May 25, 2019

USA: A 20-year-old Muslim terrorist from NJ sent money to Hamas, threatened to shoot and mass murder everyone at a pro-Israel march and bomb Trump Tower and Israeli Consulate in New York.

I want to point out that Islam is not a race. Does this guy look Arab to you? It's interesting how Islamists and Marxists of the world condemn people as racist who report the truth about Islamist terror activities. In Europe, the media refers to Islamist terrorist as Asians because they're not allowed to mention Islam or Muslim in reference to the crime? Now that's racist blaming Asians for Islam's terror. The media in the West refers to them as Asian so that when you research Islamist crimes, you'll find next to nothing reported. That's how they innocuously remain the "Religion of Peace." (emphasis mine)
NBC4 News, New York local
written by Jonathan Dienst
Wednesday May 22, 2019

Hamas-Obsessed NJ Man Spoke of NYC Terror Attacks, Sent Money to Militants and Polled Instagram Audience 'Should I Bomb Trump Tower?,' Court Documents Say

A 20-year-old New Jersey man who allegedly sent money abroad to Hamas militants in an effort to support the terror group also spoke of bombing Trump Tower and attacking the Israeli Consulate in New York, authorities say.

He also spewed hatred against Jewish people, allegedly vowing in an Instagram Live video that he would go to a pro-Israel march and "shoot everybody."

The suspect, identified as Jonathan Xie, of Basking Ridge, was arrested Wednesday morning on charges of attempting to provide material support to a designated terror group, making false statements and transmitting a threat of interstate commerce. Though he spoke of the attacks, authorities say there was no specific plot. Xie is expected in federal court in Newark later Wednesday.

One official tells News 4 Xie has a history of mental issues, but his alleged actions, threats -- and the fact investigators found three guns in his family home -- were part of the reason they moved forward with the criminal terror charges. It wasn't immediately clear if the weapons were legally obtained.

According to a criminal complaint, Xie lied in an effort to enlist in the U.S. Army for training earlier this year. Prosecutors say he went as far as completing a Security Clearance Application for National Security Positions in February and answered "no" to the question "Have you ever associated with anyone involved in activities to further terrorism." An error occurred in the application processing and he had to do it again 10 days later. Again, he answered no to that question.

Xie allegedly said he wanted to join "to learn how to kill ... so I can use that knowledge" and "Idk if I pass the training ... If I should do lone wolf."

Last month, FBI surveillance saw Xie outside Trump Tower in Manhattan. Shortly thereafter, according to Instagram records, he posted two photos to his account, one with the words "[S]hould I bomb Trump Tower," a “Yes/No” poll and an emoji of a bomb imposed over the Trump Tower building image.

Records show Xie then posted on Instagram, "Okay, so I went to NYC today and passed by Trump Tower and then I started laughing hysterically . . . s*** I forgot to visit the Israeli embassy in NYC ... i want to bomb this place along with trump tower," according to the criminal complaint.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court, Xie appeared in an Instagram Live video in April wearing a black ski mask and said he was against Zionism and the neo-liberal establishment. He allegedly said he would "find a way" to go join Hamas if he could, then displayed a Hamas flag and got a handgun. "I'm gonna go to the [expletive] pro-Israel march and I'm going to shoot everybody," officials say he said in that video.

In later Instagram posts, Xie allegedly said, "I want to shoot the pro-israel demonstrators . . . you can get a gun and shoot your way through or use a vehicle and ram people . . . all you need is a gun or vehicle to go on a rampage . . . I do not care if security forces come after me, they will have to put a bullet in my head to stop me."

The money to Hamas was sent last year, officials say. Xie allegedly sent $100 via Moneygram to a person in Gaza he believes to be a member of a Hamas faction that has conducted suicide bombings against civilian targets in Israel.

At about the same time, he allegedly posted on Instagram, "Just donated $100 to Hamas. Pretty sure it was illegal but I don't give a damn." He also allegedly sent a small Bitcoin donation last month just to see if it went through.

The investigation revealed other social media accounts for Xie, including a YouTube account which contained a playlist containing videos, many of which advocated or propagandized Soldiers for Allah, the war in Syria, Hezbollah (a foreign terrorist organization), and the Houthi movement in Yemen, as well as support for Bashar al Assad, Saddam Hussein, and North Korea.

"Homegrown violent extremists like Xie are a serious threat to national security,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a statement. "The actions that he took and planned to take made that threat both clear and present, and we commend our law enforcement partners for working closely with us to stop him before he could carry out his plans to commit violence on American soil. We will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard our country and its citizens from the threat of terrorism, whether that threat comes from abroad or – as here – from within."

Each count of attempt to provide material support to terrorists carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The false statements and transmitting a threat in interstate commerce counts each also carry hefty prison time and fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Information on a possible attorney for Xie wasn't immediately available.

"The FBI remains vigilant in its efforts to protect the public from those who support terrorist groups and ideologies," FBI-Newark Special Agent in Charge Gregory Ehrie said. "Thanks to the hard work and determination of our agents and their law enforcement partners on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, this defendant’s further support to terrorism was disrupted and a threat to the safety of our community was averted. This case also illustrates the value of public awareness and participation. When you report suspicious activity, you become a force multiplier in the mission to keep America safe."
The Washington Free Beacon
written by David Rutz
Wednesday May 22, 2019

Federal authorities arrested a 20-year-old Hamas supporter on Wednesday who they say posted an Instagram poll about whether he should bomb Trump Tower in New York City.

FBI agents charged Jonathan Xie of New Jersey with two counts of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, two false statement charges, and a count of transmitting a threat, according to HuffPost. He is scheduled to appear Wednesday afternoon in Newark federal court.

