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8 killed in New York terror attack: What we know about the victims

A driver in a rented pickup truck plowed into pedestrians and bicyclists on a path in New York City on Tuesday, killing eight people and injuring 12 others.

>> Read more trending news

Police said the suspect in the case, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, was shot in the abdomen by a police officer after the truck collided with a school bus. Saipov, who came to the United States from Uzbekistan in 2010, carried out the attack in ISIS’s name, police said Wednesday.

>> Related: Who is Sayfullo Saipov, New York City terror attack suspect? 

Investigators said 20 people were injured in the attack, six of which were pronounced dead at the scene. Two other people died at hospital, according to authorities.

Here’s what we know about the victims:

Cab mounts pavement, crashes in London

A taxicab crashed into a sidewalk in London on Wednesday, scattering pedestrians and causing chaos one day after a man plowed a pickup truck into people on a bicycle path in New York City, according to witnesses.

>> Read more trending news

Police said that the accident did not appear to be terror related.

Video posted on social media from the scene in Covent Garden showed multiple police cars in the area following the crash.

Trump tears into Russia 'dossier,' Hillary Clinton and Uranium One in Twitter spree

President Donald Trump began his Sunday by laying into his political enemies.

>> Reports: First charges filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller

On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted about the now-infamous “dossier” prepared by intel group Fusion GPS.

Recently, reports revealed the Clinton campaign was one of the major backers of the dossier.

>> Trump ally Roger Stone suspended from Twitter after profanity-laden rant

Trump also tweeted about the “Uranium Deal" – a reference to reportedly unfounded allegations that Hillary Clinton allowed the sale of uranium to Russian energy agency Rosatom in exchange for a $145 million donation to the Clinton Foundation – as well as Clinton’s email scandal. Fact-checking sites such as Snopes and FactCheck.org have disputed those claims.

>> Read more trending news

“There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out,” Trump tweeted. “DO SOMETHING!”

Although the tweets came just days after reports that a grand jury approved the first charges filed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, White House lawyer Ty Cobb told NBC News that Trump's tweets were not "a reaction to anything involving the special counsel, with whom the White House continues to cooperate."

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

US service member killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash

A U.S. service member was killed and six crew members were injured when a helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, CNN reported Saturday.

>> Read more trending news

The helicopter crashed in the Logar province of Afghanistan on Friday evening, CNN reported, citing a statement from the NATO-led coalition in that country, Operation Resolute Support.

The Logar province is just south of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.

According to the statement, the crash did not occur because of enemy action.

"We have full accountability of all personnel and the crash site has been secured," the statement said.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our comrade," said Army Gen. John Nicholson, Resolute Support commander.

"On behalf of all of Resolute Support, our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of our fallen comrade and those injured in this unfortunate event."

US defense secretary Mattis visits Korean DMZ

Standing just a few yards away from North Korea, Defense Secretary James Mattis on Friday criticized the country’s “reckless behavior,” adding that the United States and South Korea were committed to a “diplomatic solution,” CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Mattis spoke during a visit to the demilitarized zone that divides the two Korean nations As he spoke with his back to North Korea, Mattis said the goal of the United States is not war but rather “the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

"North Korean provocations continue to threaten regional and world peace and despite unanimous condemnation by the United Nations' Security Council they still proceed," Mattis said.

Mattis’ trip to South Korea comes a week before President Donald Trump’s visit to Asia next week, CNN reported. The defense secretary spoke to troops at the Yongsan garrison after his visit to the DMZ.

“Ultimately our diplomats have to be backed up by strong soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines,” he said. “So they speak from a position of strength, of combined strength, of alliance strength. Shoulder to shoulder, (South Korea) and the U.S. together.

“You just keep working together and show the world we can do it and we'll buy time for our diplomats to solve this problem, OK?”

10-year-old immigrant with cerebral palsy detained after emergency surgery now with her family

UPDATE Nov. 3: The Associated Press reported Friday that the ACLU has said authorities released the 10-year-old girl to family. 

