Mexican police and soldiers in hot pursuit of escaped piglet

Mexican police and soldiers in hot pursuit of escaped piglet

Police and soldiers chased a piglet after it escaped from a nearby zoo through a public area in the city of Culiacan in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa.

Video released on Facebook by Culican’s Public Security and Municipal Traffic units showed them chasing the piglet as it ran around the room, sneaking between chairs as onlookers at the Civic Constitution Center laughed at their unexpected guest.

The Welfare Secretariat had taken over the sports recreation area to pay out the monthly pensions to the elderly.

The piglet had escaped from the nearby Culiacan Zoo, and staff there asked for help from the local police and the National Guard who chased after the piglet.

The elusive animal evaded capture at first, but was caught using a piece of cloth. It squealed loudly as it was carried away.

Police officers after the capture of the pig. (CEN/SSPT Culiacan)

Culiacan Zoo was built in 1950 next to the Civic Constitution Centre and is home to around 1,400 animals belonging to more than 450 species including mammals, reptiles, and birds.

(Edited by John Rossomando.)



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Human Rights Group: Delhi Police Violated Human Rights

Human Rights Group: Delhi Police Violated Human Rights

NEW DELHI — Indian authorities are not investigating the “grave human rights violations” allegedly committed by the police during February riots in New Delhi, human rights group Amnesty International India claimed.

“Delhi police personnel were complicit and an active participant in the violence,” Amnesty said in an investigative briefing released Aug. 28.

The organization’s investigation is based on conversations with 50 riots survivors, eyewitnesses, lawyers, doctors, human rights activists and retired police officers, as well as several videos of the violence.

The Delhi police force has denied any wrongdoing and did not respond to a Zenger News request for comment about the Amnesty report.

President Donald Trump was in New Delhi as part of his first state visit to India when violence roiled the northeastern parts of India’s capital, in which 53 people — mostly Muslim, India’s largest religious minority — were killed.

A parking lot in Northeast Delhi which was burnt down during the riots. An intelligence bureau staffer Ankit Sharma was killed near this parking lot on March 16, 2020. (Courtesy: Sadiq Naqvi)

Amnesty’s report documents a timeline of alleged violations by Delhi police, starting from the pan-Indian protests against a new citizenship law in late December 2019. It claims to have found a “disturbing pattern of grave human rights violations committed by the Delhi police during the riots.”

“Six months on, there has not been even a single investigation into the role of the Delhi police,” said Avinash Kumar, executive director of Amnesty International India.

During the six days of rioting, a video surfaced of police personnel kicking five men and forcing them to sing India’s national anthem. One of them, known as Faizan, later died of his injuries.

Amnesty said the video was among those analyzed by its crisis evidence laboratory, and the team interviewed Faizan’s mother. After the incident, Faizan was detained by the police for close to 36 hours without any charge. He was handed over to his mother at 1 a.m. on Feb. 26 after his condition had deteriorated.

Mohammad Rafiq, a 27-year-old tailor, was also among the five men who can be seen being assaulted in the video.

Mohammad Rafiq shows his injuries on March 14, 2020. (Courtesy: Sadiq Naqvi)

He said the group was kept in police lockup until late on the night of Feb. 25. Rafiq had been picked up by the police when he had stepped out to look for his mother on Feb. 24.

“The policemen first dragged me to the government-run clinic in the area and beat me up,” he said. “Four people were already lying on the ground there. I lost all hope and thought, ‘I won’t survive this.’”

The police took them to the local hospital for first aid and then moved them to the lockup at the police station.

“We asked them to release us,” Rafiq said. “But they said the situation outside the police station was bad.”

“The ruthless treatment of the heavily injured men by the Delhi police officers violates the international human rights standard,” Amnesty said in its statement.

The police force has said previously its investigations were fair.

“Delhi police would like to assure you that it is has the capability and the resolve to bring all those responsible for the riots to justice – and nothing bears out this intention more than the fact that over 750 cases have been registered and more than 1,500 persons have already been arrested in connection with the riots,” Eish Singhal, a Delhi police spokesperson, wrote in a statement on Aug. 7.

In another response on June 26, Singhal had written that more than 400 First Information Reports, or official written complaints, have been registered from the minority community.

“No discrimination has been made on grounds of community, caste or color,” he said.

Tall iron gates come up in neighborhoods of Northeast Delhi after the riots on March 13, 2020. (Courtesy: Sadiq Naqvi)

Violence in northeast Delhi followed two months of protests against the new citizenship law. The law, passed by the Indian parliament in December 2019, fast-tracks the citizenship process for non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In New Delhi, one such protest in the northeastern parts of the city had snowballed into riots.

