United States – California wildfires deadliest in history as toll climbs to 31 and 228 reported missing

There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!

Abandoned cars, scorched by the wildfire, line Pearson Rd in Paradise. Photo / AP

What we know so far:

  • At least 31 people have been killed
  • More than 6,700 structures destroyed
  • 3,000 firefighters are battling the blazes
  • 228 people are reported  missing
  • Among casualties are 6 firefighters

READ RELATED: What we know about California wildfires: 31 deaths, more than 6,700 structures destroyed

As relatives desperately searched shelters for missing loved ones today, crews searching the smoking ruins of Paradise and outlying areas found six more bodies, raising the death toll to 29, matching the deadliest wildfire in state history.

The burned remains of a vehicle and home are seen during the Camp fire in Paradise
The burned remains of a vehicle and home are seen during the Camp fire in Paradise Photo: AFP

Wildfires continued to rage on both ends of the state, with gusty winds expected overnight which will challenge firefighters.

The statewide death toll stood at 31 and appeared certain to rise.

Massive out-of-control wildfires are ripping through California, causing insurmountable destruction and the evacuation of thousands on both ends of the state.

On Saturday, firefighters hoped that a brief lull in howling winds would give them a chance to block, or at least slow, one of two massive wildfires that have killed at least 23 people and caused the evacuations of hundreds of thousands.

Here is how people can help;

California Volunteers: The state-run office manages programs and initiatives helping to increase public service in California. The group has activated for the disasters and has ways for you to help out, whether it be financially, volunteering or with donated goods,  in each of the fires.

American Red CrossThe American Red Cross is helping those in northern and southern California with finding shelter and providing assistance. The organization has listed ways for you to help. If you would like to make a $10 donation, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999.

CCF Wildfire Relief FundThe organization helps provide intermediate and long-term recovery efforts for major California wildfires and has local initiatives to help out those affected by the blaze.

UNITED STATES – Will Smith flees home as wildfires rage in California

Hollywood Stars Will Smith, Kim Kardashian West, and Caitlyn Jenner flee homes as wildfires rage in California

PICS: PA
PICS: PA

The Hollywood star has been sharing updates about the blaze, which has prompted celebrities including Kim Kardashian West and Caitlyn Jenner to evacuate their properties.

Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith
David Livingston/Getty Images

In a post on his Instagram stories, Smith said: “The smoke is really close now and for the first time I can see the fire.

READ RELATED: Will Smith and More Stars’ Homes Threatened by Southern California Wildfires

“Our house is right there. We are not in the evacuation zone but I don’t like it so we are going to go.”

He has previously said his daughter Willow, 18, was feeling frightened by the proximity of the fire.

Jenner has marked herself as safe amid the fires, but revealed the fate of her home is “up in the air”.

It was reported Jenner’s Malibu home had been destroyed. The TV personality, 69, shared a video to Instagram to tell fans she was safe, but still does not know what has happened to her house.

Sitting alongside her friend Sophia Hutchins, she said: “Well, we’re safe, at a safe house. Don’t know if the house made it or not. It’s still up in the air. But we’re safe and sound.”

Hutchins, 22, added: “We’re safe, that’s all that matters.”

Kardashian West earlier revealed the flames had stopped near her home in the Hidden Hills, north west of Los Angeles.

She has since shared a picture of herself kissing her seven-month-old niece True, the daughter of Khloe Kardashian.

The picture was captioned: “Trying to get my mind off of this fire and snuggling with my niece. We are all safe and that’s all that matters.”

Actor Charlie Sheen raise the alarm when he said he had been unable to contact his Hollywood star father Martin Sheen and mother Janet.

He wrote on Twitter: “I cannot get ahold of my parents, Martin and Janet Sheen. they are in the group, at the staging ground near Zuma Beach.

“if anyone has eyes on them, please let me know that they are safe and sound in the middle of this horrific scenario.”

The West Wing star later confirmed to Fox11 Los Angeles news that he and his family were “just fine”, adding: “Emilio, Ramone, Renee, Charlie, we’re fine.

“We’re at Zuma Beach. We’re probably going to sleep in the car tonight. We’re just fine and hope you guys are, too.”

SAUDI JOURNALIST JAMAL Khashoggi murder turns focus on violence against journalists across the globe

Friday, 2 November 2018 marks the United Nations’ International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, chosen to commemorate the murder of two French journalists in Mali on November 2, 2013.

