The United States, the United Kingdom, and Bangladesh were the top three source nations for foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India in 2022, according to official data. The Indian Ministry of Tourism released the information in a statement on World Tourism Day, according to PTI. Also read: How to get an Indian Tourist Visa from Bangladesh India recorded 6.19 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2022, up from 1.52 million in 2021, it said. During the pre-pandemic year 2019, India had 10.93 million FTAs. The tourism industry has shown promising indications of recovery following the pandemic, according to Union Minister of Tourism G Kishan Reddy, who stated this in a written response to a question in Rajya Sabha in April. Also read: Mumbai Travel Guide: Must-visit Places and Fun Activities The Ministry of Tourism further stated that India got Rs 1,34,543 crore (USD 16.93 billion) in foreign exchange revenues, a "remarkable increase" from Rs 65,070 crore in 2021. In addition, India's share of foreign tourist receipts in US dollars is 2.08 percent. According to the report, India ranks 14th in the world in terms of tourist receipts. Also read: With G20 event, India seeks to project normalcy in disputed Kashmir The Delhi airport formed 31.21 percent of the top eight ports for FTAs in India in 2022, the report also said.
Maldivians vote in a runoff presidential election that will decide whether India or China holds sway
Maldivians were voting Saturday in the runoff presidential election which has turned into a virtual referendum on which regional power — India or China — will have the biggest influence in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation. Neither main opposition candidate Mohamed Muiz nor incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih got more than 50% in the first round of voting earlier in September, triggering a runoff election. Solih, who was first elected president in 2018, is battling allegations by Muiz that he had allowed India an unchecked presence in the country. Muiz's party, the People’s National Congress, is viewed as heavily pro-China. Read: Sri Lankan leader leaves Maldives, protesters leave offices Muiz secured a surprise lead with more than 46% of votes in the first round, while Solih secured 39% votes. Abdullah Yameen, leader of the People’s National Congress, made the Maldives a part of China’s Belt and Road initiative during his presidency 2013 to 2018. The initiative is meant to build railroads, ports and highways to expand trade — and China’s influence — across Asia, Africa and Europe. The Maldives is made up of 1,200 coral islands in the Indian Ocean located by the main shipping route between the East and the West. Read: Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Maldives 'must collect visas' Muiz promised that if he won the presidency, he would remove Indian troops stationed in the Maldives and balance the country’s trade relations, which he said were heavily in India’s favor. There are more than 282,000 eligible voters and the runoff result is expected Sunday. Read more: Indian Foreign Minister to leave for Maldives & Sri Lanka today
An arrest has been made in Tupac Shakur's killing. Here's what we know about the case and the rapper
An arrest has been made in Tupac Shakur's killing, the latest twist in one of the biggest unsolved cases in hip-hop history. Duane “Keffe D” Davis was arrested on suspicion of murder early Friday morning and has been indicted on a murder charge in Las Vegas. The case returned to the spotlight in July when Nevada authorities served a search warrant in connection with the rap star’s shooting death. Here’s what to know about one of the most infamous fatal shootings in hip-hop history: WHAT’S NEW IN THE INVESTIGATION? Authorities on Friday arrested Davis, who's name has long been linked with Shakur's death. He is the relative of a man who emerged as a suspect shortly after the rapper’s killing. Shakur was gunned down while riding in a car on the Las Vegas strip on Sept. 7, 1996. In July, authorities executed a warrant in the nearby city of Henderson at Davis' house. He's the uncle of Orlando Anderson, one of Shakur’s known rivals who authorities long suspected shot the rapper. Anderson denied involvement in Shakur’s killing at the time, and died two years later in an unrelated gang shooting in Compton, California. Details from the warrant obtained by The Associated Press shows detectives collected multiple computers, a cellular telephone, “documentary documents,” a Vibe magazine that featured Shakur, several .40-caliber bullets, two “tubs containing photographs” and a copy of Davis’ 2019 memoir, ”Compton Street Legend.” WHAT HAPPENED THE NIGHT SHAKUR WAS SHOT? The 25-year-old rapper was traveling in a black BMW driven by Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight in a convoy of about 10 cars, apparently headed to a nightclub, after watching Mike Tyson knock out Bruce Seldon in a championship fight at the MGM Grand. After the bout, Shakur, Knight and associates were involved in a fight at the hotel. Read: Jacksonville killings: What we know about the hate crime While driving down the Las Vegas Strip, a white Cadillac with four men inside pulled alongside the BMW while it was stopped at a red light. One person opened fire, riddling the passenger side of Knight’s car with bullets, police said. Sitting in the passenger seat, Shakur was shot four times, at least twice in the chest. Knight was grazed by a bullet fragment or shrapnel from the car. Shakur was rushed to a hospital, where he died six days