Terrorist attack in Barcelona, Amit Shah sounds poll bugle: Top stories today

A low-down on today’s top stories to keep you updated.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2017 07:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Terrorist attack,Barcelona attack,Spain attack
People are escorted by Spanish policemen outside a cordoned off area after a van ploughed into the crowd on the Rambla in Barcelona on Friday.(AFP)

Barcelona attack: 13 killed, 100 injured as van ploughs through crowd, Islamic State claims responsibility

A van mowed through crowds of tourists on Barcelona’s most famous avenue on Thursday, killing about a dozen people in an attack that was claimed by Islamic State. A Catalan government official said the death toll could rise above the 13 so far confirmed. Joaquim Forn, from the Catalan government’s interior ministry, told a news conference that over 100 people had been injured when the van mowed down pedestrians in Barcelona’s city centre. The head of the Spanish region of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont said two people had been arrested. It was still not clear how many attackers had been involved.

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Bodies strewn on street, people running screaming: Eyewitnesses narrate gory scenes from Barcelona

Barcelona’s most famous street was packed with tourists when a van drove into the crowds on a sunny Thursday afternoon, leaving scenes of carnage and panic. “There were bodies on the floor with people crowding round them. People were crying,” Xavi Perez, who sells sports magazines just 100 metres away from the attack, told AFP. Among the foreigners on Las Ramblas was Aamar Anwar, a renowned Scottish human rights lawyer who was in Barcelona for a conference and had been walking down the boulevard when the terror unfolded. “All of a sudden I heard a crashing noise and the whole street just started to run screaming,” he said describing a scene of thousands of people struck by chaos and panic. “I saw a woman next to me screaming for her kids... Literally within 30 seconds, police vans, ambulances, police officers with guns were piling out, and we were sectioned off and then being pushed rapidly back,” he said.

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Corporates donated Rs 957 crore to national parties in 4 years, BJP got lion’s share: ADR report

The BJP received the lion’s share – Rs 705.81 crore – of Rs 956.77 crore that corporate houses donated to five national parties between 2012-13 and 2015-16, a report by a Delhi-based non-profit pushing for poll reforms said on Thursday. The party, which swept to power in 2014, got money from 2,987 corporate donors followed by the Congress that received Rs 198.16 crore from 167 business houses, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said. The Nationalist Congress Party received Rs 50.73 crore, Communist party of India (Marxist) Rs 1.89 crore and CPI Rs 0.18 crore, said the report based on submissions made by political parties to the election commission.

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If we fight together, BJP won’t be seen anywhere, says Rahul Gandhi at Oppn meet

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi launched a fresh attempt to unite the opposition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. Speaking at a meeting of 12 opposition parties, Gandhi said the BJP had failed to keep its promise to create jobs and fight corruption, while its ideological parent, the RSS, was busy subverting the constitution and embedding its own people in key institutions, including the judiciary, bureaucracy and media. The meeting, attended by all the major opposition parties except Tamil Nadu’s DMK, brought together traditional rivals such as the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party as well as Trinamool Congress and the Communists.

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Goa Church magazine likens BJP rule to Nazi regime

An article published in a magazine run by the Goa Church has likened the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule in India to Nazi Germany and claimed that a state of “constitutional holocaust” prevails in the country. The article, written by a city lawyer Dr FE Noronha, which appeared in “Renovacao” -- a pastoral bulletin of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman -- urged Goa voters to vote against communal forces in order to halt the march of “nationwide fascism”. “In 2012, everyone thought in terms of having a corruption-free Goa; this thinking continued till 2014, but from then and increasingly everyday what we are witnessing in India is nothing but a constitutional holocaust. Corruption is very bad, communalism is worse, but Nazism is worse than both,” the article reads.

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Amit Shah blows poll bugle, eyes 350+ seats in 2019 Lok Sabha elections

BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday blew the bugle for 2019 Lok Sabha election, setting a target of winning over 350 parliamentary seats. In the run up to the elections, Shah will soon appoint palaks (mentors) for the 120 Lok Sabha seats where the BJP has never won in the past. Most of them are in southern and north-eastern India. Senior ministers of the Modi government will also be given the task of supervising five or six such Lok Sabha seats and convert them into BJP seats. While law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will take charge of Assam, health minister JP Nadda and petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan will oversee West Bengal and Kerala, respectively.

