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Suspect of California mass shooting on Lunar New Year's Eve found dead

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The suspect of the California mass shooting on Saturday night was found dead in another city of what authorities believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.Photo: AgenciesFive women and five men were killed while another 10 people were injured in a mass shooting in the city of Monterey Park, 16 km east of Los Angeles downtown, the authorities said Sunday.The fatal incident occurred at 10:22 p.m. (06:22 GMT) Saturday local time in Star Ballroom Dance Studio, a popular ballroom dance facility operated for about 30 years, when it was hosting an event to celebrate the countdown to the Chinese Lunar New Year.Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Sunday evening that the suspect was identified as Huu Can Tran, who entered the party and opened fire before fleeing the scene in a white van.The vehicle was pulled over in a parking lot Sunday morning and surrounded by policemen from Torrance, located roughly 50 km southwest of Monterey Park after they heard a gunshot from inside the vehicle.The man inside the van, who was found dead following a three-hour standoff with the Special Weapons and Tactics team, was confirmed as the suspect later, according to Luna.No motive was disclosed at a Sunday evening news conference.Monterey Park, a city of 61,000 residents located on the eastern edge of Los Angeles, has a majority Asian American population. Starting Saturday, the city hosted an annual two-day Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, one of the largest events in the region.Thousands of shoppers took part in Saturdays celebrations which was concluded about one hour before the fatal shooting. The festivities scheduled for Sunday have been canceled.

Germany would not block Poland from sending tanks to Ukraine: foreign minister

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Sunday her government would not stand in the way if Poland wants to send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.Ukrainian officials have been calling on Western allies to supply them with the modern German-made tanks for months – but Berlin has so far held back from sending them, or allowing other NATO countries to do so.Asked what would happen if Poland went ahead and sent its Leopard 2 tanks without German approval, Baerbock said on Frances LCI TV: "For the moment the question has not been asked, but if we were asked we would not stand in the way."Her remarks appeared to go further than German Chancellor Olaf Scholzs comments at a summit in Paris earlier on Sunday that all decisions on weapons deliveries would be made in coordination with allies including the United States.Germany has been under heavy pressure to let Leopards go to Ukraine. But Scholzs Social Democrat party is traditionally skeptical of military involvements and wary of sudden moves that could cause Moscow to further escalate.German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Sunday that he expected a decision soon on the tanks, though he kept up a note of caution.Pistorius told ARD TV that Germany would not make a hasty decision because the government had many factors to consider, including consequences at home for the security of the German population.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy repeated his long-standing plea for the tanks at his Sunday meeting with former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who was visiting Kyiv."We need more weapons: tanks, aircraft, long-range missiles," Zelenskyy said, according to a statement on his website.The Kremlins spokesman said on Friday that Western countries supplying additional tanks to Ukraine would not change the course of the conflict and that they would add to the problems of the Ukrainian people.Must not escalate the situationAfter the Paris summit, Scholz t...

Biden orders US flags lowered for California shooting victims

President Joe Biden on Sunday ordered all US flags at public buildings to be flown at half-staff to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California.Biden directed that flags be lowered until sunset on January 26 "as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on January 21, 2023, in Monterey Park, California," a White House statement said.

Nepal ready to welcome Chinese tourists: official

KATHMANDU, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Nepal is ready to welcome Chinese tourists back as a popular destination, a Nepali official said.File photo: CFPNepal "is all prepared with added facilities, amenities, properties and products to welcome valued tourists from China in the days and years to come," Suresh Adhikari, secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, wrote in a recent message to the Chinese embassy.The secretary referred to the "age-long" cultural and economic relations between Nepal and China and described his country as a "popular destination" for tourists.He extended "hearty greetings and best wishes" to the Chinese government and people on the auspicious occasion of the Chinese New Year, which fell on Sunday.The Nepali government has reportedly prepared a Strategic Action Plan for Visit Nepal Decade (2023-2032) with a view to bringing in 3.5 million tourists and creating one million additional jobs in the tourism sector battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Up to 5 killed in airstrike in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from Saturdays airstrike on Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraqs Salahudin province rose to five, the Iraqi military said on Sunday.File photo: CFPSoldiers found the bodies of two IS militants and human body parts of three other militants in the IS hideout that was bombed on Saturday by Iraqi aircraft in a rocky area in eastern Salahudin, in addition to weapons and an ammunition cache, according to a statement from the Joint Operations Command (JOC).On Saturday, an earlier JOC statement said that Iraqi aircraft carried out an airstrike on two IS militants in their hideout near Tuz Khurmato and killed them all.The security situation in Iraq has been improving since the defeat of the IS in 2017. However, the IS militants have since melted into urban centers, deserts, and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.

