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Van plows into Toronto crowd in ‘deliberate’ act, leaving 10 dead

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Toronto:At least 10 people have died after a man plowed a white rental van into a crowd of pedestrians in Canada’s biggest city Toronto, in what police dubbed a “deliberate” attack.

The incident took place in broad daylight around 16 kilometers from a conference center hosting a meeting of G7 ministers, but officials said they had no evidence of a link to the event.

“The actions definitely looked deliberate,” Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told journalists.

 

Ralph Goodale, the minister of public security, added that “on the basis of all available information at the present time, there would appear to be no national security connection to this particular incident.” “Horrible day in Toronto,” he had posted earlier on Twitter.

“Senseless violence takes heavy toll.” Police arrested a suspect at the scene — who police identified later as 25-year-old Alek Minassian from a northern Toronto suburb — of the attack, whose initial death toll of nine jumped to 10 after one person succumbed to injuries.

Fifteen people remained in hospitals throughout the city, Saunders said, adding that local, provincial and federal investigators were probing the case.

At the scene, at least three bodies could be seen under orange sheets and a long stretch of road was sealed off with police incident tape.

The suspect and a police officer faced off, their guns drawn. The suspect eventually surrendered his weapon and was taken into custody.

Vehicle attacks have been carried out to deadly effect by extremists in a number of capitals and major cities, including London, Paris, New York and Nice.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the G7 meeting would continue as planned into Tuesday, with officials discussing ways to secure democratic societies from foreign interference.

“The work of the ministers obviously goes on. This is a very sad day for the people of Toronto and the people of Canada,” she said.

Officers were called to the scene — on Yonge Street at the corner with Finch Avenue — around 1.30 pm (1730 GMT), police said.

A white rental van with a dented front bumper was stopped on the sidewalk of a major intersection, surrounded by police vehicles.

“He was going really fast,” witness Alex Shaker told CTV television.

“All I could see was just people one by one getting knocked out, knocked out, one by one,” Shaker said. “There are so many people lying down on the streets.” Another witness, Jamie Eopni, told local Toronto television station CP24:

“It was crashing into everything. It destroyed a bench. If anybody was on that street, they would have been hit on the sidewalk.”

Though the act seemed “deliberate,” officials did not identify a terror link.

Canada has only rarely been the scene of terror attacks.

In October, a man stabbed a police officer in the western city of Edmonton before slamming his van into a group of pedestrians, hurting four people.

And in Quebec in October 2014, a Canadian man ran over two soldiers in a parking lot with his car, killing one of them. The driver was shot dead by police when he attacked them with a knife.

In March 2016, a Canadian who claimed to have radical Islamist sympathies attacked two soldiers at a military recruitment center in Toronto. AFP


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CJI recuses from hearing petition challenging interim CBI chief appointment

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New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has recused himself from hearing a plea challenging M Nageswara Rao’s appointment as interim Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Gogoi has sought transparency in the process of short-listing, selection and appointment of the CBI Director.

CJI Gogoi said he cannot hear plea as he would be part of the committee meeting to select the next CBI director.

 

.The plea will now be heard on January 24 by another bench.

The high-powered selection committee comprises the prime minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the CJI or his nominee judge of the apex court.

A bench comprising CJI and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause challenging the appointment of Rao as interim CBI director.

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‘Not safe’: Mamata refuses to allow Amit Shah’s chopper to land in Malda, BJP cries foul

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KOLKATA: In yet another attempt by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal to stop Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) President Amit Shah from addressing rally in the state, the state government has denied permission for landing of Shah’s helicopter in Malda district.

The BJP president, who was recently treated for swine flu at AIIMS in New Delhi, is scheduled to address a rally in Malda on January 22. As per BJP’s plan, Shah will reach Kolkata and then take a helicopter from there to reach Malda where he will participate in a public rally with BJP workers from North Bengal.

The Malda district administration has informed the BJP that it is not possible to grant permission to land helicopters at Malda airport this week.

 

“As per report of the executive engineer, PWD (civil), Malda Division, up-gradation of work at Malda Airport is going on in full swing. A large quantity of fine sand, dust and GSB materials is lying all along the runway and also stacked all around the site,” Additional District Magistrate of Malda said in a letter to BJP.

The letter added that the ongoing construction work has also affected the maintenance of temporary helipad at the airport and it is not possible to grant permission to Shah’s chopper to land at Malda Airport.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of BJP Malda unit had written to Malda DM saying that West Bengal government is using Malda Airport for landing their helicopter every Wednesday and they are refusing permission to Shah’s helicopter.

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Centre threatening to impose Prez’s rule in Andhra: Chandrababu

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Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday alleged that the Centre was threatening to impose President’s Rule in the state but, he said, nobody would be cowed down by such threats.

He claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “negative leader” under whose leadership the country was regressing. Addressing a teleconference with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders, he attacked the prime minister and the BJP, saying they did nothing special for Andhra.

“They say one Union minister will come to the state every week. What good have they done for the state? On top of it, they are issuing threats that President’s Rule will be imposed in Andhra Pradesh. There is nobody here to be cowed down by their threats,” Naidu said.

 

Referring to the opposition parties’ rally in Kolkata two days ago, the TDP chief said it marked the beginning of the end of dictatorial rule and gave confidence to the people of the country. “We will hold a similar rally in Amaravati in which leaders of 22 parties will take part,” Naidu added.

The TDP chief lashed out at his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, saying they were working under Modi’s direction.

The TRS and the YSRC were conspiring to create misgivings among the backward classes so that they are distanced from the TDP, he alleged. He said the backward communities should unitedly thwart such attempts.

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