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Six Apaches for Rs 4,168 crore: Army to get its own attack helicopters

The country’s defence acquisition council (DAC) on Thursday gave the green light to a proposal to buy six Apache AH64E attack helicopters for the army from the United States. The Boeing-manufactured helicopters and associated equipment cleared by the council are expected to cost around Rs 4,168 crore, defence ministry sources said. Attack helicopters have been on the army’s wish list for several years, but the air force has objected to the plan. India placed orders worth $3.1 billion for 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers in 2015.

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Doklam standoff: Japan says no country should use force to change region’s status

Japan on Thursday said no country should use unilateral forces to alter the status of Doklam, in the India-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction where the standoff between India and China entered the second month. In an interview to Hindustan Times Japanese ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu said Doklam is a disputed territory between China and Bhutan and his country understands why India has got involved in the dispute. “We recognize Doklam is a disputed area between Bhutan and China and two countries are engaged in border talks… We also understand that the India has a treaty understanding with Bhutan that’s why Indian troops got involved in the area,” the envoy said. Japan is the first major power to talk openly about Doklam standoff.

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16-yr-old ‘sold’ and married to 65-yr-old Arab for Rs 5L, claims domestic abuse

Hyderabad Police are investigating a complaint by a woman that her 16-year-old daughter was forcibly married to a 65-year-old Arab national by her sister-in-law in the last week of June, officials said on Thursday. Sayeeda Unnisaa, a resident of Nawab Saheb Kunta area of the old city, lodged a complaint with Falaknuma police on Wednesday that she recently received a call from her daughter saying she was being physically tortured by her Arab husband, Sheik Ahmed, in Oman’s capital Muscat, and she was desperate to return to India.

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Trump calls confederate statues ‘beautiful’, Bannon slams white hate groups ‘clowns’

US President Donald Trump plunged his administration into a new crisis in the defence of white hate-groups and his chief strategist Stephen K Bannon, who once ran a far-right news-site, has a few names for them as well: “clowns”, “losers” and “fringe elements”. “Ethno-nationalism (white nationalists, in other words) —it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it...help crush it more,” Bannon told a liberal news magazine. “These guys are a collection of clowns.” But Trump is willing to go the full length for them. After defending them at the now infamous news briefing at which he sought to blame “both sides” for the violence that led to three deaths in Charlottesville, he lent full-throated support to their cause in multiple tweets on Thursday.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook makes $2 million pledge to fight hate after Charlottesville violence

Apple is donating $2 million to two human rights groups as part of CEO Tim Cook’s pledge to help lead the fight against the hate that fueled the violence in Virginia during a white-nationalist rally last weekend. Cook made the commitment late Wednesday in an internal memo obtained by The Associated Press. Cook also says he strongly disagrees with President Donald Trump’s comparison between the actions of white nationalists and protesters opposing them. Cook believes equating the two “runs counter to our ideals as Americans,” making him the latest prominent CEO to distance himself from Trump.

Virat Kohli has a lot of Australian spirit in him, says Michael Clarke

Former Australia cricket team captain Michael Clarke has admitted that although his country’s media may not write positive things about India skipper Virat Kohli, it wouldn’t be right to assume that the swashbuckling cricketer doesn’t have enough fans Down Under. “I disagree that Virat doesn’t have too many fans in Australia. I think Virat has a lot of Australian spirit in him,” Clarke, who in India, was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. “To be honest, he plays the game really tough and is really competitive on the field, but he is a nice guy off the field,” added Clarke. “So when people get to know Virat, they realize that what they see on the field is just his competitive spirit. I can’t think of any Australian cricketer who wasn’t like that every time we walked out on the field. I certainly think there is respect for Virat in Australia.”

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First Published: Aug 18, 2017 07:21 IST