Six injured in Jammu blasts before India opposition leader Gandhi arrives

At least six people were injured on Saturday in two blasts in Jammu, the principal Indian city in a region disputed by neighboring Pakistan, police said, ahead of the arrival of Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi on a cross-country march.The blasts hit Jammus transport yard in the Narwal area, said regional police chief Mukesh Singh, as security has been heightened with Gandhis march expected to reach the city on Monday.The first blast occurred around 0445 GMT, followed by another explosion, said another police official, who asked not be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media."The whole area has been cordoned off and a search operation underway," he said.Jaswinder Singh, who saw the first blast, said it occurred in a vehicle that was sent to a workshop for repairs.Thousands have joined his march against "hate and division", which aims to turn the leftist Congress partys fortunes around after its drubbing by Prime Minister Narendra Modis Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in a 2019 election.Modi wants to take control of Indias part of the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Jammu and Kashmir, hotly contested by Muslim-majority Pakistan. It has been governed almost exclusively by Muslim chief ministers.

Spain celebrates Chinese New Year with grand parade

MADRID, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- After three years hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional Chinese New Year Grand Parade returned on Sunday in Madrid, celebrating the arrival of the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit.File photo: XinhuaOver 600 people, dressed in traditional costumes and carrying lanterns, paraded in music in the Madrid district of Usera -- home to the largest number of Chinese in Spain. The parade attracted thousands of local people."The rabbit is among the luckiest Chinese zodiac signs," Victor Lopez, a local resident, told Xinhua, adding the event was a "very interesting cultural exchange.""I think these celebrations are really important, because they bring everyone together ... it is a good way to unite everyone and learn more about the Chinese culture," said Ana Lujan, a local resident.Oscar Gabriel, who also enjoyed the parade, said it was a "great" event that helped children learn about other cultures. "It should be promoted more," he said.Main offices of the Madrid City Hall was also lighted in red on Sunday to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Macron calls on France, Germany to become pioneers of Europe refoundation

PARIS, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- France and Germany should together become "pioneers" in the refoundation of Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday in Paris during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of France-Germany reconciliation.French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attend a joint news conference as part of a Franco-German joint cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Jan 22, 2023. (Photo: Agencies)Macron pointed out that the first task of the two countries, as pioneers, should be building together a new energy model beyond their differences."We must encourage and accelerate at the European level necessary public and private investments for the ecological transition," he noted, adding that the two allies must complete the diversification of their sources and encourage the production of carbon-free energy in Europe.Macron said that the two countries should also be pioneers for innovation and technologies of tomorrow in order to build the ecological and social prosperity that unites France and Germany.Macron laid out an ambitious European industrial strategy, Made In Europe 2030, which he said would make Europe the champion of new technologies and artificial intelligence.German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the future of Europe depended on the "driving force" of Germany and France."The German-French engine is a machine for compromise, well oiled, but from time to time also loud and marked by hard work," he said during the ceremony.The 23rd Franco-German Council of Ministers was also held on Sunday, during which topics such as economy, energy transition, defense and European policy were discussed. In a joint declaration, the two countries agreed to increase collaboration in space and cyberspace."We must strengthen and promote our political, economic and social models, accelerate the energy transition to achieve climate neutrality and sustainability as soon as ...