later. WHAT IS THE RAPPER’S LEGACY? Shakur is one of the most prolific figures in hip-hop, also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli. His professional music career only lasted five years, but he sold more than 75 million records worldwide, including the diamond-certified album “All Eyez on Me,” which was packed with hits including “California Love (Remix),” “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” and “How Do U Want It.” Shakur had five No. 1 albums including “Me Against the World” in 1995 and “All Eyez on Me” in 1996, along with three posthumous releases: 1996’s “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory,” 2001’s “Until the End of Time” and 2004’s “Loyal to the Game.” The six-time Grammy-nominated artist was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Snoop Dogg in 2017. As a rising actor, Shakur starred in several popular films such as John Singleton's “Poetic Justice" with Janet Jackson and Ernest Dickerson's “Juice.” He also played major roles in “Gang Related” and “Above the Rim.” In April, a five-part FX docuseries called “ Dear Mama: The Saga of Afeni and Tupac Shakur” delved into the past of the rapper’s mother, Afeni Shakur, as a female leader in the Black Panther Party, while exploring Tupac’s journey as a political visionary and becoming one of the greatest rap artists of all time. Earlier this year, Shakur received a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “He defied the distinction between art and activism,” said radio personality Big Boy, who emceed the ceremony. Shakur has been remembered with museum exhibits, including “Tupac Shakur. Wake Me When I’m Free” in 2021 and “All Eyez on Me” at the Grammy Museum in 2015. Oakland officials have said a stretch of an Oakland street will be renamed after him. Read: What we know about the Titanic-bound submersible that's missing with 5 people onboard WHAT ABOUT HIS BIGGEST RIVALRY? Shakur’s death came amid his feud with rap rival the Notorious B.I.G., who was fatally shot six months later. At the time, both rappers were in the middle of the infamous East Coast-West Coast rivalry, which primarily defined the hip-hop scene during the mid-1990s. The feud was ignited after Shakur was seriously wounded in another shooting during a robbery in the lobby of a midtown Manhattan hotel in 1994. He was shot several times and lost $40,000. Shakur openly accused B.I.G. and Sean “Diddy” Combs of having prior knowledge of the shooting, which both vehemently denied. The shooting sparked enough of a feud that created a serious divide within the hip-hop community and fans. The New York-born Shakur represented the West Coast after he signed with the Los Angeles-based Death Row Records. He often traded verbal jabs with New York-natives B.I.G. and Combs, who hailed from the East Coast while representing New York City-based Bad Boy Records. Diss tracks were delivered to drive home their ferocious points across. Shakur released the aggressive single “Hit ’Em Up,” which took aim at B.I.G., who on the other hand returned with “Who Shot Ya?,” a record that was received as a taunt. However, B.I.G. claimed the song was not directed toward Shakur. MORE ON SHAKUR'S LIFE AND CAREER Shakur was born June 16, 1971, in New York City. He later moved to Baltimore and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he began writing raps. He eventually made his way to Marin City, California, near San Francisco, and continued to write and record. Read more: What we know so far on the leaked Pentagon documents As a member of the Grammy-nominated group Digital Underground, Shakur appeared on the 1991 track “Same Song″ from ”This Is an EP Release″ and on the album "Sons of the P.″ That same year, Shakur achieved individual recognition with the album "2Pacalypse Now,″ which spawned the successful singles "Trapped" and "Brenda’s Got a Baby." The album, with references to police officers being killed, drew notoriety when a lawyer claimed a man accused of killing a Texas trooper had been riled up by the record. Then-Vice President Dan Quayle targeted "2Pacalypse Now″ in his 1992 battle with Hollywood over traditional values. In 1993, Shakur followed up with the sophomore album, which produced songs ”I Get Around," "Keep Ya Head Up″ and "Papa’z Song,″ and he was nominated for an American Music Award as best new rap hip-hop artist. The following year he appeared with hip-hop group Thug Life on the "Above The Rim″ soundtrack and on the group’s album "Volume 1.″ In a photo on the album liner, he framed his face between his two extended middle fingers. He was convicted of sexually abusing a fan in 1994 and served several months in a New York prison . While incarcerated, Shakur indicated he was rethinking his lifestyle. He had support from Black leaders including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who counseled him while he was locked up. “Thug Life to me is dead. If it’s real, let somebody else represent it, because I’m tired of it,″ Shakur told Vibe magazine. ”I represented it too much. I was Thug Life.″ Shakur was up-front about his troubled life in the 1995 release “Me Against The World,″ a multimillion-selling album that contained the ominously titled tracks ”If I Die 2Nite″ and “Death Around The Corner.″ “It ain’t easy being me. ... Will I see the penitentiary, or will I stay free?″ Shakur rapped on the album, which produced the Grammy-nominated "Dear Mama″ and standout singles "So Many Tears″ and ”Temptations.″ The Las Vegas shooting occurred as Shakur’s fourth solo album, "All Eyez on Me,″ remained on the charts, with some 5 million copies sold.
