The death toll of a passenger plane crash in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi has soared to 80, while seven others including the people aboard and those on the ground were injured, police said.
Rescue teams have shifted 48 bodies to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, and 32 others to the Civil Hospital Karachi, police sources in Karachi told Xinhua on condition of anonymity, adding that most of the bodies have been burnt beyond recognition and will be identified by DNA testing.
The health department of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the provincial capital, said in a statement that five bodies of the ill-fated plane victims have already been identified.
Meeran Yousuf, media representative to the health minister of Sindh, retracted an earlier statement made by the health minister of three survivors in the plane crash, by saying that only two people survived the crash. The third one was an injured person on the ground who was misunderstood as a crash survivor.
There is no official word on the exact cause of the crash yet, and the country’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan formed a committee to probe into the incident and identify the elements behind the crash.
The crashed plane belonged to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and according to Director Management of Operations PIA Jawad Haider, the plane was not fully loaded due to COVID-19 safety measures.
The PIA flight PK-8303 took off from the Allama Iqbal International Airport in the eastern city of Lahore at 1:08 p.m. local time on Friday and crashed at 2:45 p.m. local time, PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez said.
Briefing Xinhua about the cause of the crash, Ismail Khoso, spokesman of the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the plane, Airbus A320, with some 100 people on board, crashed shortly before landing at the Karachi airport on Friday afternoon.
He also confirmed that the pilot contacted the control tower, intimating that the plane was meeting some technical fault, and he was told that two runways were vacant for landing and he may use any as per convenience.
“Instead of landing, the pilot preferred to take another round in the air, and shortly after, he lost contact with the control, and the plane was later found crashed in a residential area,” said the spokesman.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the PIA, Arshad Malik, told a media briefing on Friday night that the plane was fully operational and did not have any technical fault when it took off from Lahore airport, adding the problem only erupted in the plane when it was about to land at the airport during its first round.
He also said the pilots were also qualified and had a good flight experience, and a further investigation would determine the cause of the crash.
The airline’s chief said no loss of life was reported at the ground as the plane landed mainly at a street, and no major damage was done to the houses, contradicting the statements by eyewitness and CAA officials that several houses were damaged in the crash.
Rescue teams from non-government organizations, military and government took part in the operation to shift the bodies and injured people to the hospitals, police sources said, adding that the rescue operation still continued in the area to recover the remaining bodies or possible survivors.
People take part in protest over death of George Floyd in Auckland, New Zealand
Protests over George Floyd’s death continue in cities across United States
Basketball legend Jordan “pained and plain angry” over George Floyd’s death
Charlotte Hornets owner and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan expressed his grief and outrage over the death of George Floyd on Sunday.
African American Floyd died early this week in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd’s death has sparked protests in many cities across the United States.
“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry. I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough,” Jordan said in a statement.
“I don’t have the answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others. We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality. We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability. Every one of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.
“My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and to the countless others whose lives have been brutally and senselessly taken through acts of racism and injustice,” he added.
Ikpeazu, Abia Exco, others to self-isolate after commissioner’s death
The directive is contained in a statement signed by Chief Okeiyi Kalu, Abia State Commissioner for Information and made available to newsmen on Monday in Umuahia.
Ogunji was the commissioner for environment before his death on May 24.
Kalu said the family of the late former commissioner, suspected to have died of hypertension on May 24, was tested for COVID-19 and the result came back positive.
He said the governor had advised Abia Exco members who had contact with Ogunji, before his death, to also observe self-isolation until they had been tested for the virus.
“Gov. Ikpeazu, who is still in mourning will also subject himself to all other necessary protocols as he has directed his cabinet members, including the Deputy Governor, to do.
“We wish to call on all Abians to continue to observe relevant regulations issued by the government and health authorities to stem the spread of the disease,’’ the statement read in part.
United States states clamp down on protests demanding end to police violence over George Floyd’s death
Some 5,000 United States National Guard troops were deployed to patrol a dozen major U.S. states on Sunday amid ongoing George Floyd protests against racism and police violence, which have sent shock waves through the country.
The national guard soldiers would assist law enforcement officers in the states who are in charge of security in the face of riots, and “thousands more stand ready if needed,” Chief of the National Guard Bureau Gen. Joseph Lengyel tweeted.
Demonstrators in at least 30 cities across 16 states in the United States have been protesting against police violence and racism since May 25, when George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old African American male, died at the hands of a white police officer in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On Saturday evening, United States Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy directed the activation of Washington D.C. National Guard in response to the United States Park Police asking for assistance with the protests, Commanding General William Walker said in a statement.
“Crossing State lines to incite violence is a FEDERAL CRIME!” United States President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “Liberal Governors and Mayors must get MUCH tougher or the Federal Government will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests.”
“There’s been an uptick in tension and hatred and division since (Trump) came along,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news conference on Saturday. “It‘s just a fact.”
Some political pundits said they believe that the widespread protests had more to do with Americans’ frustration over the Trump administration’s politically divisive tactics than the actual murder of Floyd by a white police officer.
Many said the Trump administration’s policies to divide the United States were on display throughout the country this weekend.
