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Texas Shooting: Gunman Kills Five as US Gun Law Fails Again



Gun, US Gun Law

Last updated on September 3rd, 2019

Call it failure to implement background checks on possession of guns, implementing an appropriate gun law or the stalemate between two sides of the house, the number of shootings in the US beg to find an immediate answer.

On Saturday, another gunman in West Texas reportedly opened fire and killed five people, whilst injuring at least 21. The incident happened only 4 weeks after a man shot 20 people dead in the Walmart store in El Paso.

As per the authorities, the armed man started firing randomly from his vehicle and then from a hijacked mail truck. However, in retaliation, the police shot him dead in a movie theater parking lot.

Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke, after the shooting, identified the man as a white male shooter in his 30s. His name and the reason behind the outrage though were not made public.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement Saturday, saying: “The First Lady and I are heartbroken over this senseless and cowardly attack, and we offer our unwavering support to the victims, their families, and all the people of Midland and Odessa. The state of Texas and the Department of Public Safety are working closely with local law enforcement to provide resources as needed and deliver justice for this heinous attack.”

The Texas shooting triggered when two Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers tried to carry out a traffic stop on a vehicle on Interstate 20 westbound, DPS Lt. Elizabeth Carter said. However, before the vehicle came to rest, the driver pointed a gun towards his rear window and started shooting, which wounded an officer of the DPS patrol unit.

The car then travelled west into Odessa and shot another person. The vehicle continued to drive towards the city, while the shooter shot down multiple people on his way, Chief said. Consequently, Devin Sanchez, a spokesman for the City of Odessa said that the golden coloured vehicle was moving around the shopping centres and shooting people around the area.

The armed man also switched his vehicle while being chased down, and stole a mail truck to continue the Texas shooting spree. The officers also reported that there were bewildered moments while pursuit, and they thought there might be two shooters firing back at them from each vehicle. The gunman was finally shot down in the theater parking lot.

One of witnesses to the shooting, Alex Wood said: “When we had arrived about five minutes before the shooting had begun, I had no clue the shooter was even there,” Woods told CNN. “There was just police everywhere and there was a bunch of people behind the theater in the field walking and next thing you know this gunfire is going off.” “Next thing you know, I hear a pop, so, I flip the camera to where the theaters at and I just see a bunch of gunfire going off,” he added.

US has been mired in controversies over passing of the appropriate gun law for years now. While both sides of the house keep playing the blame game, who is to be blamed for the death of innocents and rapid shootings in the US, still draws a huge question mark.

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Climate Protests takes a Global Turn with Millions of Supporters Rallying Together



Climate Protests

In the day by day evolving world, what the humans have really forgotten is to preserve the climate. With innumerable changes in the climate system that has resulted in new weather patterns, it has become an alarming situation that needs a strict acknowledgement. When the international governments are busy with other agendas, the humans, who believe that the changing phenomenon would lead to dire consequences, have now resorted to climate protests.

On Friday, millions of people all over the world gathered in their respective regions to carry out huge climate protests at a global level. The protestors including school children and adults were basically inspired by a Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who has successfully raised a global awareness by talking about climate crisis.

In a rally, Thunberg said, “Our house is on fire. We will not just stand aside and watch.”

The 16-year-old girl even held the politicians accountable for their lack of strict actions in the environment related concerns.

The protests were citizens’ outcry against global warming and its various effects. Such a contradictory act! Humans, who are solely responsible for the rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system are now protesting to protect the climate.

Not only that millions of people across the world held banners in yesterday’s protests with slogans written on them, appealing to their respective governments to protect their future. Well the first step could start from a local level i.e. with an individual’s boycotting things that are responsible for adversely damaging the environment.

Following the UN summit that is to take place at the organisation’s headquarters in Manhattan by next week, the climate protests at the global level have heightened. One of the major reasons is to get it acknowledged in the meeting.

Starting from Pacific islands like Kiribati, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu the protests have spread in the entire Asian countries. The protestors threatened by the rising sea levels posted, “We are not sinking, we are fighting.”

While in the country, thousands of citizens joined a global climate change protest, with pupils walking out of schools and workers downing tools to demand action.

Other than that, the climate protests even attracted Americans, Europeans and Africans. Nearly, 350,000 Australians, including children and workers participated in the demonstrations as they have already been suffering from soaring temperatures, and warming seas.

Children and students in Ghana marched in the capital, raising their voices against coastal erosion, while natives of Thailand staged “die-ins”, demanding support from the government for their cause. As climate protests took place in 500 towns and cities across Germany, its coalition government announced a package of €54bn to cut down the greenhouse gases.

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Views by ads on music videos won’t be counted under YouTube’s new policy



YouTube Music

YouTube has announced to modify the algorithm of calculating the YouTube Music Charts and 24-hour viewership records. This change will mean that the video-streaming portal would not count paid advertising views in its tallies.

On its official blog, YouTube compared its user-influencing power to that of the old TRL. The blog read that motive behind the modification is to uphold the platform’s credibility, and to promote transparency across the global music industry.

An abstract from the post reads: “YouTube Music Charts have become an indispensable source for the industry and the most accurate place for measuring the popularity of music listening behavior happening on the world’s largest music platform.”

The post also mentioned that in order to render more transparency to the music industry and adapt to the policies of official charting companies, including Billboard and Nielsen, we have decided to stop counting paid advertising views on our portal in the YouTube Music Charts calculation.