A person who interacted with Xie in an online chat room tipped off the FBI that he wanted to harm Israel supporters. Another user recorded an Instagram Live video Xie posted wearing a black ski mask, in which he said he planned to attend a pro-Israel march and "shoot everybody."

In addition to saying he donated $100 online to Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization governing the Gaza Strip, authorities said Xie posted photos of Trump Tower when he visited New York City in April, writing he wanted to bomb it. He conducted a poll, asking, "Should I bomb Trump Tower," and, according to HuffPo, he wrote in an Instagram chat that President Donald Trump "should be hung from the gallows."

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito called Xie an example of "homegrown violent extremists" who are a "serious threat to national security."

"The actions that he took and planned to take made that threat both clear and present, and we commend our law enforcement partners for working closely with us to stop him before he could carry out his plans to commit violence on American soil," Carpenito said. "We will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard our country and its citizens from the threat of terrorism, whether that threat comes from abroad or—as here—from within."

Trump Tower, located in Manhattan, houses Trump's penthouse residence and also serves as the headquarters for The Trump Organization and his 2020 reelection campaign.
I added this picture of Ilhan Omar's tweet to point out she is a member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. Ilhan Omar supports and defends Hamas Islamist terrorist group.
(emphasis mine)
Counter Extremism Project

The ruling terror party of the Gaza Strip, Hamas openly seeks the destruction of Israel. The group uses suicide bombings, rocket and mortar attacks, shootings, and kidnappings in pursuit of its stated objectives.

Designated by:

Australia, Canada, Egypt, EU, Israel, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States

Qatari Support:
  • Qatar’s financial support of Hamas dates back to at least 2008, when Doha reportedly pledged $250 million to Hamas one year after the terror group violently seized control of the Gaza Strip.*
  • In 2012, Qatar’s then-emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani pledged more than $400 million to Hamas to fund the construction of housing complexes and roads.*
  • In July 2016, the Qatari government announced that it would give $30 million to Hamas in order to help pay the salaries of Gazan public sector workers. The following month, Hamas’s deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh said that Qatar’s donations would also go toward paying Hamas’s “military personnel”.*
  • Qatar continues to host Khaled Meshaal, who served as Hamas’s leader from 2004 until May 2017. In 2015, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah referred to Meshaal—then the leader of Hamas—as a “dear guest of Qatar.”*
  • In early May 2017, Hamas announced updates to its charter at a press conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha.*

ISRAEL: A Gay Rabbinical Student Denied Ordination By A Liberal Orthodox Seminary In New York Will Become A Rabbi Under The Auspices Of An Orthodox Rabbi In Jerusalem On Sunday.

President Trump is a horrible anti-Semite. I'm sharing this information about the Golan Heights because I wanted to share an updated map showing Golan Heights area included in the map representing the sovereign nation of Israel. (emphasis mine)
The Jerusalem Post, Israel
written by Sam Sokol
Saturday May 25, 2019

“He’s who we want out there” working with the gay population, Landes said. “You need somebody on your side sometimes.”

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A gay rabbinical student denied ordination by a liberal Orthodox seminary in New York will become a rabbi under the auspices of an Orthodox rabbi here on Sunday, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has learned.

Daniel Atwood, 27, was informed earlier this year that he would not be ordained after completing his studies at New York’s Yeshivat Chovevei Torah despite the school previously saying it would ordain him. While there has been a significant increase in empathy for LGBT Jews in recent years within the Orthodox community, inclusion has rarely reached the level of communal leadership, and same-sex marriage is universally prohibited.

During an interview Wednesday with JTA, Rabbi Daniel Landes — until recently the longtime head of the co-ed, nondemoninational Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem — announced that he would ordain Atwood during a semichah, or ordination, ceremony for a group of his students on Sunday. Landes, who is Orthodox and politically progressive, has made waves previously for granting ordination to Orthodox women.

“I wouldn’t have done it unless he took a thorough test and I had heard from others that he knew his stuff,” Landes said. “I think that people really trying to serve the Jewish people should be looked after and that I have a small role in that. And when they are totally outstanding I want to be helpful.”

Stressing that he had no problem with Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Landes described Atwood as a “gift” who would be able to provide guidance to an Orthodox gay community that is “underserved.”

“He’s who we want out there” working with the gay population, Landes said. “You need somebody on your side sometimes."

FRANCE: A Bomb Filled With Screws, Nuts And Bolts Exploded Outside A Bakery On A Busy Street In The Heart Of The Country's Third-Biggest City. 13 Injured. Police Hunting Bomber Caught On Camera.

BBC News, UK
written by Staff
Friday May 24, 2019

French police have made an appeal for information in their hunt for a man suspected of planting a parcel bomb in Lyon, which injured 13 people.

The device went off outside a bakery on a busy street in the heart of the country's third-biggest city.

Those hurt, including a girl aged eight, appear to have suffered superficial injuries.

Anti-terrorist prosecutors have taken over the investigation and security has been boosted in public places.

Police released a grainy image of the suspect taken from CCTV footage.

They said he was wearing a long-sleeved dark top and light-coloured shorts.
A police source told AFP news agency the suspect appeared to be about 30 and was using a black mountain bike.

What do we know so far?

The device, which was reportedly full of screws, nuts and bolts, exploded around 17:30 (15:30 GMT) on Victor-Hugo Street, in the historic city centre, between the Saone and Rhone rivers.

French media quoted a receptionist at a nearby hotel as saying there had been a "deafening blast".

"I saw people running and panicking and heard several cries," Alexis Saillan told BFMTV.

The last time a parcel bomb had exploded in France was in 2007 when a device killed one person and injured another in front of a law office in Paris, AFP news agency reports. Police never found the bomber.