Original story, Oct. 26:

A 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who came to the United States from Mexico illegally when she was an infant was detained by Border Patrol agents after undergoing emergency gall bladder surgery in Texas, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Leticia Gonzalez, an attorney for Rosa Maria Hernandez, told The Associated Press that the girl has “difficulty understanding exactly what’s taking place” and is closer in development to a child who’s 4 or 5 years old.

Rosa Maria was intercepted Tuesday morning by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents while she and her cousin, a U.S. citizen, were being taken by ambulance from Laredo to Corpus Christi, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Rosa Maria was traveling to get emergency surgery and, on the way, she passed through an immigration checkpoint in Freer, the newspaper reported.

Family members told the San Antonio Express-News that Border Patrol agents told them Tuesday that Rosa Maria had to either go back to Mexico or face a lengthy detention process. 

Family members declined to take her to Mexico and authorities transferred her to a children’s shelter 150 miles away in San Antonio on Wednesday, according to the Express-News.

Gonzalez told the Caller-Times that she asked authorities to release Rosa Maria to family members who are U.S. citizens, but that they refused. She said doctors suggested in hospital discharge papers that Rosa Maria be released to family members post-surgery.

"At this point, our argument to (immigration officials) is there is a doctor's directive, why aren't you following it?" Gonzalez told the Caller-Times.

Rosa Maria’s mother, Felipa Delacruz, told the newspaper that federal agents waited outside her daughter’s hospital room while she was recovering. Delacruz does not have legal immigration status and is in Laredo, the Caller-Times reported.

In a statement released to The Associated Press, Customs and Border Protection officials stood by their decision to detain Rosa Maria, saying that agents were “committed to enforcing the immigration laws of this nation.”

“Once medically cleared, she will be processed accordingly,” the statement said.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, blamed the Trump administration for adopting “callous policies” toward immigrants.

“They’re treating her like a hardened convict,” Castro said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Pope Francis makes holy call to space station, gets philosophical with astronauts

In a live streamed video call into the heavens Thursday, Pope Francis connected with astronauts aboard the International Space Agency and jumped right into the big question: What is our place in the universe?

>> Read more trending news

Francis, the first pope to call the space station and second to speak to astronauts orbiting the earth via video call, conversed with Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency, Russian cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Sergey Ryazanskiy and NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik, Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba.

During his 23-minute call from the Vatican Library in Rome, Italy, the pope spoke in Italian and Nespoli translated for his fellow crew members.

“Your little glass palace in totality is greater than the sum of its parts, and this is the example that you give us,” Francis said through a translator.

He asked Nespoli, “What are your thoughts regarding the place of man in the universe?" 

“Holy Father, this is a complex question," Nespoli replied in Italian as NASA TV displayed an English translation for viewers. “When we speak of these much more internal questions of where we come from, I remain rather perplexed. I think that our objective here is that of knowing our being and to fill our knowledge to understand what's around us. But on the other hand, an interesting thing is that the more we know, the more we realize how little we know.”

Francis also asked why they became astronauts and what they love about spending time at the ISS.

Ryazanskiy told the pope he was honored to continue his family’s legacy. Ryazanskiy’s grandfather had worked on the launch of the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik, which launched in 1957.

Francis, who has long exalted the role of grandparents, marveled at his response. “That's our strength: Never forget roots. It does me good to hear this! Thank you,” he said.

Bresnik described the overwhelming joy of looking outside and seeing “God’s creation from his perspective.”

“As we see the peace and serenity of our planet … there's no borders, no conflict. It's just peaceful,” Breskin said. “We hope that an example of what we can achieve together [in space] sets an example for the rest of the world.”

Pope Francis’ conversation with the astronauts, particularly Russian cosmonauts Misurkin and Ryazanskiy, also marked a small step toward softening Vatican-Russian relations.

When he asked the astronauts what they thought about Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s verse that love is the force that moves the universe, Misurkin said he had been listening to the audiobook of Antoine de St. Exupery’s “The Little Prince” and was moved by the young boy’s understanding of love.

