SAM NOON UPDATES, 10 SEPTEMBER
'UNPRECEDENTED’ WILDFIRES RAGE ACROSS WESTERN UNITED STATES
Wildfires raged unchecked across large parts of the western United States on Wednesday in blazes unprecedented in their scale and ferocity, as Oregon warned of many deaths after blazes destroyed at least five small towns. Winds gusting as high as 80km/h (50mph) fanned dozens of catastrophic fires across a large swathe of Oregon and neighbouring Washington state - places that rarely experience such intense fire activity because of the Pacific Northwest's cool and wet climate.
Flames ravaged the towns of Detroit, Blue River, Vida, Phoenix and Talent, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said Wednesday. The blazes, which also forced the evacuation of much of Medford in southern Oregon, could bring "the greatest loss in human lives and property due to wildfire in our state's history", Brown said at a news briefing. In Washington state, a one year old boy was killed and his parents badly burned as tried to flee a fire, police said.
Nearly 100 fires are raging across the west of the US, with 28 in California, where nearly 930,800 hectares (2.3 million acres) have been burned and three people were on Wednesday confirmed dead. A massive cloud of smoke has enveloped much of the state leaving San Francisco beneath an eerie orange glow.
5 RAFALES TO JOIN INDIAN AIR FORCE TODAY
New Delhi: A Rafale fighter jet flew above Ambala Air Force Station this morning as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly watched it from afar. They will shortly induct five French-made multirole Rafales into the Indian Air Force at the country's oldest IAF base, built in 1919. Along with the Rafale, other fighter jets including the Russian-origin Sukhoi-30MKIs participated in the flypast today. The first batch of five Rafales is being inducted at a time when India is engaged in an escalating border row with China in eastern Ladakh. The multirole French-made fighter jets will become a part of the IAF's 17 Squadron "Golden Arrows". "The programme will include ceremonial unveiling of the Rafale aircraft, a traditional sarva dharma puja, air display by Rafale and Tejas aircraft as well as by the Sarang aerobatic team," an IAF spokesperson said.
US CANCELS VISAS FOR OVER 1,000 CHINESE NATIONALS DEEMED SECURITY RISKS
Washington/ Beijing: The United States has revoked visas for more than 1,000 Chinese nationals under a May 29 presidential proclamation to suspend entry from China of students and researchers deemed security risks, a State Department spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
The acting head of the US Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, said earlier that Washington was blocking visas "for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers with ties to China's military fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research."
In a speech, Wolf repeated US charges of unjust business practices and industrial espionage by China, including attempts to steal coronavirus research, and accused it of abusing student visas to exploit American academia.
A State Department spokeswoman said the visa action was being taken under a proclamation US President Donald Trump announced on May 29.
INDIA-CHINA FOREIGN MINISTERS LIKELY TO MEET TODAY IN MOSCOW AMID BORDER TENSION
New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is likely to meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi today for bilateral talks aimed at defusing tension after a spike in hostilities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border between the two nations.
The foreign ministers are in Moscow to attend a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting. The two leaders will also meet at a luncheon of the Foreign Ministers of Russia-India-China (RIC).
The Jaishankar-Wang talks will take place against the backdrop of a fresh stand-off at the southern bank of Pangong Tso on Monday.
Mr Jaishankar last week described the situation in eastern Ladakh as "very serious" and said it calls for "very, very deep conversation" between the two sides at a political level.
The latest incident took place three days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe met on the sidelines of another SCO meet in Moscow last Friday.
RIGHTS GROUPS SAY FACEBOOK BIAS SPURS VIOLENCE IN INDIA
SAN FRANCISCO: Civil rights groups on Wednesday (Sept 9) said Facebook has failed to address dangerous content in India and demanded that the head of public policy there be removed. A letter addressed to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and his second-in-command Sheryl Sandberg wanted the social network's India policy chief Ankhi Das sidelined pending the results of a civil rights audit.
"Facebook should not be complicit in more offline violence, much less another genocide, but the pattern of inaction displayed by the company is reckless to the point of complicity," the letter stated.
"It is no secret, given the acknowledged and harsh realities of Facebook's role in the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, that online violence and hate easily spill into violence in real life." The letter was signed by more than 40 groups including the Southern Poverty Law Centre, Witness, Muslim Advocates, and Global Project Against Hate and Extremism.
It comes in the wake of controversy over anti-Muslim remarks posted on the page of a member of the ruling party that were not initially removed.
PAKISTANI-AMERICAN MAN FEATURES IN FORBES RICHEST LIST
WASHINGTON: A Pakistani-American, Shahid Khan, has emerged as the 66th richest man in the United States in 2020, with a total worth of $7.8 billion.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is number one for the third year in a row, followed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates at number two.
The Forbes list of 400 richest Americans, published on Tuesday, estimates Bezos’ total worth in 2020 as $179bn. Gates has about $111bn and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has $85bn. He is the third on the list.
Shahid Khan, the only Pakistani on the list, is an engineer by trade. He immigrated to the US at age 16 with $500 and a plane ticket. In 1980, he bought auto parts supplier Flex-N-Gate from his former employer.
His design for a one-piece truck bumper was the basis for his success; the company now has 64 plants worldwide and over 24,000 employees. Khan made his first billion at Flex-N-Gate.
US President Donald Trump is now the 275th richest person in America - that’s 16 spots lower than in 2019 and 119 places lower than where he was before he became president.
Forbes notes that Trump’s branding businesses are in steep decline. Real estate developers are no longer signing up to put the Trump name on their properties.
Forbes notes that even the Covid-19 pandemic could not prevent America’s 400 richest from making more money in 2020. They are now 8 per cent wealthier than last year, with a record collective net worth of $3.2 trillion.