At least 10 killed in mass shooting at Chinese New Year gathering

A man fatally shot 10 people at a ballroom dance venue where people were celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California late on Saturday, Jan. 21. Photo: CFPThe suspect is still at large after fleeing the scene as of Sunday morning, police said.Another 10 people were taken to local hospitals to be treated for injuries, and at least one was in critical condition, authorities said. The mass shooting may be tied to another shooting incident at Lai Lai Ballroom and Dance Studio in Alhambra, near to Monterey Park.There was no immediate information about a motive for the shooting or a description of the suspect or kind of gun used. When local police first arrived, people were "pouring out of the location screaming," authorities told reporters in a news briefing at the scene.The shooting took place after 10 p.m. PST around the location of a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration where many downtown streets are closed for festivities that draw thousands of people from across Southern California. Police said the celebrations planned for Sunday were now canceled.Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people around 7 miles (11 km) from downtown Los Angeles. About two-thirds of its residents are Asian, according to U.S. Census data, and the city is known for its many Chinese restaurants and groceries.The White House said U.S. President Joe Biden had been briefed on the attack and had directed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist local police.

Lawmakers seek to bar insurrectionists from holding office

Democratic lawmakers in a handful of states are trying to send a message two years after the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol: Those who engage in an attempted overthrow of the government shouldnt be allowed to run it.Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump try to break through a police barrier, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. (Photo: AP)New York, Connecticut and Virginia are among states where proposed legislation would prohibit anyone convicted of participating in an insurrection from holding public office or a position of public trust, such as becoming a police officer.While the bills vary in scope, their aim is similar."If youve tried to take down our government through violent means, in no way should you be part of it," New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal said.He is sponsoring a bill that would bar people convicted of engaging in an insurrection or rebellion against the United States from holding civil office, meaning they would not be able to serve as a judge or member of the Legislature. Hoylman-Sigal said he introduced the bill this year because he saw more people who were involved in the riot in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, running for office last year.He described the assault on the Capitol as "a real attack on the foundations of our free and fair democracy and the values which enable that to persist."A Virginia lawmaker introduced a bill this month, on the second anniversary of the Capitol riot, that would prohibit anyone convicted of a felony related to an attempted insurrection or riot from serving in positions of public trust — including those involving policymaking, law enforcement, safety, education or health.A Connecticut bill would prohibit people convicted of sedition, rebellion, insurrection or a felony related to one of those acts from running for or holding public office. Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, who introduced the measure, told The Associated Press that he wants the legislation eve...

Police: Gunman on the loose after killing 10 near LA

A gunman killed 10 people and wounded 10 others at a Los Angeles-area ballroom dance club following a Lunar New Year celebration, setting off a manhunt for the suspect in the latest mass shooting tragedy in an American community.Police investigate a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. (Photo: AP)Capt. Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said Sunday that the wounded were taken to hospitals and their conditions range from stable to critical. He said the 10 people died at the scene in the city of Monterey Park.Meyer said people were “pouring out of the location screaming” when officers arrived on the scene at around 10:30 p.m. He said officers then went into the dance ballroom as firefighters treated the wounded.The Lunar New Year celebration had attracted thousands. Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people with a large Asian population about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from downtown Los Angeles.It marked the fifth mass shooting in the U.S. this month and the deadliest since 21 people were killed in a school in Uvalde, Texas, according to The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the U.S. The latest violence comes two months after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs nightclub.Seung Won Choi, who owns the Clam House seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from where the shooting happened, told the Los Angeles Times that three people rushed into his business and told him to lock the door.The people also told Choi that there was a shooter with a gun who had multiple rounds of ammunition on him. Choi said he believes the shooting took place at a dance club.Wong Wei, who lives nearby, told The Los Angeles Times that his friend was in a bathroom at a dance club that night when the shooting started. When she came out, he said, she saw a gunman and three bodies.The friend then fled to his home at around 11 p.m., Wei said, adding that his friends told him that the shooter appear...