“Love is the force that gives you strength to give your life for someone else,” he told the pope.

Francis, overjoyed by Misurkin’s response, said, “It's clear you have understood the message that St. Exupery so poetically explained, and that you Russians have in your blood, in your humanistic and religious tradition.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Russian helicopter carrying 8 crashes near Norway's Svalbard archipelago

A Russian helicopter with eight people on board went down Thursday in the sea off the coast of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, according to officials.

>> Read more trending news

Norwegian search and rescue officials said the helicopter was flying from Pyramiden to Barentsburg when it was reported missing around 3:35 p.m. local time Thursday. It was confirmed down 10 minutes later.

Immigrant in federal custody in Texas has abortion

A teenage immigrant at the center of a legal fight over her choice to have an abortion was released from federal custody under a court order and had the procedure Wednesday morning, her lawyers announced.

>> Read more trending news

Identified in court documents as Jane Doe, the Central American teenager also issued a statement through her lawyers that criticized federal officials for putting her through a month-long legal fight to get the abortion.

“They made me see a doctor that tried to convince me not to abort and to look at sonograms,” the 17-year-old said. “People I don’t even know are trying to make me change my mind. I made my decision and that is between me and God. Through all of this, I have never changed my mind.

“No one should be shamed for making the right decision for themselves. I would not tell any other girl in my situation what they should do. That decision is hers and hers alone,” she said.

>> Related: Appeals court clears way for immigrant teen's abortion

Doe’s lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union vowed to continue fighting the federal policy that had blocked Doe from getting an abortion for more than a month. Under a policy adopted in March, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees minors detained after illegally crossing the border without a parent, does not allow those teens to leave custody to have an abortion.

“Justice prevailed today for Jane Doe. But make no mistake about it, the administration’s efforts to interfere in women’s decisions won’t stop with Jane,” ACLU lawyer Brigitte Amiri said. “With this case we have seen the astounding lengths this administration will go to block women from abortion care. We will not stop fighting until we have justice for every woman like Jane.”

>> See the latest from the Austin American-Statesman

The Trump administration argued that it had a legitimate interest in promoting childbirth over abortion. Doe’s lawyers said the government’s actions placed an improper obstacle to a constitutionally protected procedure.

Last week, a federal district judge in Washington, D.C., ordered officials to let Doe leave her government-funded shelter in Texas for the abortion.

Administration lawyers appealed, and a three-judge panel blocked the order and gave federal officials until Oct. 31 to find an adult sponsor to take custody of Doe, which could have allowed her to get an abortion without requiring federal officials to violate administration rules against taking action to “facilitate” an abortion.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overruled the panel Tuesday, clearing the way for Doe’s abortion.

Who are the Rohingya Muslims? 7 things to know about the 'world’s most persecuted minority'

Updated Oct. 23, 2017

More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled a brutal military crackdown in the Buddhist majority country of Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship and reportedly face an array of human rights abuses, to seek refuge in Bangladesh.

>> Read more trending news

But many other Rohingya refugees have been turned away, leaving thousands stranded at sea.

Almost 40 percent of all Rohingya villages were empty last month, a Myanmar government spokesperson confirmed.

Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein, the United Nations human rights chief, has called what's happening to Rohingya in Myanmar “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

A report published by global rights group Amnesty International detailed evidence of mass killings, torture, rape and forcible transfers of the Rohingya,  Al-Jazeera reported.

Who are the Rohingya and where do they live?

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic group living primarily in the Buddhist nation of Myanmar (or Burma). There are approximately 1.1 million Rohingya living in the country.

According to Al Jazeera, the Rohingya have been described as the “world’s most persecuted minority,” and have faced systematic persecution since Myanmar’s independence in the late 1940s.

Most Rohingya in Myanmar reside in the Rakhine State on the country’s western coast.

Rakhine State is regarded as one of the country’s poorest areas and lacks basic services in education and health care.

