sprouted up in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, part of an ad hoc response to what medical experts say is a growing health crisis challenging an unprepared medical system.

“The treatment back home is different from here, so we came here,” Li says in her bedroom, which is filled almost completely by her mattress. “At home, my insurance covers 85 percent of the cost. It’ll be good if I can even get half of it covered here. But I’m doing this for my health. I’m looking for the right treatment.”

These patients venture far for treatment believing they can’t find adequate care in hometowns, instead preferring to camp out near reputable, big-city hospitals to await their turn for care. They do that even though government health insurance often covers less of the cost of care in Beijing and other big cities than it does back home.

___

Chechen commander in Ukraine drawn into Russian intrigue over Nemtsov murder investigation

LYSYCHANSK, Ukraine (AP) - From a dimly lit room at his base in eastern Ukraine, the commander of a battalion of Chechens fighting Russia-backed rebels looked shaken as TV broadcast news of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov’s slaying. Adam Osmayev hailed Nemtsov as a “true hero” both for condemning Russia’s war against separatists in Chechnya and for decrying Russian intervention in the current conflict in Ukraine.

“Watch them try to tie Ukraine to this (murder) in some way,” Osmayev added.

He was half-joking. But two weeks later, Kremlin-friendly Russian newspapers published reports based on unidentified sources in the security services that accused the Ukrainian government and also Osmayev himself of ordering the Feb. 27 murder of Nemtsov in central Moscow in an attempt to destabilize Russia.

Osmayev denies involvement and no evidence has been presented linking him to the hit on Nemtsov, who was a relentless critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Attempts to implicate the British-educated Chechen commander appear to be part of efforts aimed at deflecting attention from anyone close to Putin, including his security services and the powerful leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.

Within days of Nemtsov’s assassination, investigators arrested five Chechens, including a senior officer in Kadyrov’s police force, and charged them with carrying out the killing. All five have denied the charges.

___

2-year-old disc jockey becomes a phenomenon in South Africa, attracting thousands of fans

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - At first it seems like a fluke - a 2-year-old playing with the knobs and buttons of a sophisticated music system. Yet, the tiny boy is in control of the big beat of the bass-heavy house music. He is South Africa’s youngest disc jockey, DJ AJ.

At a shopping mall appearance, a crowd gathers around the young boy as he bops his head to the beat, his large headphones slipping off. Adults whip out their cellphones to capture the moment while children just stare.

Oratilwe Hlongwane is still learning to put together words but the toddler is already able to select and play music from a laptop and has become a viral phenomenon on South Africa’s social media.

His mother, Refiloe Marumo, credits his father’s decision to buy an iPad for his then unborn son. Glen Hlongwane planned to download educational apps to speed up his child’s education. Hlongwane, a gymnastics coach and aspiring DJ, also downloaded a disc jockeying app for himself.

At about a year old, DJ AJ learned how to manipulate the gadget. Not satisfied with number recognition games, he began to fiddle with his father’s DJ app.

___

Around the world, Orthodox Christians mark Easter with candles, prayers and pageantry

Across the world, Orthodox Christians are celebrating Easter, commemorating the day followers believe Jesus was resurrected 2,000 years ago.

Roman Catholics and Protestants marked Easter last Sunday, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Easter this Sunday using the older Julian calendar.

In Egypt, Coptic Christians marked Easter with midnight Mass, holding candles and praying. In Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and President Vladimir Putin attended an Easter Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.

And on the eastern Aegean island of Chios, men fired off handmade rockets overnight to mark Easter as part of a traditional ceremony.

___

Rapper and reality TV star Nelly arrested on drug charges in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Rapper and reality TV star Nelly is facing felony drug charges after being arrested in Tennessee on Saturday.

Tennessee Highway Patrol said in a news release that Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Haynes, was pulled over about 9:20 a.m. because the bus he was riding in failed to display a U.S. Department of Transportation and International Fuel Tax Association sticker.

According to the release troopers smelled marijuana when they reached the bus.

When troopers searched the bus, they found five rocks that tested positive for meth, as well as a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Troopers also say they found numerous handguns.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide