Paris, Nov 11 (AP/UNB) — World leaders with the power to make war but a duty to preserve the peace gathered by the dozens Sunday to mark the end of World War I's slaughter 100 years ago, turning Paris in the epicenter of global commemorations that drove home a powerful message: never again.
Over 60 heads of state and government were taking part in a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the mute and powerful symbol of sacrifice to the millions who died from 1914-18.
The Paris weather — grey and damp — seemed aptly fitting when remembering a war fought in mud and relentless horror.
The commemorations started late, overshooting the centenary of the exact moment when, 100 years earlier at 11 a.m., the eerie silence of peace replaced the thunder of guns on the Western France. As bells marking the armistice hour started ringing out across Paris and in many nations hit by the four years of slaughter, French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders were still on their way to the centennial site at the Arc de Triomphe.
Under a sea of black umbrellas, a line of leaders led by Macron and his wife, Brigitte, marched in a stony silence on the cobbles of the Champs-Elysees, after dismounting from their buses.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrived separately, in a motorcade that drove past two topless protesters with anti-war slogans on their chests who somehow got through the rows of security and were quickly bundled away by police. The Femen group claimed responsibility.
Last to arrive was Russian President Vladimir Putin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was positioned in pride of place between Trump and Macron, a powerful symbol of victors and vanquished now standing together, shoulder to shoulder. Overhead, fighter jets ripped through the sky, trailing red, white and blue smoke.
The geographical spread of the leaders in attendance showed how the "war to end all wars" left few corners of the earth untouched but which, little more than two decades later, was followed so quickly and catastrophically by the even deadlier World War II.
On the other side of the globe, Australia and New Zealand held ceremonies to recall how the war killed and wounded soldiers and civilians in unprecedented numbers and in gruesome new, mechanized ways.
Those countries lost tens of thousands of soldiers far away in Europe and, most memorably in the brutal 1915 battle of Gallipoli, in Turkey.
In Paris, the jewel that Germany sought to capture in 1914 but which the Allies fought successfully to defend, the armistice commemorations were being followed by the afternoon opening of a peace forum pushed by the host, French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump will be the most notable absentee at the forum, where Macron's defense of multilateralism will take center stage. Trump lives by an "America First" credo, and plans to visit the American cemetery at Suresnes on the outskirts of Paris before heading home.
On Saturday, he was criticized for canceling a visit to the Belleau Wood battleground northeast of Paris because of rain.
In the four years of fighting, remembered for brutal trench warfare and the first use of gas, France, the British empire, Russia and the United States had the main armies opposing a German-led coalition that also included the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. Almost 10 million soldiers died, sometimes tens of thousands on a single day.
The United States came late to the war, in April 1917, but over 1½ years it became a key player in the conflict and tipped the scales for the allies. When the war ended on Nov. 11, 1918, the U.S. armed forces was on the cusp of becoming the major military power in the world.
Even though Germany was at the heart of provoking two world wars over the past century, the nation has become a beacon of European and international cooperation since.
On Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the head of the United Nations, born from the ashes of World War II, and the president of Serbia. It was a Serb teenager, Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated the Austro-Hungarian crown prince in Sarajevo in 1914 to set off events which led to the outbreak of war.
New Delhi, Nov 11 (Xinhu/UNB)- As many as 31 persons have reportedly been infected with Zika virus in India's central state of Madhya Pradesh, local media reported Sunday.
Although some media reported that two persons died due to Zika virus, state health department officials stated that the cause of these deaths has yet to be confirmed.
State's leading newspaper "The Hitavada" quoted Director of State Vector Borne Disease Control Department Dr Himanshu Jaiswar as saying that health officers have collected 200 samples of suspecting Zika virus infected patients.
"Samples were sent to Viral Research and Diagnostic Lab (VRDL) of AIIMS Bhopal. VRDL confirmed 31 patients suffering from Zika virus infection," he said, adding that out of 31 patients, seven are from state capital Bhopal, 12 from Sehore and 12 from Vidisha cities.
According to Jaiswar, the Health Department has also sent these samples to National Institute of Virology Pune to be further confirmed.
Meanwhile, in the wake of rising cases of Zika virus and other vector-borne diseases, Health Department and Bhopal Municipal Corporation is taking joint preventive measures. They are conducting awareness programmes and fogging at counter in parts of Bhopal.
Turkey, Nov 11 (AP/UNB) — Officials from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Germany, France and Britain have listened to audio recordings related to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey's president said Saturday, in the first public acknowledgement of the existence of tapes of the slaying.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also told reporters that Saudi Arabia had to "act fairly" and disclose those responsible for the Oct. 2 killing of The Washington Post journalist to rid itself of "suspicion."