Fall has arrived in Scandinavia, which means Nobel Prize season is here. The start of October is when the Nobel committees get together in Stockholm and Oslo to announce the winners of the yearly awards. First up, as usual, is the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology, which will be announced Monday by a panel of judges at the Karolinska Institute in the Swedish capital. The prizes in physics, chemistry, literature, peace and economics will follow, with one announcement every weekday until Oct. 9. Philippines Nobel laureate Maria Ressa acquitted of tax evasion though she faces 2 more legal cases Here are some things to know about the Nobel Prizes: AN IDEA MORE POWERFUL THAN DYNAMITE The Nobel Prizes were created by Alfred Nobel, a 19th-century businessman and chemist from Sweden. He held more than 300 patents but his claim to fame before the Nobel Prizes was having invented dynamite by mixing nitroglycerine with a compound that made the explosive more stable. Dynamite soon became popular in construction and mining as well as in the weapons industry. It made Nobel a very rich man. Perhaps it also made him think about his legacy, because toward the end of his life he decided to use his vast fortune to fund annual prizes “to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.” The first Nobel Prizes were presented in 1901, five years after his death. In 1968, a sixth prize was created, for economics, by Sweden’s central bank. Though Nobel purists stress that the economics prize is technically not a Nobel Prize, it’s always presented together with the others. PEACE IN NORWAY For reasons that are not entirely clear, Nobel decided that the peace prize should be awarded in Norway and the other prizes in Sweden. Nobel historians suspect Sweden’s history of militarism may have been a factor. During Nobel’s lifetime, Sweden and Norway were in a union, which the Norwegians reluctantly joined after the Swedes invaded their country in 1814. It’s possible that Nobel thought Norway would be a more suitable location for a prize meant to encourage “fellowship among nations.” To this day, the Nobel Peace Prize is a completely Norwegian affair, with the winners selected and announced by a Norwegian committee. The peace prize even has its own ceremony in the Norwegian capital of Oslo on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of Nobel’s death — while the other prizes are presented in Stockholm. 'PM Hasina should get Nobel prize for hosting Rohingyas' WHAT’S POLITICS GOT TO DO WITH IT? The Nobel Prizes project an aura of being above the political fray, focused solely on the benefit of humanity. But the peace and literature awards, in particular, are sometimes accused of being politicized. Critics question whether winners are selected because their work is truly outstanding or because it aligns with the political preferences of the judges. The scrutiny can get intense for high-profile awards, such as in 2009, when President Barack Obama won the peace prize less than a year after taking office. The Norwegian Nobel Committee is an independent body that insists its only mission is to carry out the will of Alfred Nobel. However, it does have links to Norway's political system. The five members are appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, so the panel's composition reflects the power balance in the legislature. To avoid the perception that the prizes are influenced by Norway’s political leaders, sitting members of the Norwegian government or Parliament are barred from serving on the committee. Even so, the panel isn't always viewed as independent by foreign countries. When imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the peace prize in 2010, Beijing responded by freezing trade talks with Norway. It took years for Norway-China relations to be restored. GOLD AND GLORY One reason the prizes are so famous is they come with a generous amount of cash. The Nobel Foundation, which administers the awards, raised the prize money by 10% this year to 11 million kronor (about $1 million). In addition to the money, the winners receive an 18-carat gold medal and diploma when they collect their Nobel Prizes at the award ceremonies in December. Most winners are proud and humbled by joining the pantheon of Nobel laureates, from Albert Einstein to Mother Teresa. But two winners refused their Nobel Prizes: French writer Jean-Paul Sartre, who turned down the literature prize in 1964, and Vietnamese politician Le Duc Tho, who declined the peace prize that he was meant to share with U.S. diplomat Henry Kissinger in 1973. French writer Annie Ernaux wins Nobel Literature Prize 2022 Several others were not able to receive their awards because they were imprisoned, such as Belarusian pro-democracy activist Ales Bialiatski, who shared last year’s peace prize with human rights groups in Ukraine and Russia. LACK OF DIVERSITY Historically, the vast majority of Nobel Prize winners have been white men. Though that’s started to change, there is still little diversity among Nobel winners, particularly in the science categories. To date, 60 women have won Nobel Prizes, including 25 in the scientific categories. Only four women have won the Nobel Prize in physics and just two have won the economics prize. In the early days of the Nobel Prizes, the lack of diversity among winners could be explained by the lack of diversity among scientists in general. But today critics say the judges need to do a better job at highlighting discoveries made by women and scientists outside Europe and North America. The prize committees say their decisions are based on scientific merit, not gender, nationality or race. However, they are not deaf to the criticism. Five years ago, the head of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said it had started to ask nominating bodies to make sure they don’t overlook “women or people of other ethnicities or nationalities in their nominations.”
The government is headed towards a shutdown this weekend that could disrupt many government services, squeeze federal employees and roil politics as Republicans in the House, fueled by hard-right demands to slash budgets, force a confrontation over federal spending. While some government entities will be exempt — Social Security checks, for example, will still go out — other functions will be severely curtailed. Federal agencies will stop all actions deemed non-essential, and many of the federal government’s roughly 2 million employees, as well as 2 million active-duty military troops and reservists, won’t receive paychecks. A look at what’s ahead if the government shuts down on Sunday. WHAT IS A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN? A shutdown happens when Congress fails to pass some type of funding legislation that is signed into law by the president. Lawmakers are supposed to pass 12 different spending bills to fund agencies across the government, but the process is time-consuming. They often resort to passing a temporary extension, called a continuing resolution or CR, to allow the government to keep operating. When no funding legislation is enacted, federal agencies must stop all nonessential work and will not send paychecks as long as the shutdown lasts. Mexico's president slams US aid for Ukraine and sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba Although employees deemed essential to public safety such as air traffic controllers and law enforcement officers still have to report to work, other federal employees are furloughed. Under a 2019 law, those workers are slated to receive backpay once the funding impasse is resolved. WHEN WOULD A SHUTDOWN BEGIN AND HOW LONG WILL IT LAST? Government funding expires Oct. 1, the start of the federal budget year. A shutdown will effectively begin at 12:01 a.m. Sunday if Congress is unable to pass a funding plan that the president signs into law. It is impossible to predict how long a shutdown would last. The Democratic-held Senate and Republican-controlled House are working on vastly different plans to avert a shutdown, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is struggling to win any support from hard-right conservatives to keep the government open. Many are bracing for a stoppage that could last weeks. WHO DOES A SHUTDOWN AFFECT? Millions of federal workers face delayed paychecks when the government shuts down, including many of the roughly 2 million military personnel and more than 2 million civilian workers across the nation. For many workers, the first payday they would miss is Oct. 13. Nearly 60% of federal workers are stationed in the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security. While the military’s active-duty troops and reservists would continue to work, more than half of the Department of Defense’s civilian workforce — roughly 440,000 people — would be furloughed. Across federal agencies, workers are stationed in all 50 states and have direct interaction with taxpayers — from Transportation Security Administration agents who operate security at airports to Postal Service workers who deliver mail. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has said new training for air traffic controllers will be halted and another 1,000 controllers in the midst of training will be furloughed. Even a shutdown that lasts a few days will mean the department won’t hit its hiring and staffing targets for next year, he said. “Imagine the pressure that a controller is already under every time they take their position at work, and then imagine the added stress of coming to that job from a household with a family that can no longer count on that paycheck,” Buttigieg said. Beyond federal workers, a shutdown could have far-reaching effects on government services. People applying for government services like clinical medical trials, firearm permits and passports could see delays. Head Start programs serving more than 10,000 disadvantaged children would immediately lose federal funding. Biden warns US democracy in peril from 'extremist' Trump National parks will close on Monday, Oct. 2, if the government enters a shutdown, and the National Park Service said its services won’t be available. Some federal offices will also have to close or face shortened hours during a shutdown. Businesses closely connected to the federal government, such as federal contractors or tourist services around national parks, could see disruptions and downturns. The travel sector could lose $140 million daily in a shutdown, according to the U.S. Travel Industry Association. Lawmakers also warn that a shutdown could rattle financial markets. Goldman Sachs has estimated that a shutdown would reduce economic growth by 0.2% every week it lasted, but growth would then bounce back after the government reopens. Others say the disruption in government services has far-reaching impacts because it shakes confidence in the government to fulfill its basic duties. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned, “A well-functioning economy requires a functioning government.” WHAT ABOUT COURT CASES, THE WORK OF CONGRESS AND PRESIDENTIAL PAY? The president and members of Congress will continue to work and get paid. However, any members of their staff who are not deemed essential will be furloughed. The Supreme Court, which begins its new term Monday, would be unaffected by a short shutdown because it can draw on a pot of money provided by court fees, including charges for filing lawsuits and other documents, court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe said. The rest of the federal judiciary also would operate normally for at least the first two weeks of October, said Peter Kaplan, a spokesman for the judiciary. Even in a longer shutdown, the entire judiciary would not shut down, and decisions about what activities would continue would be made by each court around the country. The justices and all federal judges would continue to be paid because of the constitutional prohibition on reducing judges’ pay during their tenure, according to the Congressional Research Service. Notably, funding for the three special counsels appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland would not be affected by a government shutdown because they are paid for through a permanent, indefinite appropriation, an area that’s been exempted from shutdowns in the past. That means the two federal cases against Donald Trump, the former president, as well as the case against Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, would not be interrupted. Trump has demanded that Republicans defund the prosecutions against him as a condition of funding the government, declaring it their “last chance” to act. HAS THIS HAPPENED BEFORE? Prior to the 1980s, lapses in government funding did not result in government operations significantly shuttering. But then-U.S. Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti, in a series of legal opinions in 1980 and 1981, argued that government agencies cannot legally operate during a funding gap. Federal officials have since operated under an understanding they can make exemptions for functions that are “essential” for public safety and constitutional duties. Since 1976, there have been 22 funding gaps, with 10 of them leading to workers being furloughed. But most of the significant shutdowns have taken place since Bill Clinton’s presidency, when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich and his conservative House majority demanded budget cuts. The longest government shutdown happened between 2018 and 2019 when then-President Trump and congressional Democrats entered a standoff over his demand for funding for a border wall. The disruption lasted 35 days, through the holiday season, but was also only a partial government shutdown because Congress had passed some appropriations bills to fund parts of the government. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO END A SHUTDOWN? It’s the responsibility of Congress to fund the government. The House and Senate have to agree to fund the government in some way, and the president has to sign the legislation into law. The two sides are deeply entrenched and nowhere near a deal to avert a shutdown. But if the shutdown lasts for weeks, pressure will build to end the impasse, particularly if active-duty military members miss pay dates on Oct. 13 or Nov. 1. If the wider public starts seeing disruptions in air travel or border security as workers go unpaid, it will further goad Congress to act. Bangladesh-US ties 'outstandingly cordial' but some trying to inject bitterness: Momen Congress often relies on a so-called continuing resolution, or CR, to provide stopgap money to open government offices at current levels as budget talks are underway. Money for pressing national priorities, such as emergency assistance for victims of natural disasters, is often attached to a short-term bill. But hardline Republicans say any temporary bill is a non-starter for them. They are pushing to keep the government shut down until Congress negotiates all 12 bills that fund the government, which is historically a laborious undertaking that isn’t resolved until December, at the earliest. Trump, who is Biden’s top rival heading into the 2024 election, is urging on the Republican hardliners. If they are successful, the shutdown could last weeks, perhaps even longer.