Jihadist gun and bomb attacks have killed more than 250 people in France since 2015 and the country remains on high alert, with military patrols a regular feature of security in cities including Lyon.

The blast in Lyon comes days before France votes in the European elections after a closely fought race.
The Local, France
written by AFP staff
Friday May 24, 2019

At least 13 people - including an 8-year-old girl - were wounded on Friday by a suspected package bomb blast on a pedestrian street in the heart of Lyon, southeast France.

The area where the explosion occurred, on the narrow strip of land between the Saone and Rhone rivers in the historic city centre, has been evacuated, according to AFP journalists at the scene.

According to reports in the French press a man was seen arriving in the area on a bike before leaving some kind of package or suitcase at the scene. The man has not been arrested and is the subject of a police manhunt.
A police source told AFP the package contained "screws or bolts" and had been placed in front of a bakery on the corner of the two popular streets.

Police said that none of the injuries appear to be life-threatening.

President Emmanuel Macron called the blast an "attack" during a live Facebook interview, adding that no deaths had been reported "for the time being."

"It's not for me to give a toll but it appears there are no casualties. There have been injuries, so obviously I'm thinking of these injured and their families," Macron said

"An eight-year-old girl was wounded.... We're fairly relieved because apparently there were no serious injuries but on the other hand, we are certain it was an explosive device," said Denis Broliquier, mayor of the city's Second Arrondissement.

He said the suspect sought by police had been seen on video surveillance cameras.

"There was an explosion and I thought it was a car crash," said Eva, a 17-year-old student who was about 15 metres (50 feet) from the site of the blast.

"There were bits of electric wire near me, and batteries and bits of cardboard and plastic. The windows were blown out," he said.

A terrorism probe has been opened by the Paris prosecutor's office, which has jurisdiction over all terror cases in the country.

France has been on high alert following a wave of deadly jihadist terror attacks since 2015 which have killed more than 250 people.

"It's an area in the very centre of Lyon, a major street," the city's deputy mayor in charge of security, Jean-Yves Secheresse, told BFM television.

"These areas are highly secured, the police are continually present," as were patrols by soldiers deployed in a long-running anti-terror operation, he said.

A planned concert by British singer Ed Sheeran went ahead in Lyon, albeit with heightened security.
The Daily Star
written by AFP staff
Saturday May 25, 2019

Police in France were on Saturday hunting a suspect following a blast in a pedestrian street in the heart of the city of Lyon that wounded more than a dozen people just two days ahead of the country's hotly contested European Parliament elections.

President Emmanuel Macron called the explosion that happened Friday, apparently from a package packed with shrapnel, an "attack" and sent his interior minister, Christophe Castaner, to Lyon.

Police issued an appeal for witnesses on Twitter as they sought the suspect, a man believed to be in his early 30s on a mountain bicycle caught on security cameras in the area immediately before the explosion.

An image of the man, wearing light-coloured shorts and a longsleeved dark top, was posted. He was described as "dangerous".

The country's justice minister, Nicole Belloubet, told BFM television it was too soon to say whether the blast was a "terrorist act".

The number of wounded stood at 13 people, with 11 taken to hospitals. None of the injuries was life-threatening. The casualties comprised eight women, a 10-year-old girl, and four men.

A police source said the package contained "screws or bolts". It had been placed in front of a bakery near a busy corner of two popular streets at around 17:30 pm (1530 GMT) Friday, on a balmy spring evening.

The blast occurred on a narrow strip of land between the Saone and Rhone rivers in the historic centre of the southeast city. The area was evacuated and cordoned off by police.

"There was an explosion and I thought it was a car crash," said Eva, a 17-year-old student who was about 15 metres (50 feet) from the site of the blast.

"There were bits of electric wire near me, and batteries and bits of cardboard and plastic. The windows were blown out," he said.

'A huge 'boom''

The attack upended last-minute campaigning ahead of the European Parliament vote on Sunday with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe cancelling his appearance at his centrist party's final rally Friday night.

A terrorism probe was opened by the Paris prosecutor's office, which has jurisdiction over all terror cases in the country. Interior Minister Christophe Castener was on his way to Lyon.

"I was working, serving customers, and all of a sudden there was a huge 'boom'," said Omar Ghezza, a baker who works nearby.

"We though it had something to do with renovation work. But in fact it was an abandoned package," he said.

High alert

France has been on high alert following a wave of deadly jihadist terror attacks since 2015 which have killed more than 250 people.

"It's an area in the very centre of Lyon, a major street," the city's deputy mayor in charge of security, Jean-Yves Secheresse, told BFM television.

"These areas are highly secured, the police are continually present," as were patrols by soldiers deployed in a long-running anti-terror operation, he said.

Lyon is the third-biggest city in France. The population of the city plus its extensive suburbs is 2.3 million.

The most recent package bomb in France dates back to December 2007, when an explosion in front of a law office in Paris killed one person and injured another. Police never found who carried out that attack.

INDIA: 10,000 Muslims Attended The Funeral Of India's Most Wanted Terrorist, An Islamist Militant Who Was Killed By Indian Army. This Is 10,000 "Somebody's' That Want To Do "Something".

BBC News, UK
written by Staff
Friday May 24, 2019

Thousands of people have attended the funeral of Zakir Musa, described as "India's most wanted" militant, who was killed in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The army said that Musa was shot dead on Thursday after they trapped him in a house in south Kashmir's Tral district.

Musa split from the Hizbul Mujahideen, one of the largest groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, and declared his allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2017.

His killing has already brought protests in the Muslim-majority state.

Zakir Musa, whose real name is Zakir Rashid Bhat, was a close aide of Burhan Wani, a charismatic Kashmiri militant leader, whose killing by security forces in 2016 sparked widespread protests. More than 100 civilians lost their lives during four months of clashes with security forces in the Kashmir valley that year.