"We gave them the tapes. We gave them to Saudi Arabia, to America, to the Germans, the French, to the British, to all of them," Erdogan said before departing for Paris to attend ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
"They (Saudi officials) also listened to the conversations and they know. There is no need to distort this. They know for certain who among the 15 is the killer or are the killers," he said.
He was referring to an alleged 15-member assassination squad that Turkey believes was sent to kill Khashoggi at the consulate where he had arrived to obtain papers to marry his Turkish fiancee.
CIA Director Gina Haspel, who visited Turkey last month for information on the investigation, is reported to have heard the audio recordings of the killing. The existence of the recordings was leaked to the media but never openly confirmed until now.
Turkey says Khashoggi, who was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was strangled and dismembered at the consulate as part of a premeditated killing. Media reports have suggested that his body could have been chemically dissolved.
Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 suspects who have been detained in Saudi Arabia, so they can be put on trial in Turkey. They include the 15 members of the alleged assassination squad.
Saudi Arabia had insisted for weeks after Khashoggi disappeared that he had walked out of the consulate, before changing its account to say he died in a brawl.
Last month, Saudi Arabia acknowledged that Turkish evidence indicates that Khashoggi's killing was premeditated, shifting its explanation in an apparent effort to ease international outrage over the death.
Saudi officials characterize the killing as a rogue operation carried out by Saudi agents who exceeded their authority. Yet some of those implicated in the killing are close to the crown prince, including a member of the prince's entourage on foreign trips who was seen at the consulate before Khashoggi's slaying.
Erdogan accused Saudi Arabia's chief prosecutor, who was sent to Istanbul last month as part of a joint probe, of employing "delaying tactics."
"Saudi Arabia needs to accept that (the killer) is among the 18 and needs to get rid of the suspicion by responding to Turkey's good will and acting fairly," Erdogan said.
Paris, Nov 11 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump canceled a planned visit Saturday to a cemetery for Americans killed in World War I, the White House citing bad weather that grounded his helicopter.
Trump had been scheduled to lay a wreath and observe a moment of silence at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, located adjacent to Belleau Wood and about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northeast of Paris.
Instead, Trump spent much of the day following a meeting and lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron at the U.S. ambassador's residence, where he was staying during events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Attending in Trump's place were the White House chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joe Dunford; and several members of the White House staff. The Battle of Belleau Wood was a critical conflict in the war and a pivotal encounter in Marine Corps history.
The Secret Service determines when it's safe to fly Marine One, the president's helicopter. Paris was covered in clouds with drizzling rain through most of Saturday.
Trump was scheduled to join dozens of world leaders Sunday at a ceremony in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe marking Armistice Day. He was to deliver remarks at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial, located five miles west of Paris, before returning to Washington.
The cancellation of Saturday's visit drew criticism from those who say the president should have found a way to travel to Aisne-Marne regardless of the weather.
Ben Rhodes, who was deputy national security adviser for President Barack Obama, accused Trump of "blowing off honoring American servicemen who died for us" and said the White House should have had a fallback option.
Savannah, Nov 11(AP/UNB) — The cause of a military plane crash that left nine people dead outside Savannah, Georgia, was pilot error, according to a report by the U.S. Air Force Accident Investigation Board.
Nine airmen from the Puerto Rico National Guard died May 2 when the plane plunged onto Georgia Highway 21 shortly after takeoff from the Savannah airport.
"The purpose of the investigation was to identify the cause and contributing factors that led to this tragic and unfortunate incident," said Accident Investigation Board team leader Brig. Gen. John C. Millard. "By conducting a thorough review and investigation, we hope to provide answers to the families of brave Airmen that lost their lives and prevent future occurrences and tragedies."
Millard's team spent close to a month reviewing an array of evidence including interviews, logs, video, briefing materials, and inspection of aircraft wreckage before assembling a detailed sequence of events surrounding the crash.
According to the report, the left outermost engine experienced problems and investigators found that the crew's mismanagement of the malfunction deviated from standard procedures. Failure to follow those procedures made further action by the pilot result in loss of control of the aircraft, causing it to crash.
The plane was assigned to a crew from the 156th Airlift Wing in Muniz Air Base from Puerto Rico. Their mission was to deliver the C-130 plane from Savannah to an Air Force base in Arizona commonly referred to as the "Boneyard", where it would be decommissioned.
The pilot of the plane was previously identified as Maj. Jose R. Roman Rosado, of Manati, Puerto Rico.
All nine crew members had helped with hurricane recovery efforts as part of the 198th Fighter Squadron, nicknamed the Bucaneros, which flies out of Base Muniz in the northern coastal city of Carolina, said Adjutant Gen. Isabelo Rivera, commander of the Puerto Rico National Guard. The squadron used the plane to rescue Americans from the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma, and later supplied food and water to Puerto Ricans desperate for help after Hurricane Maria.