Kapil Mishra, a local leader from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, had threatened to forcibly remove the protesters. Amnesty said the police did not act against Mishra, even when his speech was immediately followed by large-scale violence.

Delhi police and Mishra did not respond to the allegation. 

“Amnesty International is bereft of any credibility,” said Sudhanshu Mittal, a senior party leader.

“The leadership of Amnesty, the Aakar Patels and Ashwini Kumars have a long history of being anti-Modi,” he said, referring to the former and present chief.

Wall writing calls for a Hindu country in Northeast Delhi on March 14, 2020. (Courtesy: Sadiq Naqvi)

“Sometime back, media was full of stories about a senior police officer writing to his juniors about a large number of complaints received from Hindus alleging bias in the investigations by the police,” Mittal said. “How is it that Amnesty has not chosen to look into any complaint which the Hindus have made against the Delhi police?”

But victims of the violence agree with Amnesty’s report.

“Had the police acted properly we would not have faced this situation,” said Babu Khan, whose two sons, Amir Khan, 30, and Asim Ali, 19, were waylaid by a mob, killed and thrown into a drain on Feb. 26.

Babu Khan outside his residence in Mustafabad in Northeast Delhi on March 13, 2020. (Courtesy: Sadiq Naqvi)

Amnesty also claims the police selectively targeted anti-citizenship law protestors. A lawyer who is representing many accused of rioting said the situation was grim.

“Not only are victims being attacked, but also lawyers are being threatened and journalists are being assaulted,” said Mahmood Pracha, whom Delhi police have accused of forging documents and instigating a man to depose falsely.  

Delhi Police’s Special Cell, its anti-terror wing, is probing the riot. Under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967, police have arrested several students, activists and politicians who were protesting against the new law.

Amnesty has demanded a prompt investigation into all allegations of human rights violations by the police.

“This ongoing state-sponsored impunity sends the message that the law enforcement officials can commit grave human rights violations and evade accountability,” Amnesty’s Kumar said.

(Edited by Siddharthya Roy and Natalie Gross.)



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When Staying Afloat is a Bad Thing

When Staying Afloat is a Bad Thing

SYDNEY—Talk about a tough life for a turtle: First, it gets hit by a ship’s propeller, leaving a long scar across its shell. Then, it comes down with a mysterious illness that has left it floating listlessly.

That’s the situation facing a green sea turtle that’s being treated at Australia’s Taronga Wildlife Hospital, which is located within the Taronga Zoo Sydney. In a video, veterinarian Kimberly Vinette Herrin describes the procedures she’ll undertake to treat the ill turtle. She notes that its most recent problem involves not being able to dive,which might be caused by a build-up of gas from diet or serious respiratory problems.

Veterinary staff flip the turtle on its side in an undated photo. (Newsflash)

 

The turtle being treated by the Wildlife Hospital’s veterinarian staff.(Newsflash)

Herrin and her team are then shown taking blood samples, measurements and radiographs. She also shows the scar the turtle bears from being hit by a ship’s propeller at some point in the past. But she notes that wound is probably not related to the turtle’s current illness.

“As a wild animal, its age is not known,” Laura Minn, the zoo’s s senior media relations officer told Zenger News. “After a full health check and a number of tests, the turtle remains in care under the supervision of our vets.”

Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) are found mainly in tropical waters around the world, and nests in roughly 80 countries. It is one of the largest species of turtles on the planet, weighing up to nearly 300 pounds (130-plus kilograms) and measuring just over 3 feet long (1 meter). They can live up to 80 years.

 

The species is listed as “endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List of Threatened Species,” which said  the main threat facing such creatures is the harvesting of their eggs by humans.

(Edited by Stephen Gugliociello and Matthew Hall.)



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An Elephant Reunion: Touching Trunks Equals Happy Together

An Elephant Reunion: Touching Trunks Equals Happy Together

Three generations of elephants were recently reunited at a German zoo and promptly celebrated by touching their trunks through a set of bars that was used to separate them initially. That meeting went so well that the elephants are now being allowed to interact without bars.

These “awww…” moments took place after a 39-year-old elephant, Pori, was moved from her former home at Tierpark Berlin Zoo to the Bergzoo in Halle, Germany. Once there, she was reunited with her 19-year-old daughter, Tana, after 12 years of separation, as well as her granddaughters, Tamika, 4 and Elani, 1.

In the wild, zoo officials say, female elephants tend to remain with their mothers, and this reunion was part of a program slowly recreate this natural process in herds being held in captivity. (Bull elephants, meantime, tend to leave the herd to form new relationships.)