Local media have said that Zakir Musa's death is the "biggest victory" for the Indian armed forces since the killing of Wani.

It is unclear how many fighters were in his Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind group.

The one-line army statement confirming his death read: "Op Dadasur (Pulwama). One terrorist killed. Terrorist identified as Zakir Musa. Weapons and warlike stores recovered. Operation over."

Correspondents say more than 10,000 people have attended Musa's funeral in Tral.

Kashmir-based journalist Sameer Yasir told the BBC that officials are braced for violence following the confirmation of Musa's death.

However, with news of the killing trickling out, unrest has already started, he says.

"Protesters have clashed with police at many places since morning. Many people shouting 'Musa Musa Zakir Musa' also gathered at the only highway that connects Srinagar with the rest of India and threw stones at forces. The police have been retaliating with tear gas shells and pellet guns," Mr Yasir added.

Mobile internet services have been suspended and a curfew imposed in the region. Schools and colleges have been asked to remain closed on Friday.

Five things to know about Kashmir
  • India and Pakistan have disputed the territory for nearly 70 years - since independence from Britain
  • Both countries claim the whole territory but control only parts of it
  • Two out of three wars fought between India and Pakistan centred on Kashmir
  • Since 1989 there has been an armed revolt in the Muslim-majority region against rule by India
  • High unemployment and complaints of heavy-handed tactics by security forces battling street protesters and fighting insurgents have aggravated the problem
India blames Pakistan for fomenting violence in the region by supporting militancy - a charge Pakistan denies.

Since 1989, Kashmir has been convulsed by regular episodes of violence that have killed more than 70,000 people, including many Kashmiri Hindus targeted by militants in the early 1990s.
I added this picture of Ilhan Omar's tweet to point out she is a member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.
(emphasis mine)

May 24, 2019

INDIA: Narendra Modi Secures Landslide Victory! He Was Re-Elected As Prime Minister Of India In General Election 2019 Held On Thursday May 23rd. Yay! 🎉😊👍

BBC News, UK
written by Staff
Thursday May 23, 2019

Indian PM Narendra Modi has secured another five-year term after winning a landslide general election victory.

His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looks set to win about 300 of the 543 seats in parliament, in what Mr Modi hailed as "a historic mandate".

The main opposition alliance, which is headed by Rahul Gandhi's Congress party, has admitted defeat.

The vote had been widely viewed as a referendum on the prime minister's Hindu nationalist politics.

"We all want a new India. I want to bow down my head and say thank you," Mr Modi said in a victory address to BJP supporters on Thursday evening.

More than 600 million people voted in a marathon six-week process.

Mr Modi has not just exceeded exit poll predictions but has also won a larger share of the vote than the 2014 elections, partial results show.

At a press conference in Delhi, Mr Gandhi conceded the general election as well as his Amethi seat in Uttar Pradesh, which he had held since 2004 and his family had held for decades.

What are the numbers?

Partial and declared results show Mr Modi's BJP is projected to win 300 seats on its own, and combined with the party's allies, this number reaches nearly 350.

The main opposition Congress party is expected to win fewer than 60.

A party or coalition needs at least 272 seats to secure a majority in the 543-member lower house of parliament, or Lok Sabha.

In 2014, the BJP won 282 seats - the biggest victory by any party in 30 years - and with its allies it secured 336 seats in that parliament.

The Congress, which won just 44, suffered its worst defeat in 2014 and with its allies took up just 60 seats in the lower house.

This year 900 million voters were eligible to take part in seven rounds of voting, making it the largest election the world has ever seen.

The final result may not be known for several hours or longer.

What challenges does Modi face?

In his victory speech, Mr Modi said there were only two castes in India now. "The poor and those who want to work to bring them out of poverty. We need to empower both."

Growing unemployment and fears of a recession will see Mr Modi face demands to provide jobs for the millions of young people entering the labour market in coming months.

Under his first term, India's economy - the world's sixth largest - lost some of its momentum. A leaked government report this year put the unemployment rate at the highest it's been since the 1970s.

Farmers in India will also be hoping he will prioritise the agricultural industry, after a crop glut and declining commodity prices saw their incomes stagnate.

Many saw this election as a battle for India's identity and the protection of minorities. A strident - and at times violent - Hindu nationalism has become mainstream in the past five years, with increased attacks against minorities, including the lynching of dozens of Muslims accused of smuggling cows.

And national security was put into the spotlight after a suicide attack by a Pakistan-based militant group killed at least 40 paramilitary police in Indian-administered Kashmir in February. India then launched unprecedented air strikes in Pakistan, prompting it to respond in kind and bringing the two countries to the brink of war.

CNN-News18 published on May 24, 2019: Modi celebrates his historic win in Lok Sabha Elections, addressing the public who brought him back to power with one of the biggest mandate ever. #LokSabhaElections2019

The intro: Our top story. The united oppositions attempt to halt the BJP's juggernaut was completely in vain as we saw it yesterday. Prime Minister came back with a thumping mandate, even larger than what he received by ?. The BJP has registered an absolute majority in Lok Sabha by winning 303 seats. As India's tally is now at 353. Narendra Modi of course is the first Prime Minister to have returned to office with such a huge mandate after 1971. The union cabinet is about to meet this evening where a resolution will be passed to dissolve the 16th Lok Sabha. BJP sources have said to News18 that the Prime Minister's swearing in is likely to take place on the 30th of May.
The Indian Express
written by Kavita Upadhyay
Sunday May 19, 2019

Modi reached Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun on Saturday morning, where he was received by Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat. He then proceeded to Kedarnath, reaching amidst tight security at 9.30 am, for what Uttarakhand BJP president Ajay Bhatt called a “spiritual and absolutely personal” visit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent the night before Election 2019 comes to an end in a cave 11,700 feet up in the Himalayas. While the newly constructed space near the Kedarnath shrine is designated a ‘meditation cave’, it was not clear whether the PM was to spend his entire time inside, starting 2 pm Saturday, meditating.