#TruthNeverDies

Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul on October 2.
Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul on October 2.

|Jack Guy, CNN|AIWA! NO!|Recent killings of well-known journalists have shone a light on increasing concerns over press freedom around the world.

The question of impunity for crimes against journalists became more prominent following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. The Turkish chief prosecutor’s office said Wednesday that the Washington Post columnist and moderate critic of the Saudi regime was killed as soon as he entered the consulate October 2.
His murder follows on from the killing of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in a car bomb in October 2017.
Caruana Galizia had been involved in the Panama Papers investigation into offfshore wealth and was looking into alleged corruption in Maltese politics at the time of her death.
Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in October 2017

Her sons, Matthew and Andrew Caruana Galizia, have led the campaign to find out who was responsible for the their mother’s murder and frequently speak out on the issue of press freedom.
“You cannot expect justice from a tyrant,” wrote Matthew Caruana Galizia in a Twitter post. “Jamal Khashoggi’s family and fiancée depend entirely on the international community. I know because so do we.”
“These last weeks have demonstrated once again the toxic nature and outsized reach of political incitement against journalists, and we demand that it stop,” the UN said.
You can read more about journalists who have been killed for doing their job using #TruthNeverDies

US – Pittsburgh; Married Couple And Brothers Among 11 Synagogue Fatal Shooting

Married couple and brothers among Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims

An FBI agent outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh.
Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
|AIWA! NO!|Officials released the names of all 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shootingduring a news conference Sunday, all of them middle-aged or elderly.
Among the eight men and three women killed were a married couple, Bernice and Sylvan Simon, and two brothers, Cecil and David Rosenthal. David Rosenthal was the youngest at 54, while he eldest was 97-year-old Rose Mallinger.

The dead also included Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Jerry Rabinowitz, Daniel Stein, Irving Younger and Melvin Wax. Fellow members of the New Light Congregation say Wax was a pillar of the congregation, filling many roles there. Friend Myron Snider says Wax, a man in his late 80s, was a retired accountant who was unfailingly generous.

People take part in a candlelit vigil in the Squirrel Hill neighbourhood of Pittsburgh.
Photograph: UPI/Barcroft Images

Mayor Bill Peduto called it the “darkest day of Pittsburgh’s history.”

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The victims were killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday during worship services when gunman Robert Gregory Bowers opened fire.

Bowers was armed with an AR-15 rifle and three handguns and used all four weapons in the attack.

A tactical team tracked Bowers down and shot him, police said in an affidavit.

The US is often thought to be the safest country in the world for Jews. The long shadow of the Holocaust still hangs over Europe, where antisemitism flourishes on the far right and parts of the far left. Jews in Israel are permanently on guard against attack.

In the great melting pot of the US, it was perhaps easier. In Squirrel Hills, the Pittsburgh neighbourhood that is home to the Tree of Life synagogue, local residents have spoken since Saturday’s shooting of harmonious relations between communities.

Last year, however, antisemitic and white supremacist stickers were found on car windscreens, park benches and playground slides. A 2017 study of the city’s Jewish community found that 63% of those in Squirrel Hill were “a little or somewhat” concerned about antisemitism, and 18% were “very much” concerned. Overall in Pittsburgh, 16% of Jews had directly experienced some form of antisemitism in the previous year.

Bowers was then arrested and treated for gunshot wounds at a hospital. While he was being treated for his injuries, Bowers told an officer, according to the police affidavit: “that he wanted all Jews to die and also that they (Jews) were committing genocide to his people”.

Bowers was charged late Saturday with 11 state counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation in what the leader of the Anti-Defamation League called the deadliest attack on Jews in US history. Bowers was also charged Saturday in a 29-count federal criminal complaint that included charges of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs — a federal hate crime — and using a firearm to commit murder.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the charges “could lead to the death penalty”.

Chancellor Hammond: “UK Needs Emergency Budget In Case of a No Deal Brexit”

UK would need new emergency budget in the event of a no deal Brexit, Chancellor Hammond warns

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, leaves 11 Downing Street, in central London, Britain March 21, 2018.
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, leaves 11 Downing Street, in central London, Britain March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville
  • Philip Hammond has admitted there would need to be a new Budget in the event of Britain crashing out of the European Union without a deal.
  • The chancellor said the Treasury would be unable to fulfil the prime minister’s commitment to end the era of austerity if negotiators failed to secure deal.
  • “We would need to look at a different strategy and, frankly, we’d need to have a new budget that set out a different strategy for the future,” Hammond told Sky News on Sunday.

|AIWA! NO!|Philip Hammond has admitted there would need to be a new Budget in the event of Britain crashing out of the European Union without a deal.