They accused Trump of repeatedly and openly condoning or supporting hate groups during his presidency, which was unprecedented for a U.S. president. For example, in 2017, Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides” of clashes at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Trump, who has often urged police to use tough tactics, was not helping matters.
“We are beyond a tipping point in this country, and his rhetoric only enflames that,” she said on CBS.
As many as 25 cities have imposed curfews while at least eight states and Washington D.C. have called on the National Guard to help respond to protests as of Saturday, said a CNN report.
Nearly 1,400 people have been arrested during the protests in 17 cities since Thursday, according to an AP tally, adding that the actual number is likely higher as protests continued over the weekend.
A number of popular landmarks of the U.S. capital around the National Mall in central Washington D.C. were defaced with graffiti on Sunday.
In Washington D.C. on Saturday, protesters gathered outside the White House for the second straight day, chanting “hands up, don’t shoot” and “I can’t breathe.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Saturday extended a curfew, which was initially applied only to downtown, to the whole city, requiring everyone within the City of Los Angeles to stay indoors from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Sunday.
“The vast majority of people taking to the streets are doing it peacefully, powerfully, and with reverence for the sacred cause they’re fighting for. This curfew is in place to protect their safety — and the safety of all who live and work in our city,” Garcetti said in a statement.
Brazil’s COVID-19 cases top 500,000, death toll nears 30,000
Brazil on Sunday said its nationwide tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 514,84 after 16,409 people tested positive in the past 24 hours, while the death toll neared 30,000.
The death toll rose to 29,314 after 480 deaths had been reported since Saturday, while another 4,208 deaths are still being investigated for any linkage with COVID-19, the Ministry of Health said.
The number of recoveries from COVID-19 totalled 206,555, the ministry added.
Southeast Sao Paulo state continues to be the epicenter of the national outbreak, with 7,615 deaths and 109,698 infections, followed by Rio de Janeiro with 5,344 deaths and 53,388 infections.
Landmarks in United States capital defaced amid unrest over Floyd’s death
A number of popular landmarks of the U.S. capital around the National Mall in central Washington D.C. were defaced with graffiti amid nationwide protests and unrest over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis police custody, the authorities said Sunday.
“In the wake of last night’s demonstrations, there are numerous instances of vandalism to sites around the National Mall,” the National Park Service for the National Mall said in a tweet with photos of defaced monuments on Sunday.
The sentence “Do black Vets count?” appeared to be spray-painted across part of the National Mall World War II Memorial and the words “Yall not tired yet?” were spray-painted at the Lincoln Memorial.
“For generations the Mall has been our nation’s premier civic gathering space for non-violent demonstrations, and we ask individuals to carry on that tradition,” the service said on Twitter.
DC Chief of Police Peter Newsham said on Sunday that the Metropolitan Police Department had arrested 17 people Saturday night and that 11 police officers were injured during the protests.
None of the officers sustained life-threatening injuries, though one officer is undergoing surgery for multiple compound fractures to his leg after a protester threw a rock at him, according to a CNN report.
Floyd, aged 46, died on May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, held him down with a knee on his neck though he repeatedly pleaded, “I can’t breathe,” and “please, I can’t breathe.” Chauvin was arrested and charged with three-degree murder and manslaughter earlier on Friday.
Floyd’s plea before his death evoked African Americans‘ painful memories. In 2014, a cellphone recorded an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” when a New York officer held him in a chokehold before his death in police custody. Since then, the plea has become a rallying cry at demonstrations against police misconduct across the country.
Chile’s COVID-19 cases rise to 99,688, with 1,054 deaths
Chile on Sunday reported 99,688 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,054 deaths from the disease.
In the past 24 hours ending 9 p.m. Saturday, 4,830 new cases were detected and 57 more patients died, the highest number of fatalities in a single day so far.
Of the new cases of infection, 4,437 presented symptoms and 393 were asymptomatic.
Since the beginning of the outbreak here, 42,727 people have recovered from the virus and 582,440 tests have been applied.
A lockdown is in effect in the capital Santiago and the metropolitan area through June 5, as the region is the epicenter of the country’s outbreak, with 80 percent of all infections and 775 deaths.
The lockdown, which was extended from its original deadline in May, has generated some unrest among the region’s 7 million inhabitants, with protests breaking out especially in poorer districts over a “lack” of government aid to offset the economic hardships.
In recent weeks, Chile has seen an exponential rise in the number of cases and deaths, leading the government to set up field hospitals to deal with the growing number of patients. ■
Indonesia reports 700 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, 40 new deaths
The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 700 within one day to 26,473, with the death toll adding by 40 to 1,613, Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official, said at a press conference on Sunday.
According to him, 293 more people had been discharged from hospitals, making the total number of recovered patients stand at 7,308.
The pandemic has spread to all 34 provinces in the archipelagic country.
Authorities have been conducting coronavirus tests in the affected areas and ordered the public to always wear masks to curb the spread.
The government is preparing for the so-called “new normal”, under which the public would be allowed to resume their routines.
More than 300,000 military and police personnel have been posted in nearly 2,000 places, including shopping malls, traditional markets and tourism spots in four provinces and 25 regencies or cities.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
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