Reunited gran, mom and grandchild elephant meet in outdoor area. Pori, Elani, Tamika and Tana in an undated photo. (Zoo Halle/Newsflash)

 

Reunited gran, mom and grandchild elephant meet in outdoor area. Pori, Elani, Tamika and Tana in an undated photo. (Zoo Halle/Newsflash)

“Pori’s arrival in Halle is an important step in modern elephant husbandry,” said zoo director Dennis Muller. “In the future, all elephant herds in European zoos should be cared for in such natural family structures. Today we have come a great deal closer to this goal.”

The initial photographs were taken when the elephant house was closed to allow the separated family to get to know each other. Zookeepers then allowed the four to be together in the outdoor area surrounding the zoo’s elephant house. The staff then noticed the elephants communicating with each other by making low rumbling noises that sound similar to thunder, with lots of trunk contact.

 

Muller said it was a really touching moment as the granddaughters Tamika and Elani met their elderly relative, with the littlest elephant even trying to suckle from his grandma. At one point, Pori lifted her leg to allow the youngster to safely stand underneath her.

Mueller said with the reunion, his zoo is the only one in Germany in which elephant cows from a single matriarchal line live together.

Pori is an African elephant (Loxodonta) who was born wild in Zimbabwe in 1981 and brought to Germany to the Magdeburg Zoo, where she lived from 1983 to 1997, when she was sent to the for Tierpark Berlin for breeding purposes. In 2001, she gave birth to and raised her first calf, Tana, with whom who she has now been reunited.

The elephants in an outdoor area at the Tierpark Berlin Zoo in an undated photograph. (Zoo Halle/Newsflash)

The monitoring of such elephant populations in zoos is part of a global conservation breeding program run by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which consists of committees made up of experts from zoos in designated geographic areas that work to determine optimal herd compositions and any resulting animal moves.

Overall, the African elephant is listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List of Threatened Species,” thanks to such factors as loss of habitat and hunting.

(Edited by Matthew Hall and Stephen Gugliociello.)



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What Two Teens Did On Summer Vacation: Discover Gold

What Two Teens Did On Summer Vacation: Discover Gold

Two Israeli teens helping an archaeological team during their summer break made a find that’s the envy of their professional counterparts: a clay pot containing 425 meticulously preserved 24-carat gold coins that date back to the 9th century.

“It was amazing,” said Oz Cohen, one of the teens who volunteered at the excavation site in central Israel before entering military service after the summer holidays. “I dug in the ground and when I excavated the soil, saw what looked like very thin leaves. When I looked again, I saw they were gold coins. It was really exciting to find such a special and ancient treasure.”

The dig took place at a site being prepped for a housing development. The two archaeologists in charge of the excavation, the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Liat Nadav-Ziv and Elie Haddad, said in a statement obtained by Zenger News that the treasure appeared to be deliberately buried at the site, because the pot containing the coins had been secured with a nail.

A man holds the cache as found at the site. (Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority/Real Press)

 

The cache as found at the site. (Yoli Schwartz/Israel Antiquities Authority/Real Press)

 

A man counts the cache as found at the site. (Yoli Schwartz/Israel Antiquities Authority/Real Press)

“The person who buried this treasure 1,100 years ago must have expected to retrieve it,” they said. “We can only guess what prevented him from returning to collect his treasure.”

The discovery is rare, indeed, as gold coins were traditionally melted and re-used over time, rather than preserved in their original form. Moreover, the coins provide a glimpse into trade relations in the Mediterranean region more than a millennium ago, according to the authority.

 

Most of the coins, which weighed a total of 845 grams (almost 2 pounds), were minted in the Islamic world. But some are from the Byzantine empire, which indicates that there was trade between Christian lands and the so-called Abbasid Caliphate, which controlled an empire that stretched from Persia to Baghdad in today’s Iraq.

The hoard consists of full gold dinars, an early Islamic currency, but also about 270 small gold cuttings that were used as small change. The rarest piece is a fragment of a gold solidus of the Byzantine emperor Theophilos, minted in the Byzantine empire’s capital of Constantinople. This fragment, according to Robert Kool, a coin expert at the authority, is rare material evidence of the continuous connections—war and trade—between the two rival empires during this period.

Israel Antiquities Authority excavations in the centre of the country. (Emil Aladjem/Israel Antiquities Authority/Real Press)

 

Liat Nadav-Ziv, director of the excavation, with the cache. (Yoli Schwartz/Israel Antiquities Authority/ Real Press)

“This rare treasure will certainly be a major contribution to research, as finds from the Abbasid period in Israel are relatively few,” Kool said. “Hopefully, the study of the hoard will tell us more about a period of which we still know very little.”

And the value of the gold coins? Though considered priceless today, Kool said 1,100 years ago, the entire hoard would have been enough to buy a luxurious house in one of the best neighborhoods in Fustat, then the wealthy capital of Egypt.

(Edited by Stephen Gugliociello and Matthew Hall.)