The Rohingya’s history in Myanmar

According to historians, the group has been residing in Arakan (now Rakhine State) since as early as the 12th century, Al Jazeera reported.

When the British ruled between 1824 and 1948, they administered Myanmar as a province of India and, thus, any migration of laborers between Myanmar and other South Asian countries (like Bangladesh) was considered internal. The majority of the native Myanmar population did not like that.

After gaining independence in 1948, the Burmese government still frowned upon any migration that occurred during the period of British rule, claiming it all to be illegal.

In fact, many Buddhists in Myanmar consider the Ronhingya to be Bengali, or people from Bangladesh.

The discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law officially prevented them from obtaining citizenship.

And according to a Human Rights Watch report from 2000, this is the basis the Myanmar government uses to deny Rohingya citizenship in the country.

Over the years, military crackdowns on the Rohingya have forced hundreds of thousands to escape.

According to the HRW report, Rohingya refugees reported that the Burmese army had forcibly evicted them. Many also alleged widespread army brutality, rape and murder.

Between 1991 and 1992, more than 250,000 Rohingya refugees fled to southeastern Bangladesh. But with the influx of refugees, the Bangladeshi government insisted the refugees return to Arakan (Rakhine State).

By 1997, according to the HRW report, some 230,000 refugees returned.

That same year, the Burmese government said it would not accept any more returning refugees after Aug. 15, 1997, leading to a series of disturbances in Bangladeshi refugee camps.

The Human Rights Watch has called the crisis a deadly game of “human ping-pong.”

What’s happening to the Rohingya now?

Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority country, continues to deny the Rohingya citizenship, freedom to travel, access to education and the group still faces harsh systematic persecution.

In October 2016, the Burmese government blamed members of the Rohingya for the killings of nine border police, leading to a crackdown on Rakhine State villages in which troops were accused of rape, extrajudicial killing and other human rights abuses — all allegations they denied.

Satellite images have also shown Rohingya villages burning — at least 288 villages so far.

And most recently in August, violence erupted after a Rohingya armed rebel group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvatian Army (ARSA) attacked police posts and an army base in Rakhine, Al Jazeera reported.

ARSA has reportedly killed a dozen Burmese security personnel in the past. And according to the Washington Post, it’s unclear how much support the rebel group, which seeks an autonomous Muslim state for the Rohingya, actually has among the Rohingya.

Following the August event, civilians began paying the price for ARSA’s small insurgency as Burma’s military launched a “clearance operation,” which U.N. commisioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” the Washington Post reported.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh to escape the aforementioned allegations of human rights abuses such as rape, murder and arson, according to the United Nations.

Women, children and the elderly made up the bulk of that group.

Approximately 40,000 have also settled in India and 16,000 of which have obtained official refugee documentation.

But severe flooding in Bangladesh and India have made conditions in refugee camps even worse and according to National Geographic, there have been reports of cholera outbreaks, water shortages and malnutrition.

Over the past three years, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have tried to escape by boat to neighboring countries that refuse to let them in.

Approximately 8,000 migrants have been stranded at sea.

Why won’t other countries take them in?

Many of Myanmar’s neighboring countries, including Bangladesh and Thailand, refuse to take them in.

The Thai navy has actually turned them away.

Lex Rieffel, an expert on Southeast Asia at the Brookings Institution, told NPR in 2015 that the Buddhist-majority nation of Thailand has been battling an Islamist insurgency for decades and has "no stomach" for bringing in more Muslims.

“Where will the budget come from? That money will need to come from Thai people's taxes, right?” Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters in 2015.

Malaysia and Indonesia, despite being Muslim-majority nations, have also prevented Rohingya from entering their countries, citing “social unrest.” And Indonesia worries about “an uncontrolled influx.”

“What do you expect us to do?” Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Jafaar told The Guardian in 2015. “We have been very nice to the people who broke into our border. We have treated them humanely, but they cannot be flooding our shores like this.”

What is Aung San Suu Kyi saying?