Rudraprayag District Magistrate Mangesh Ghildiyal said dinner would be sent for the PM to the cave which, he added, has electricity, a heater, a simple bed, mattress, a small bathing area, an attached toilet, and an electric geyser for hot water. “There’s a telephone too in the cave. And two tents have been erected at 30 m and 100 m from the cave for security reasons,” Ghildiyal said.

With intermittent rain exacerbating the cold, the temperature in Kedarnath, which is covered in snow, is expected to drop to minus 3 degrees Celsius at night.

The Sunday Express has learnt that the PMO had sought permission for the visit from the Election Commission, and it was approved on the condition that no Model Code of Conduct provisions are violated.

Modi reached Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun on Saturday morning, where he was received by Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat. He then proceeded to Kedarnath, reaching amidst tight security at 9.30 am, for what Uttarakhand BJP president Ajay Bhatt called a “spiritual and absolutely personal” visit.

Ghildiyal said the PM did darshan at the shrine, followed by a puja. “After the puja, the Prime Minister reviewed the reconstruction works at Kedarnath.

This was followed by a review meeting with the agencies undertaking the construction works.” Modi tweeted a video where he was seen discussing reconstruction-related issues with Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Utpal Kumar Singh, as well as photos of himself at Kedarnath.

After lunch, at around 2 pm, Modi headed to the ‘meditation cave’. Located along the banks of the Mandakini river, the 10 ft-by-6 ft cave was built last year to accommodate a maximum of two persons seeking to meditate on Kedarnath premises. Modi is the first person to use it, Ghildiyal said.

In photos released by ANI, the PM was seen siting inside the cave wrapped in a saffron shawl, with only his face showing and his eyes closed.

B D Singh, the CEO of the Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee, who is present in Kedarnath, said, “The Prime Minister will be spending the night in the cave. However, it is not clear whether he would be meditating the whole night.”

Ghildiyal too said there was no clarity on Modi’s meditation schedule. “He has been meditating throughout the afternoon, but all we know is that he will be leaving Kedarnath for the Badrinath shrine at 8:30 tomorrow (Sunday) morning, before which there’s a darshan scheduled at the Kedarnath shrine.”

BJP president Bhatt said, “He (Modi) is in Kedarnath for shaanti (peace). It is a spiritual and an absolutely personal visit. He is meditating in a cave. It is the Prime Minister’s right to practise his religion. There’s nothing political about it.”

Modi had last visited Kedarnath in November, when he had also inspected the reconstruction works, which were started after the 2013 flash floods destroyed much of the valley. His government made Kedarnath reconstruction one of its pet projects, and during a visit in October 2017, the PM had laid the foundation stone for five projects in the Kedarpuri area, which encompasses the Kedarnath shrine.

TAIWAN: On May 17th, Marriage Equality Comes to Taiwan In A Historic First for Asia To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage. This New Law Comes Into Effect On May 24th. 😊👍💖🎉
written by Suyin Haynes
Thursday May 23, 2019

Tens of thousands of celebrators gathered outside Taiwan’s parliament on May 17, waving rainbow flags as the island’s government became the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. The move comes at a moment of change for LGBTQ rights in Asia: even as nations like India–whose Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality in 2018–have expanded rights, others including Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei have cracked down. Advocates in the region now hope Taiwan’s example can help tip the scales toward inclusion.

While strongly supported by President Tsai Ing-wen, marriage equality provoked strong opposition from conservative and religious groups in Taiwan. Conservative lawmakers had tabled two rival bills proposing same-sex unions, but the government’s own legislation–the bill that passed–includes the word marriage and grants same-sex couples many of the same rights as heterosexual couples. About 200 same-sex couples were reportedly planning a mass marriage registration in Taipei on May 24, the day the law comes into effect.

Human-rights group Amnesty International has said the law “falls short of genuine and full marriage equality,” as it does not provide equal adoption rights. The law also does not recognize marriages to foreigners whose countries do not permit same-sex marriage. Despite such limitations, the legislation gained the backing of LGBTQ groups, which saw it as the best option available for equality.

Chinese state media tweeted a congratulatory message in support of the law on May 18, but Taiwan’s lawmakers rebuked the praise, seeing it as an attempt by Beijing to take credit for the new law while diminishing their autonomy. (The mainland views Taiwan, an island of 23 million people that lies 112 miles off the coast, as its sovereign territory.) The social scuffle came amid a wave of censorship of LGBTQ subjects on social media in China, where homosexuality is legal but same-sex marriages are not. Leaders weren’t the only ones talking about the news: posts about Taiwan’s law trended on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, attracting over 100 million views.

May 23, 2019

USA: The President Of 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation Removed Record Set By Biological Male Transgender From Female Raw Powerlifting Competition, National Women’s Championship.

The Daily Caller
written by Mary Margaret Olohan, Reporter
Monday May 13, 2019

The president of 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation removed the record set by a transgender weight lifter for a national women’s championship because the lifter is a biological man.

Paul Bossi, the president of the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation, said Wednesday in a statement posted to Twitter that Mary Gregory is a biological man but did not reveal this to the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation League. The group boasts of their authenticity in weight lifting, saying they are “100% raw” and do not allow any wraps, supports or enhancing drugs.

“The lifter identifies as female, and so entered the contest (with no consultation with the Meet Director or (100% Raw Officials),” Bossi said in a statement. “Our rules, and the basis of separating genders for competition, are based on physiological classification rather than identification. On the basis of all information presented to the Board of Directors for this particular case, the conclusion made, is that the correct physiological classification is male.”