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India Beckons Foreign Artists ‘Home’

India Beckons Foreign Artists ‘Home’

CHENNAI—India has always held a certain mystique for people from Western countries. While for many the fascination may be fleeting, for a few performing artists who have made India their home, it is now an enduring affair.

Here are some of their stories:

Marie Elangovan

Marie Elangovan, who is French-Canadian, was a student of religious studies in Montreal when she stumbled upon a Bharatnatyam video at her university library. That was when she decided to learn the art form in the place of its birth, the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India.

“The performer in the video, clad in a red sari, dancing in the backdrop of a temple, left me spellbound,” said Elangovan. “I fell in love with the art form.”

Unable to find a full-time teacher in Montreal, she realized that she had to come to India if she wanted to learn the dance.

“I felt at home in India right from the beginning,” said Elangovan. “I had to make some adjustments, but they added color to my life.”

Some of the adjustments she made included not sitting in parks by herself, and meeting but not greeting strangers like she would in Canada. However, it was all worth it, she said, because she got to learn Bharatanatyam — which is what drew her to India in the first place.

Elangovan ended up marrying Elangovan Govindarajan, the son of her Bharatanatyam teacher, K. J. Govindarajan, further enhancing her assimilation into her adopted culture.

Sharon Lowen

Sharon Lowen, a U.S. citizen from Detroit, came to India in 1973 on a Fulbright scholarship to study Manipuri dance, a classical form from northeast India, under the tutelage of Guru Singhajit Singh.  She also learned Odissi, a dance form from the eastern state of Odisha, from guru Kelucharan Mohapatra.

“Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra said I learned faster than anybody else,” she said.

Lowen settled down in India in the 1980s, though she maintains close ties with the United States and will be voting in the upcoming elections there.

Lowen said that it has been easy for her to thrive in India because she is accepted as a performer in a country where a classical dancer has to be exceptional to pass muster.

“I decided to stay on in India because here I was doing something worthwhile,” she said. “ I was learning about Indian languages and creating good work.”

While Lowen did not know any Indian language when she  arrived, she did not let that hinder her growth. She would ask people to translate poetry for her and then read more about [the poets] to understand the nuances of their work.

Sonali Mishra

Sonali Mishra poses for a photo in Bhubaneshwar, India in August 2019. (Courtesy: Srikant Panda)

Odissi dancer Sonali Mishra is of Indian ancestry, but she was born and raised in the United States. She moved to India permanently in 2011 after marrying into an Indian family.

Her decision was also triggered by her love for India and her comfort level with its culture. Mishra had visited India often to learn Odissi, before she got married.

“I moved here because I got married, but dance made it easier to take that decision because I was familiar with the culture and context of life here,” said Mishra.

She said that since she married into an Odiya family, she is no longer considered a foreigner in the eyes of the people in her dance class. But that comes with added responsibilities, she said..

“The label of a foreigner or American ceased to exist,” said Mishra. “As a dancer, I had to work harder to raise my standard to that of the level of dancers in India.”

Just like Lowen, Mishra feels at home in India as well as in the United States.

Christopher Guruswamy

Christopher Guruswamy, a Chennai-based Bharatnatyam dancer who grew up in Australia, said that he did not think he would end up living  in Chennai after his training at the premier dance institute—Kalakshetra—ended.

“I came to India only to go to Kalakshetra; I did not plan to stay on after that,” said Guruswamy.

However, a chat he had with the then director of Kalakshetra , Leela Samson, an accomplished Bharatnatyam dancer, led to his decision to stay in Chennai.

“Leela Akka (sister) asked me what I would do in Perth,” said Guruswamy. “She felt I was a good dancer and should pursue it seriously so I extended my stay for a year.”

Guruswamy has now been in Chennai for 15 years.

“I like how Chennai is quieter than other cities,” he said. “When I go to places like Mumbai, I realize how much of a Chennai boy I am.”

Zophia Lichota

Zophia Lichota poses for a photo in New Delhi, India in June 2016. (Courtesy: Joginder Dogra)

While some dancers have stayed permanently in India, others with work commitments have had to leave and then come back whenever they could. Zophia Lichota is one.

Based in Poland, Lichota has been coming to India on a scholarship from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. She felt that if she wanted to train seriously, she had to come to India.

“Indian art forms aren’t taught in Europe the way they are in India,” she said.

After coming to India, she started training in Odissi and Kuchipudi. Earlier, she worked from her home in India so that she could keep up employment and still learn a new dance.

An analyst with a global auditing firm, Lichota plans to take a sabbatical so that she can spend more time in India learning Odissi and Kuchipudi.

“I will use my sabbatical to learn and perform in India,” she said.

(Edited by Siddharthya Roy and Judy Isacoff.)



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