The crisis has drawn worldwide criticism of Myanmar's government and its leader, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi

Most human rights activists have denounced Suu Kyi for not publicly condemning the Myanmar military’s treatment of the Rohingya.

According to the BBC, Suu Kyi said “a huge iceberg of misinformation” was distorting the crisis.

“We know very well, more than most, what it means to be deprived of human rights and democratic protection,” she is quoted as saying to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a recent statement. “So, we make sure that all the people in our country are entitled to protection of their rights as well as ... not just political but social and humanitarian defence.”

But the misinformation or “fake news” is possibly generated by the Burmese government’s decision to deny media access to its troubled areas, BBC’s Tn Htar Swe said.

"If they allowed the UN or human rights bodies to go to the place to find out what is happening then ... misinformation is not going to take place.”

Condemnation of Suu Kyi’s inaction and response have led to calls for the rescindment of her Nobel Peace Prize, which she won in 1991 as a result of her long fight for democracy in Burma. According to the Washington Post, the Nobel Committee said that will not happen.

How is the world reacting to the Rohingya crisis?

Bangladesh, which is facing the largest influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar, has called on the international community to intervene.

International aid to much of Myanmar’s Rakhine State have been suspended, leaving more than 250,000 Rohingya Muslims without medical care, food and other vital humanitarian assistance, the Human Rights Watch reported last month.

“The United Nations, ASEAN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation need to ramp up the pressure on Burma, and provide more assistance to Bangladesh, to promptly help Rohingya and other displaced people,” said Philippe Bolopion, deputy diretor for global advocacy at Human Rights Watch.

The U.S. State Department also announced plans last month to dispense about $32 million in humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya ethnic minority facing persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

“Through this support, the United States will help provide emergency shelter, food security, nutritional assistance, health assistance, psychosocial support, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihoods, social inclusion, non-food items, disaster and crisis risk reduction, restoring family links, and protection to over 400,000 displaced persons in Burma and in Bangladesh,” according to the press release.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the world's largest Muslim body, also issued a statement urging Muslim countries to work together to help the Rohingya refugees.

Earlier this year, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved an investigative mission, but was denied entry into Myanmar in June. And when an envoy entered in July, the visit was met with protests.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council condemned the violence, its first unified statement on Myanmar in nine years, the New York Times reported.

But, according to the New York Times, the U.N. is unlikely to act against Myanmar.

China also blocked Egypt’s efforts to add language for Rohingya refugees to be guaranteed the right to return to Myanmar from Bangladesh.

Both China and Russie hold veto power in the U.N. Security Council and can block efforts to sanction Myanmar.

More at NYTimes.com

Who is helping the Rohingya?

Aid groups continue efforts to reach Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and send aid to refugee camps.

The United Nations has pledged roughly $340 million and according to Mark Lowcock of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the U.N. and its partners are seeking $434 million to help the Rohingya Muslims through February.

According to the Indian Express, India sent an aircraft with the first shipment of humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslim refugees last month.

Bangladeshi citizens themselves are also among those providing aid and shelter to the many starving Rohingya refugees in their country.

Jordan’s queen, Queen Rania, said last week after visiting a refugee camp in Bangladesh that she was shocked by the refugees’ limited access to basic support and health care, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

“It is unforgivable that this crisis is unfolding, largely ignored by the international community," she said. "The world response has been muted. I urge the U.N. and the international community to do more to ensure we can bring peace to this conflict.”

According to the Human Rights Watch, the Tatmadaw True News Information Team announced a military-led investigation of security forces in the Rakhine State.

“We want to go home and we want peace. But I believe the world is watching our crisis and that they are trying to help us,” Rahimol Mustafa, a 22-year-old Rohingya Muslim told Al Jazeera in an interview.

Read Mustafa’s story on AlJazeera.com   

Mustafa fled Rakhine State a few weeks ago and is currently safe at a refugee camp in Bangladesh, but with “no shelter and no future.”

Donate to help the Rohingya Muslims at donate.unhcr.org

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