“Since the lifter’s gender classification for the purpose of our rules is not consistent with female, no female records will be broken by these lifts,” the statement continues. Bossi also revealed that the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation is creating a transgender weight lifting division to which Gregory will be transferred.

Mary Gregory posted an April 9 photo on Instagram that shows the differences in the lifter’s appearance before and after transitioning, saying “One year ago I took my first steps in Public as openly female. Lots of things have changed!” Other posts depict Gregory lifting and discussing the emotional toll from the weight lifting controversy.

USA: NBC4 I-Team Undercover Investigation Has Exposed Rampant Illegal Behavior At Los Angeles Public Libraries. LAPD Cracks Down On Crime At Los Angeles City Libraries. Wow I Had No Idea.

NBC4 News I-team, Los Angeles local
written by Joel Grover and Amy Corral
November 13, 2017

An NBC4 I-Team undercover investigation has exposed rampant illegal behavior at Los Angeles public libraries.

For three months, I-Team hidden cameras captured scenes of drug use, lewd acts and other criminal activity at local branches that the head of the library system described as "shocking" and "disturbing."

At the Downtown Central Library, a man outside the building offered an undercover NBC4 I-Team producer what he said was crystal meth.

On other days, outside Hollywood’s Goldwyn Library, a building designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, NBC4’s hidden cameras captured people injecting what appeared to be heroin, as well as smoking what appeared to be crystal meth, crack cocaine and marijuana. One man our undercover producer met inside the library offered her what he said was the drug Ecstasy. Later that day, I-Team cameras captured the same man trying to steal a bicycle locked on the library fence.

NBC4 also found used syringes and condoms littering the ground in front of the Pio Pico branch in Koreatown.

The I-Team documented lewd behavior as well.

On one afternoon, NBC4 cameras rolled as a man masturbated next to the Goldwyn Libray book return box in broad daylight.

On another another day at Goldwyn, the I-Team documented a man sexually stimulating another man as children passed nearby.

"It’s shocking, it’s disturbing," said city librarian John Szabo when the I-Team showed him video of these incidents.

"It’s wrong," Szabo said, adding that families shouldn’t have to walk by criminal behavior on the way into the library.

"There’s always something going on," said Harriet Zaretsky, who lives in an apartment with a balcony that overlooks Goldwyn Library. "[It’s] either a drug deal, or a hooker..."

Zaretsky told the I-Team she’s complained to the library at least 20 times about illegal activity, but said she’s never seen library staff, police officers or security guards respond.

According to a memorandum of agreement signed by the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) and the Los Angeles Police Department, the LAPD is required to provide security "at and directly adjacent to the LAPL facilities."

The Library paid the LAPD $5,420,337 for security in 2017.

The LAPD is currently using the funds to provide the library with 10 police officers (on overtime shifts), 41 city security officers and 26 contract security officers at the Downtown Central Library and 72 branches.

But at the same time the I-Team observed people engaged in criminal activities at the Goldwyn, Durant and Downtown Central library branches, our cameras documented police officers spending much of their time texting on their cell phones or talking, instead of patrolling.

At the Downtown Central branch, at the same time a man was offering what he said was crystal meth to an undercover producer, NBC4 cameras documented one Los Angeles Police Officer who appeared to be sleeping.

When an undercover producer told officers she’d seen drug activity happening outside, an officer behind the Central branch security desk said he’d send an officer to investigate, but the I-Team never saw an officer dispatched.

"Our expectation absolutely is that [police officers] will be on the perimeter of the building, where these incidents occurred," said city librarian Szabo.

Szabo added he’d "absolutely" prefer to see police officers patrolling, instead of reading or texting.

NBC4 asked the LAPD to comment on the behavior documented by the I-Team’s hidden cameras.

"The Los Angeles Police Department is committed to protecting the city’s public spaces, and will work with our partners at the Los Angeles Public Library o ensure the environment in and around our libraries is safe and secure for patrons,” said an email from LAPD public information director Josh Rubenstein.

"Furthermore, any officer who violates department policy is subject to an internal administrative investigation," the email continued.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has agreed to an interview with NBC4 later this week to answer the I-Team’s questions about crime & safety issues at LA Public Libraries.

In 2016, Library staff filed 1077 "incident reports" for crimes on library property including theft, assaults, threats, public nuisance and vandalism.

LAPD Cracks Down on Crime at Los Angeles City Libraries

NBC4 News I-team, Los Angeles local
written by Joel Grover and Amy Corral
November 16, 2017

The Los Angeles Police Chief is adding more officers to patrol Los Angeles public libraries, in response to an NBC4 undercover investigation that exposed illegal activity at local libraries. Those crimes often occurred while LAPD cops were on duty inside the libraries.

"I was personally ashamed of our performance," L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck told the I-Team's Joel Grover after watching the NBC4 report. "Believe me, I've let the people who work for me know that."

The I-Team spent three months undercover, exposing rampant drug use, dealing and lewd conduct at local branches. Hidden cameras caught people smoking crystal meth, snorting drugs, and shooting up what appeared to be heroin right outside libraries, while LAPD officers texted, read and talked inside. In one case, an LAPD officer at downtown's Central Library appeared to be dozing off with a newspaper on his lap, while a man nearby snorted what he said was crystal meth, and others smoked marijuana.

During hours of surveillance over a twelve week period, the I-Team never observed officers patrolling any areas outside the libraries.

Chief Beck says he's already increased armed police presence at six L.A. public library branches that are considered most "problematic." He said he's also issuing new orders to LAPD unarmed security officers assigned to libraries.