9 killed in shooting near LA after Lunar New Year festival

Police investigate a scene where a shooting took place in Monterey Park, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. (Photo: AP)Nine people were killed in a mass shooting late Saturday in a city east of Los Angeles following a Lunar New Year celebration that attracted thousands, police said.Sgt. Bob Boese of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the shooting was reported at 10:22 p.m. and occurred at a business on Garvey Ave. in Monterey Park. The shooter is a male, Boese said early Sunday.Officials provided no information for several hours after dozens of police officers had responded to reports of the shooting.Monterey Park is a city of about 60,000 people with a large Asian population thats about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from downtown Los Angeles.Seung Won Choi, who owns the Clam House seafood barbecue restaurant across the street from where the shooting happened, told the Los Angles Times that three people rushed into his business and told him to lock the door.The people also told Choi that there was a shooter with a machine gun who had multiple rounds of ammunition on him so he could reload. Choi said he believes the shooting took place at a dance club.Saturday was the start of the two-day festival, which is one of the largest Lunar New Year events in Southern California.

Top Sri Lankan leaders extend new year's greetings to Chinese people

Ranil Wickremesinghe, president of Sri Lanka extended his new years greetings to all Chinese people who are celebrating the Spring Festival, also known as the Year of the Rabbit.The country’s prime minister Dinesh Gunawardena also sent a Chinese New Year greeting.

Top Biden aide Ron Klain expected to soon leave White House

White House chief of staff Ron Klain, who has spent more than two years as President Joe Bidens top aide, is preparing to leave his job in the coming weeks, according to a person familiar with Klains plans.White House chief of staff Ron Klain walks to the South Lawn of the White House to attend an event celebrating the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to reach the Supreme Court in Washington, April 8, 2022. (Photo: AP)Klains expected departure comes not long after the White House and Democrats had a better-than-expected showing in the November elections, buoyed by a series of major legislative accomplishments, including a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a sweeping climate, health care and tax package that all Republicans rejected.The personnel change is also a rarity for an administration that has had minimal turnover so far. No member of Bidens Cabinet has stepped down, in stark contrast to Donald Trumps White House, with frequent staff turmoil and other crises.The person familiar with Klains plans was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm the development, which was first reported by The New York Times.The White House did not return calls or emails seeking comment on Klains expected exit. Spending the weekend in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Biden did not respond to shouted questions about when his chief of staff is expected to depart.Klain sent an email to White House staff on Friday, which was the second anniversary of Bidens inauguration. "Although much work remains ahead, as we look back on these two years, I am awestruck at what this team has done and how you have done it," he wrote in the email, obtained by The Associated Press, and noted that he bought cake to mark the occasion. He added: "These cakes are my small way of adding my personal thanks to those of the President, the Vice President and the country for your...

Tens of thousands of Israelis protest against judical reforms

Tens of thousands of Israelis rallied in several cities on Saturday evening to voice their dissatisfaction over the governments plan to make sweeping reforms in the countrys judicial system.A protester chants slogans during the demonstration, Tel Aviv, Israel, January 21, 2023. (Photo: CFP)Israeli media quoted police as saying that more than 100,000 protesters arrived at the main demonstration in Tel Aviv. Smaller demonstrations were also held in other cities.This is the second week in a row that massive protests are being staged against the government. The demonstrators said the reforms will weaken the courts and give the ruling coalition limitless power.The government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the changes are necessary in order to rein in the judicial system which has become "too powerful" in recent decades. They also said the supreme court often intervenes in political issues that should be determined by the parliament.Netanyahu and his coalition partners have said they will continue to push for the reforms despite the widespread protests.The reforms include allowing the parliament to override supreme court rulings with a simple majority. In addition, politicians will have greater influence in appointing supreme court judges.