Mexico’s president on Friday slammed U.S. aid for Ukraine and economic sanctions on Venezuela, Cuba and other nations as the first of two high-level U.S.-Mexico meetings got underway in Washington. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador issued a broad criticism of U.S. foreign policy, saying U.S. economic sanctions were forcing people to emigrate from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The harsh comments came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Trade Representative Katherine Tai met their Mexican counterparts at the State Department. None of the officials, including Mexican Foreign Secretary Alicia Bárcena and Secretary of Economy Raquel Buenrostro, addressed or were asked about López Obrador's comments. Instead they concentrated on expanded trade and economic ties, hailing new cooperation on those fronts, and stressed their commitment to fight the surge of synthetic opioids like fentanyl into the U.S. from Mexico. “By creating the right incentives and business environments and harnessing our two nations’ respective strengths, we have a tremendous opportunity to make North America the most competitive, the most productive, the most dynamic region in the world,” Blinken said. “We’re continuing to strengthen, to expand, and diversify supply chains in emerging industries like electric vehicles and semiconductors,” he said, noting that the U.S. and Mexico are launching a new initiative to produce semiconductors. Read: US issues more sanctions over Iran drone program after nation’s president denies supplying Russia Although Friday's talks focused on commerce issues, Blinken will lead a U.S. delegation to Mexico next week with Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that will focus on border security and migration. The State Department said in a statement that Blinken would be meeting López Obrador during the Oct. 4-5 trip. Experts say economic mismanagement and political repression are largely to blame for the tide of migrants leaving Venezuela and Cuba. López Obrador said the United States should spend some of the money sent to Ukraine on economic development in Latin America. “They (the U.S.) don't do anything,” he said. “It's more, a lot more, what they authorize for the war in Ukraine than what they give to help with poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean.” He called for a U.S. program “to remove blockades and stop harassing independent and free countries, an integrated plan for cooperation so the Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Ecuadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans wouldn't be forced to emigrate.” Read: Britain, France and Germany say they will keep their nuclear and missiles sanctions on Iran There has been a surge in Venezuelan migrants moving through Mexico in recent weeks in a bid to reach the U.S. border. Many of the migrants say deteriorating economic and political conditions in their home country led them to make the journey. Mexico has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine but has adopted a policy of neutrality and has refused to participate in sanctions. Mexico also continues to buy 2020-vintage COVID-19 vaccines from Russia and Cuba. The Mexican president laughed off an effort by U.S. Republican lawmakers to cut the tiny amount of foreign aid the U.S. gives to Mexico. López Obrador estimated it involved $40 or $50 million, calling it “ridiculous.” Read more: US sanctions Myanmar’s defense ministry, 2 regime-controlled banks
Instability driven by climate change could threaten democracies in the future, even though representative governments are best equipped to provide solutions, experts gathered at an annual conference have argued. The Athens Democracy Forum, an event backed by the United Nations, wrapped up in the Greek capital Friday with attention focused on the impact that rising temperatures and extreme weather could have on democratic stability. Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer warned that authorities globally are responding too slowly to damage caused by weather disasters despite a rise in their frequency. “As time goes on and on, the interval for recovery is shrinking,” said Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs and director at the Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment at Princeton. “We’re in a situation where the services that governments provide – and one of the key services is protection of life and limb – are not happening the way they should. And to my mind, this is just another pressure that’s going to happen on democracy,” he said. Read: Climate change and the shift to cleaner energy push Southeast Asia to finally start sharing power The three-day Athens event gathered leading academics as well as politicians and community project managers and took place as national authorities have struggled to cope with widespread flooding in central Greece, weeks after the country suffered its worst wildfire on record. Rising global temperatures and an acceleration of migration in parts of the world have sustained concerns that governments in the upcoming decades could turn more autocratic to retain control of increasingly scarce resources and deal with civil unrest. In the long term, that would be a bad idea, argued Ann Florini, a fellow at the New America Political Reform Program, part of a U.S.