"One of the things we've changed, partially because of [the NBC4] piece, is they are going to be patrolling the adjacent environs to the library," Beck said. "We're going to … direct them to get out and work the neighborhoods, not just stay in the library."

The same day Chief Beck made that assurance, the I-Team observed an increased police presence outside the Goldwyn and Durant library branches in Hollywood, where NBC4 cameras had documented illegal behavior.

"We are going to focus the kind of resources that we have … to make sure people feel secure around the libraries," said Beck.

One woman who lives in an apartment across the street from Goldwyn Library, and asked that her name not be used, told the I-Team she and her neighbors have been "terrified" because of the illegal activity near their homes. She said she's noticed the heightened police presence, but expressed concern that the LAPD's new commitment to library security will be short-lived. "I have seen a difference. I hope it lasts," the woman told NBC4.

"We will do a better job (securing libraries)," Police Chief Beck told NBC4. "Judge me on what I do, not what I say."

USA: California Democrats Face Crisis Of Credibility After Slew Of Lawsuits.

The Hill
written by Reid Wilson
Tuesday May 21, 2019

More than a dozen presidential candidates will descend on San Francisco later this month to woo delegates attending the California Democratic Party's state convention.

But those candidates may be just a sideshow, as delegates battle between themselves over the future of a party shaken to its core by a series of lawsuits alleging harassment and retaliation.

Amid the speeches and glad-handing, delegates will pick a new state party chair to take over for Eric Bauman,who resigned in November, just weeks after California Democrats swept to historic wins in congressional and state legislative races, in the face of multiple allegations of improper behavior.

In the months since Bauman's exit, current and former employees have filed three lawsuits against the party alleging sexual harassment and abuse, misconduct and a hostile work environment in which unwanted advances, drinking and retaliation against whistleblowers were common.

"We were really on a high, on a wave," said Christine Pelosi, chair of the state Democratic Women's Caucus and daughter of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). "Then, there was a real crash around Thanksgiving when the lawsuit happened."

Now, the largest state Democratic Party in the country is at a crossroads, less than a year before its Super Tuesday presidential primary and about a year and a half before it must defend several new members of Congress and its supermajority in the legislature.

A bitter fight in the chair's race last year - complete with allegations of vote-rigging and challenged ballots - left the party deeply divided, and the lawsuits and recriminations have ripped open those wounds.

"A lot of the healing that had been done, it was like right back to where some people had been at the end of the last chair's race or worse," Christine Pelosi said. "What we don't want is another competitive race spilling over into a summer of acrimony."

Of the seven candidates who have qualified for the ballot this year, three are seen as front-runners: Kimberly Ellis, a San Francisco-area Democratic activist who narrowly lost to Bauman last year; Rusty Hicks, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor; and Daraka Larimore-Hall, who heads the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party.

If none of the candidates receive a majority of the vote on Saturday, June 1, the top two vote-getters will face off in a runoff the following day. Most observers say Ellis and Hicks are likely to make the runoff.

All three major contenders have pledged to rebuild the party to rid it of a boy's club culture. But Ellis and Hicks diverge in the way they view the role of the party, and whether it has a role in influencing the legislative agenda in Sacramento and Washington.

Ellis, who last year had support from Our Revolution, the group that grew out of Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign, wants the party to push Democratic legislators on some issues.

She opposed a bill introduced in the state Assembly this year that would have given legislators wider latitude in raising and spending campaign money, which would have given them a measure of independence from the party.

"This is a time when our party must do more, be more and mean more in people's everyday lives," Ellis said in an interview. "They want this party to be a platform for educating the community, a platform for connecting the dots as to how politics touches our everyday lives, a platform for empowering people."

Hicks is less willing to say the party should exert ideological pressure.

"At this particular moment in the party's history, I think it's important we have a thoughtful, strategic leader who both understands and can build upon the victories of 2018," Hicks told The Hill. "The state party can play an important role in partnering with grassroots leaders to ensure that elected officials on the local level are carrying out the Democratic values that you see at the state level."

The three front-runners say they will remain neutral in a wide-open presidential field, one that includes two Californians, Sen. Kamala Harris (D) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D).

California Democrats will meet again in six months to decide whether to endorse any candidate, though no candidate is likely to win a majority of the votes necessary to secure the nod.

In interviews with more than a dozen delegates who plan to vote in the race, few were concerned that the turmoil within the party would have lasting electoral consequences - but most said the next chair needs to move quickly to reform the toxic culture.

"Obviously we picked the wrong person to chair last time, and whoever is elected will need to take swift, tangible steps to address issues of sexual harassment and misconduct within the party," said Leslie Austin, who chairs the San Benito County Democratic Party and who backs Larimore-Hall.

"The party has been somewhat disorganized," said Raymond Bishop, who heads the party's business and professional caucus. "It has to be well run, well organized, and the members have to be in the loop."

USA: NBC4 I-Team Reported Los Angeles Most Notorious Trash Pile To The City's 311 Services Hotline, They Were Told It Could Take Up To 90 Days Before It's Cleaned Up. Epicenter For Typhus.

NBC4 News, Los Angeles local
written by Joel Grover and Amy Corral
Monday May 20, 2019

Rat-infested piles of rotting garbage left uncollected by the city of Los Angeles, even after promises to clean it up, are fueling concerns about a new epidemic after last year's record number of flea-borne typhus cases.

Even the city's most notorious trash pile, located between downtown LA's busy Fashion and Produce districts, continues to be a magnet for rats after it was cleaned up months ago. The rodents can carry typhus-infected fleas, which can spread the disease to humans through bacteria rubbed into the eyes or cuts and scrapes on the skin, resulting in severe flu-like symptoms.

Update: Forty-eight hours after this report, sanitation crews removed trash at the Ceres Avenue location.