New Zealand's ruling party chooses 'Chippy' Hipkins to replace Ardern

New Zealands ruling Labour Party chose former COVID minister Chris Hipkins on Sunday to replace the charismatic Jacinda Ardern as its new leader, and become the next prime minister of the country.New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) and Chris Hipkins arrive at the Labor caucus meeting to elect a new premier at Parliament in Wellington on January 22, 2023. (Photo: CFP)Hipkins, 44, was the only nomination for the job and his confirmation at a party meeting on Sunday, known as the Labor caucus, was largely a formality.His appointment to the top job followed the surprise resignation on Thursday by Ardern, who said she had "no more in the tank" to lead the country."This is the biggest privilege and biggest responsibility of my life," Hipkins said at a news conference announcing his appointment. "I am energized and excited by the challenge that lies ahead."Hipkins immediately acknowledged the leadership of Ardern, who he called one of New Zealands greatest prime ministers and an inspiration to women and girls everywhere."She gave voice to those often overlooked in times of challenge and purposefully went about doing politics differently," Hipkins said.But some of the hate Ardern faced during her term is a reminder that "weve got a way to go to ensure women in leadership receive the same respect as their male counterparts", he added.Known as "Chippy", Hipkins built a reputation for competence in tackling COVID-19 and was a troubleshooter for Ardern when other cabinet ministers were struggling.First elected to parliament in 2008, he became a household name fronting the governments response to the pandemic. He was appointed health minister in July 2020 before becoming the COVID response minister at the end of the year.Hipkins named Carmel Sepuloni as deputy prime minister, New Zealands first deputy prime minister of Pacific origin.Sepuloni, 46, is of Samoan, Tongan and New Zealand E...

10 killed in building collapse in Syria's second city

A building collapsed in Syrias second city of Aleppo on Sunday killing 10 people including one child, state media reported, adding that rescue efforts were ongoing.The five-storey structure in the citys Sheikh Maksoud neighbourhood collapsed "due to a water leak in the buildings foundations", state news agency SANA quoted a police source as saying.Rescuers, civil defence forces and firefighters continued their search for others believed to be missing in the rubble, the news agency added.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights meanwhile reported that the 10 victims were all displaced people from the northern district of Afrin.The Sheikh Maksoud neighbourhood is predominantly inhabited by Syrian Kurds, including fighters, many of whom fled from Afrin after Turkey began an offensive there in 2018.Nearly half a million people have been killed in Syrias conflict since it broke out in 2011, and about half of its pre-war population has been displaced.Many of those displaced have had to move into buildings that are structurally unsound, resulting in relatively frequent collapses.Last September, a building collapse in the Ferdaws neighbourhood of Aleppo killed 10 people, including three children.

Mass shooting reported in Monterey Park in California

Police and other emergencies were responding to a mass shooting in Monterey Park, just east of Los Angeles in the U.S. state of California on Saturday, BNO news reported.According to initial reports, more than a dozen people have been injured, including multiple victims who have succumbed to their injuries. Specific figures were not immediately confirmed.

FBI searched Biden home, found items marked classified

The FBI searched President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday and located additional documents with classified markings and also took possession of some of his handwritten notes, the president’s lawyer said Saturday.President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House to mayors who are attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington, on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. (File photo: AP)The president voluntarily allowed the FBI into his home, but the lack of a search warrant did not dim the extraordinary nature of the search. It compounded the embarrassment to Biden that started with the disclosure Jan. 12 that the president’s attorneys had found a “small number” of classified records at a former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington shortly before the midterm elections. Since then, attorneys found six classified documents in Biden’s Wilmington home library from his time as vice president.Though Biden has maintained “ there’s no there there,” the discoveries have become a political liability as he prepares to launch a reelection bid, and they undercut his efforts to portray an image of propriety to the American public after the tumultuous presidency of his predecessor, Donald Trump.During Fridays search, which lasted nearly 13 hours, the FBI took six items that contained documents with classified markings, said Bob Bauer, the president’s personal lawyer. The items spanned Biden’s time in the Senate and the vice presidency, while the notes dated to his time as vice president, he said. The level of classification, and whether the documents removed by the FBI remained classified, was not immediately clear as the Justice Department reviews the records.Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick confirmed Saturday that the FBI had executed “a planned, consensual search” of the president’s residence in Wilmington.The president and first lady Jill Biden were not at the home when it was searched. They were spending the weekend...

At least 8 killed as vehicle plunges from mountain in Yemen

At least eight passengers were killed and 15 others seriously injured when a vehicle plunged from a high mountain in Mikhlaf Jaar in Wusab Al Ali District, west of Yemens Dhamar Province, on Saturday, local media reported.The driver of the vehicle was transporting 34 students to school while he was on his way to work when the disaster occurred, the Yemen Press Agency reported citing a source.

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