-based think tank. “Autocracy is the worst possible response to the climate emergency, because what you need is a lot of local empowerment,” Florini said. “They may be very good at building a big solar power industry … but the idea that an autocracy is going to have the information systems and the flexibility and the resilience to deal with the climate emergency for the next several generations to me is self-evidently ludicrous.” Read: Biden tells Pacific islands leaders that he hears their warnings about climate change and will act Only open societies, she insisted, could foster the systemic transformations in energy, agriculture, and water systems required due to their far-reaching ecological impact. Daniel Lindvall, a senior researcher with the Department of Earth Sciences at Sweden’s Uppsala University, said democratic governments needed to share the benefits of renewable energy with people at a local level. “If you build a wind farm and part of the benefits and profits are going back to the local communities, then you will have people supporting it instead of protesting against" it, he said. “All the benefits of energy independence would then sap the power from autocratic regimes like Putin’s (Russia) and Saudi Arabia.” Read more: Build resilience against adverse impact of climate change: World leaders tell UN meet
A potent rush-hour rainstorm swamped the New York metropolitan area on Friday, shutting down parts of the city's subway system, flooding streets and highways, and delaying flights into LaGuardia Airport. Up to 5 inches (13 centimeters) of rain fell in some areas overnight, and as much as 7 inches (18 centimeters) more was expected throughout the day, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “This is a dangerous, life-threatening storm," Hochul said in an interview with TV station NY1. "Count on this for the next 20 hours.” Traffic was at a standstill, with water above cars' tires, on a stretch of the FDR Drive — a major artery along the east side of Manhattan. Some drivers abandoned their vehicles. Priscilla Fontallio said she had been stranded in her car, which was on a piece of the highway that wasn't flooded but wasn't moving, for three hours. Read: Despite dispute, Canada remains committed to its relationship with India: Trudeau “Never seen anything like this in my life,” she said. Photos and video posted on social media showed water pouring into subway stations and basements. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs subway and commuter rail lines, urged residents of the nation's most populous city to stay home if they could. Virtually every subway line was at least partly suspended, rerouted or running with delays, and two of the Metro-North Railroad's three lines were suspended. Flights into LaGuardia were briefly halted, and then delayed, Friday morning because of water in the airport’s refueling area. Flooding also forced the closure of one of the airport’s three terminals. Towns and cities around New York City also experienced flooding, including Hoboken, New Jersey. The deluge came less than three months after a storm caused deadly floods in New York's Hudson Valley and left Vermont's capital, Montpelier, submerged. A little over two years ago, the remnants of Hurricane Ida dropped record-breaking rain on the Northeast and killed at least 13 people in New York City, most of whom were in flooded basement apartments. Overall, 50 people died from Virginia to Connecticut. Read: Explosion at rally celebrating Eid-e-Miladunnabi kills 52 people in Pakistan Hochul warned New Yorkers on Thursday night of a forecast that called for 2-3 inches (5-7.5 centimeters) of rain, with 5 inches (13 centimeters) or more possible in some places. “We anticipate, we warn, we prepare. But then when it hits and you have 5 inches in the last 12 hours — 3 in the last hour this morning — that’s a scale that we’re not accustomed to dealing with,” the Democrat told NY1 on Friday. But she added that New Yorkers “have to get used to this” because of climate change. As the planet warms, storms are forming in a hotter atmosphere, making extreme rainfall more frequent, according to atmospheric scientists.