The NBC4 I-Team first told Mayor Eric Garcetti's office about the piles of filth in the 700 block of Ceres Avenue in October. At the time, he promised to make sure trash doesn't pile up like that.

The garbage was cleaned after the interview, but conditions have worsened over the next seven months.

"I can’t walk down the street without thinking that a flea could jump on me," said Estela Lopez, who represents business owners in the area.

After reporting the pile of waste to the city's 311 services hotline, the I-Team was told it could take up to 90 days before it's cleaned.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, of UCLA, said there's no time to waste.

"Trash and food waste attracts rats," said Klausner. "It does pose a public health risk."

An out-of-control rat population can even lead to the spread of dangerous strains of salmonella and bubonic plague, he noted.

Other large U.S. cities, like New York and Washington DC, have teams devoted to aggressive rat control. In the nation's capital, they're experimenting with bait stations laced with a rat contraceptive.

But in Los Angeles, the I-Team learned there is no plan or program to control the growing rat population that feasts at trash piles like the one on Ceres Avenue.

"It's something that we'll look into," said Pepe Garica, of Los Angeles' bureau of sanitation.

Rats carrying typhus-infected fleas were found around LA last fall, according to county health department records obtained by the I-Team. The agency did not provide details about where the fleas were found, saying that information would cause confusion and unnecessary alarm, but the I-Team discovered that typhus-infected fleas were found on animals waiting to be adopted at the North Central Animal Shelter.

Between 2013 and 2017, county residents reported a yearly average of nearly 60 cases. That's twice as many the number reported in the previous five years.

Last year, a record 124 cases were reported in Los Angeles County.

Symptoms of flea-borne typhus, which can start within two weeks after infection, include high fever, headache, chills, and body aches. Rashes can appear on the chest, back, arms and legs. Fatalities occur in less than 1 percent of cases.

The I-Team asked the Department of Public Health what became of the shelter animals carrying fleas that tested positive for typhus. We are still waiting to hear back.

NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.

USA: Project Veritas WINS Defamation Case – Undercover Journalism Vindicated. A Federal Judge Threw Out Defamation Lawsuit On May 22nd Filed By A Leftist Agitator Against Project Veritas. Yay 👍

The Washington Times
written by Bailey Vogt
Wednesday May 22, 2019

A federal judge dismissed a woman’s libel lawsuit against conservative advocacy group Project Veritas and its founder James O’Keefe Wednesday regarding the depiction of her assault during a 2016 President Trump campaign rally.

“While the internet has broadened the number and the variety of available voices in the marketplace of ideas, it has also served to undermine the public’s confidence in the veracity of those sources,” United States District Judge Martin Reidinger, according to a transcript of Wednesday’s court session in Asheville, North Carolina.

“That fine line has to be walked. And I think that walking that fine line required this court to take a close look at what issues are really for this court and what issues are really for this jury,” he said.

He added: “if citizens and the media are handcuffed by a fear of liability, that’s detrimental to political discourse, it is detrimental to society as a whole, and it is detrimental, really, to our fundamental freedom.”

Judge Reidinger stopped the case and dismissed the jury before making his decision.

The woman, 71-year-old Shirley Teter filed a libel lawsuit after a Project Veritas video featured her being struck in the face during a protest of Mr. Trump. She claimed the video depicted her as part of a plot of Democratic operatives to cause violence.

The Judge ruled on the side of Project Veritas, who argued Teter’s lawyers did not present enough evidence of actual malice in their depiction of her and her speaking with the media about her assault made her a public figure.

Mr. O’Keefe praised the decision, saying: “Let this be a lesson to all those who abuse our legal system to settle petty political disputes. The courts have once again vindicated our undercover methods and journalism. Project Veritas is 6-0 in lawsuits for a reason – the law is on our side.”
Project Veritas
written by Staff
Wednesday May 22, 2019
  • Directed Verdict – Teter v Veritas Thrown Out By Federal Judge
  • No “clear and convincing evidence of actual malice”
  • Teter suit is based on “thinnest of thin reeds”
  • O’Keefe: “Veritas 6 – 0 on lawsuits!”
(Asheville) A federal judge has issued a Directed Verdict in “Teter v. Project Veritas,” ruling that the plaintiff did not have the requisite evidence to support a defamation claim. Plaintiffs must prove deliberate malice on behalf of the defendant in order to prove defamation. The Directed Verdict came on the third day of the trial. Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe, who was in Asheville, North Carolina for the trial, released the following statement.
“Let this be a lesson to all those who abuse our legal system to settle petty political disputes. The courts have once again vindicated our undercover methods and journalism. Project Veritas is 6-0 in lawsuits for a reason – the law is on our side.”
United States District Judge Martin Reidinger excused the jury late in the day on May 21 and invited arguments on why O’Keefe and Project Veritas should not be granted a Directed Verdict. The attorneys for Teter struggled to convince the judge, who would not allow the First Amendment to be trampled upon.

On Wednesday, the judge articulated passionate reasoning in his ruling to protect the First Amendment rights of journalists:
“Therefore, if citizens and the media are handcuffed by a fear of liability, that’s detrimental to political discourse, it is detrimental to society as a whole, and it is detrimental, really, to our fundamental freedom.”
The judge also tactfully dismantled each plank of the plaintiff’s argument and called it the “thinnest of thin reeds.”
“Any one of these points [of the plaintiff’s argument], if they are evidence at all of actual malice, would constitute, really, the thinnest of thin reeds.”
You can read the full transcript of this morning’s proceedings below.

Project Veritas successfully defended itself and the first amendment in this case, which lasted nearly two years. “Teter v. Project Veritas” is a landmark ruling that set legal precedent for the first amendment.