It seems that YouTube’s latest move have come after Sony Music India asserted that artist Badshah’s single track “Paagal” had set a new 24-hour debut viewership record. Just a few days later, before any confirmation from YouTube, he confessed buying the views through ads on his video.

From now, artists will attain ranks on the YouTube Music Charts along with their 24-hour record debuts, which will completely depend on organic views, such as direct links to the video, search engine results, video embedded on third-party sites and YouTube features, including the homepage, watch next and Trending. Moreover, the new policy won’t affect YouTube’s current 24-hour record debut holders.

“Our goal is to ensure YouTube remains a place where all artists are accurately recognized and celebrated for achieving success and milestones.” Music has remained YouTube’s most lucrative category, with music and its related videos estimating 20% of total views on the portal.

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Google will pay almost €1bn to conclude French tax probe



Google will pay almost €1bn to conclude French tax probe

Google has agreed to pay over 1 billion euros ($1.10 billion) to the French authorities in order to conclude a fiscal fraud investigation that was launched four years ago.

French investigators are probing to find out whether Google’s European headquarters in Dublin, avoided paying its dues to the state by eluding to affirm a portion of its operations in the country.

According to Google, both the sides have reached to a settlement wherein a fine of 500 million euros will be paid by Google, along with additional taxes of 465 million euros.

Google gives out a small amount of tax in most European countries, reason being it documents majority of sales in Ireland. Such a framework exists due to a loophole in international tax law but it depends on Dublin staff who concludes all sales agreements.

During a hearing in the Paris court, Google’s lawyer Antonin Levy said, “(The agreement allows) to settle once for all these past disputes.”

The total amount of tax payment is not more than 1.6 billion euros sought by the finance ministry after Google’s offices in Paris were raided in 2016. Back then, the ministry strongly refused to come in terms with the company.

Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said the settlement with Google will put a legal precedent in place. Darmanin further added that discussions were already going on with a number of other companies, both big and small. However, he did not name any of those companies.

So far, the European countries have found it difficult to tax the profits of global tech companies derived in their judiciary.

France has always laid emphasis on a digital tax to entail European Union member states, but has faced opposition from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

“We remain convinced that a coordinated reform of the international tax system is the best way to provide a clear framework for companies operating worldwide,” Google said.

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Freight accident in Congo kills at least 50 stowaways



Freight accident in Congo kills at least 50

Over 50 people lost their lives after a cargo train derailed in southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on September 12.

The train got off the track at 3am in Tanganyika (province) near Mayibaridi. The authorities confirmed a provisional toll of 50 dead and several others wounded,” minister for humanitarian action, Steve Mbikayi, said in a tweet.

However, according to the scene witnesses and local media, more than a hundred people are feared killed in the Congo train accident.

Victor Umba, the union head of the national rail company SNCC, said the cargo train was slated to cover its route from the town of Nyunzu to the town of Niemba when two coaches fell off the tracks.

“Those who died in this derailment were stowaways. It is impossible for the SNCC to provide any kind of toll,” Umba said.

He further added that the SNCC’s chief had reached the provincial capital of Kalemie for figuring out a way to lift the coaches. “It seems that many stowaways are trapped under the derailed carriages”.

DRC railways has been struggling through a bad record for safety, accidents often due to derelict tracks and decrepit locomotives, which are majorly outdated and operating since 1960s.

In March, over 24 people were killed and 31 were wounded after a cargo train loaded with illegal passengers met an accident in the central province of Kasai.

In November 2018, at least 10 stowaways were killed along with 24 wounded close to the eastern town of Samba. The accident was a result of failed brakes.

In November 2017, over 35 people lost their lives when a cargo train with 13 oil tankers dropped into a valley in southern Lualaba region.

Similar to several state companies in DR Congo, the SNCC is falling into bankruptcy and its erstwhile chief Sylvestre Ilunga is the country’s current prime minister.

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Ashura panic-rush kills 31 in Iraq, death toll expected to rise




At least 31 people were killed during Ashura in a tragic stampede in Iraq’s holy city of Karbala after a footbridge suddenly plummeted. Over 100 people were wounded, and according to the Iraqi Health Ministry, the death toll was expected to increase as a couple of wounded were in critical condition.

The incident took place while the Ashura festival procession was nearing end, as the pilgrims marked Shi’ite Muslim holy rituals at the shrine of Imam Hussein. Shrine officials said the Iraq stampede started at the main entry of the ornate building.

The annual pilgrimage marking the death of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson in battle in 680 draws hundreds of thousands of Shi’ite Muslims to Karbala from around the world.

On this day Shi’ite Muslims commemorate the killing of Hussein in A.D. 680. He was a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, and was killed by a rival Muslim faction, which is believed to cause rift between Shiite and Sunni Islam. For Shiites, Hussein and his line of descent are the heirs of the prophet by right.

The Shiites pilgrims observe the day with mourning and hitting themselves and some wounding their heads with sharp blades.

In the past, radical Sunni militants have targeted Ashura processions, however, this year was quite peaceful up to the breaking of the walkway. The officials told that the bridge collapsed in the mid of the so-called Tweireej run, when thousands of pilgrims were running toward the Imam Hussein shrine.

That run signifies the time when maternal cousins of Hussein’s half brother came running across a mile fromTweireej village to save him, but found that he was killed.

As the people saw other pilgrims rushing in panic, stampede got instigated near the gold-domed Imam Hussein shrine, which crushed many people to death.

According to the Associated Press, yesterday’s stampede was the most hazardous in a long time during Ashura commemorations in Karbala, which is located over 50 miles south of Baghdad.

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