Despite an ongoing diplomatic dispute, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that his country is committed to strengthening ties with India. His most recent comments come at a time when relations between the two countries are at an all-time low, reports BBC. Also read: How India’s relations with Canada hit rock bottom Tensions rose when Trudeau announced on September 19 that Canada was examining plausible accusations that India was involved in the death of a Sikh separatist leader. The claim was rejected as “absurd” by Delhi. In June, Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed outside a temple in Canada. Also read: Blinken meets Indian foreign minister as row between India and Canada simmers Nijjar was vocal about the Khalistan movement. On Thursday, Trudeau said it was essential to engage India "constructively and seriously." "India is a growing economic power and important geopolitical player. And as we presented our Indo-Pacific strategy just last year, we're very serious about building closer ties with India," the National Post quoted him as saying. Also read: Canada’s interests currently pale in comparison to India’s massive strategic importance: BBC cites experts Tensions between the two countries became apparent during the G20 conference in Delhi on September 9 when Trudeau skipped an official leaders' dinner, the BBC report said. He had a brief meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but their body language was seen as "frosty" by experts, it added. A few days later, Trudeau told the Canadian parliament that they were looking into possible allegations of Indian agents being involved in Nijjar's killing. Both countries have since expelled a diplomat from each of the other. Last week, India also suspended visa services for Canadians, citing security concerns at its diplomatic missions in the country. Trudeau spoke about the significance of relations with India on Thursday, but emphasised that the murder inquiry would continue. "At the same time, obviously, as a rule of law country, we need to emphasise that India needs to work with Canada to ensure that we get the full facts of this matter," he said. India has insisted that it had no role in the murder, adding that Nijjar had been designated a terrorist by Delhi in 2020 — an allegation his supporters vehemently deny, the report also said. The Indian government has frequently reacted harshly to demands for Khalistan, or a separate Sikh nation, made by Sikh separatists in Western countries.The US, UK, and Australia have urged Delhi to aid in the inquiry but have refrained from criticising India, which they consider as a bulwark against China's development in Asia.
A powerful bomb exploded near a mosque at a rally celebrating the birthday of Islam's Prophet Muhammad in southwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing at least 52 people and injuring nearly 70 others, police and a government official said. The bombing occurred in Mastung, a district in Baluchistan province, where around 500 people had gathered for a procession to celebrate the birth anniversary of the prophet. Muslims hold rallies and distribute free meals to people on the occasion, which is known as Mawlid an-Nabi. TV footage and videos on the social media showed an open area near a mosque strewn with the shoes of the dead and wounded after the bombing. Some of the bodies had been covered with bedsheets, and residents and rescuers were seen rushing the wounded to hospitals, where a state of emergency had been declared and appeals were being issued for blood donations. Suicide blast in southern Pakistan kills 3 Chinese, driver Baluchistan has witnessed scores of attacks by insurgents and militants, but they usually target security forces. The Pakistan Taliban have also repeatedly said that they do not target worship places and civilians. Those injured in the blast were taken to nearby hospitals and some were in critical condition, government administrator Atta Ullah said. Abdul Rasheed, the District Health Officer in Mastung, said 30 bodies were taken to one hospital and 22 others were counted at a second hospital. A senior police officer, Mohammad Nawaz, was among the dead, Ullah said. Officers were investigating to determine whether the bombing was a suicide attack, he added. Friday's bombing came days after authorities asked police to remain on maximum alert, saying militants could target rallies making the birthday of Islam's prophet. Also Friday, a blast ripped through a mosque located on the premises of a police station in Hangu, a district in the northwester Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, wounding seven people, said Shah Raz Khan, a local police officer. A bomb at a political rally in northwest Pakistan kills at least 40 people and wounds more than 150 He said the mud-brick mosque collapsed because of the impact of the blast and rescuers were removing the debris to pull out worshippers from the rubble. Police say it was not immediately clear what caused the blast. No one claimed responsibility, and it was unclear what caused the blast when around 40 people were praying at the mosque. Most of the worshippers were police officers,Pakistan's President Arif Alvi condemned the attack and asked authorities to provide all possible assistance to the wounded and the victims' families. In a statement, caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti denounced the bombing and expressed sorrow and grief over the loss of lives. He said it was a "heinous act" to target people in the Mawlid an-Nabi procession. The government had declared a national holiday for the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad, and President Alvi and caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul-haq-Kakar in separate messages had called for unity and for people to adhere to the teachings of Islam's prophet. No one immediately claimed responsibility for Friday's bombing, but Pakistani Taliban quickly distanced themselves from it. The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, is a separate group but a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, which seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war. Bombing in crowded bazaar in southwestern Pakistan kills 5 The Islamic State group has claimed previous deadly attacks in Baluchistan and elsewhere.Also Friday, the military said two soldiers were killed in a shootout with Pakistani Taliban after insurgents tried to sneak into southwestern district of Zhob in Baluchistan province. Three militants were killed in the exchange, a military statement said. The gas-rich southwestern Baluchistan province at the border of Afghanistan and Iran has been the site of a low-level insurgency by Baluch nationalists for more than two decades. Baluch nationalists initially wanted a share of provincial resources, but they later launched an insurgency calling for independence.