The chancellor revealed on the eve of the Budget the government would need to look at a “different approach” to the future of the UK’s economy if Theresa May fails to secure a deal with the bloc.

He also indicated the Treasury would be unable to fulfil the prime minister’s commitment to end the era of austerity if negotiators failed to secure deal.

Mr Hammond’s remarks were immediately seized upon by the Tory MP and prominent Eurosceptic, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who dubbed the Treasury the “last bastion of Remoanerism” and described the chancellor’s admission as a “punishment Budget.”

Pressed on whether the government would be able to end austerity without a Brexit deal, Mr Hammond replied: “If we were to leave the European Union without any deal – and I think that’s an extremely unlikely situation but of course we have to prepare and plan for all eventualities, as any prudent government would – if we were to find ourselves in that situation then we would need to take a different approach to the future of Britain’s economy.”

He added on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “We would need to look at a different strategy and, frankly, we’d need to have a new budget that set out a different strategy for the future.”

Asked if Britain would be worse-off after Brexit, regardless of whether there was a deal, Mr Hammond added: “Over my lifetime, people’s living standards have almost doubled and we want to go on seeing that growth in living standards so that we can make good on our promise to the next generation that they too will be better-off than their parents.”

The chancellor also hinted he would use his Commons statement on Monday to provide additional funding to smooth the transition to universal credit amid warnings low income families are being driven into debt.

“I’ve already put over £2 billion pounds into, over the last two Budgets, into smoothing that transition,” he said.

“We continue to look at how this process is working and if we find cliff edges and difficulties, frictions in the move from the old benefits system to universal credit then of course will always try to smooth those out and be pragmatic about it.”

Appearing after Mr Hammond on the same programme, his opposite number, John McDonnell, said he was “really shocked” by the chancellor’s interview, accusing him of having a “callous complacency about this week’s Budget, and the future”.

US Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Multiple Deaths In Shooting At Pittsburgh ‘Tree of Life’ Synagogue, Official Says

Multiple deaths in shooting at Pittsburgh synagogue, official says

The shooter surrendered to Pittsburgh police and was being transported to Mercy Hospital, said Curt Conrad, chief of staff for City Councilman Corey O’Connor.
Another law enforcement official told CNN at least 12 people have been shot.
Three police officers were shot, officials said earlier at an impromptu press conference. It’s unclear if they are part of those casualties. The shooter made anti-Jewish comments during the incident, a law enforcement official told CNN.
Police respond to the shooting Saturday at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Police respond to the shooting Saturday at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh police Cmdr. Jason Lando previously said there were “multiple casualties.” Officers were dispatched to the scene after receiving reports of active gunfire at the synagogue, he said.
“It is imperative that the neighbors in the community surrounding the Tree of Life synagogue stay in their houses and shelter in place,” Lando said. “Do not come out of your home right now. It is not safe.”
Fred Rabner, a member of the synagogue, said it was a “close-knit community,” and that everyone was calling around to make sure their loved ones are OK.
“Everyone is just shaken up and upset,” Rabner said. “It’s awful, it’s just awful.”

Shooting ‘more devastating than originally thought,’ Trump says

President Donald Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland that the shooting was a “terrible, terrible thing.”
“Events in Pittsburgh are far more devastating than originally thought,” Trump said in a tweet earlier. “Spoke with Mayor and Governor to inform them that the Federal Government has been, and will be, with them all the way.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said on Twitter that it was a “serious situation,” and the Pennsylvania State Police were helping local first responders. “This is an absolutely tragedy,” Wolf said in another tweet. “These senseless acts of violence are not who we are as Americans. My thoughts right now are focused on the victims, their families and making sure law enforcement has every resource they need.”
Special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are responding to the shooting, according to the ATF’s Philadelphia field office.

Security a ‘major concern’ for the congregation,

The Tree of Life synagogue is a Conservative Jewish congregation, according to its website. It’s in Squirrel Hill, a historic Jewish neighborhood. The synagogue has a Shabbat service at 9:45 a.m. Saturdays, the website said.
Michael Eisenberg, the immediate past president of the Tree of Life congregation, said three congregations — Tree of Life, New Light and Dor Hadash — would have been holding simultaneous services in the building on a typical Saturday.
There would usually would be about 40 people attending the Tree of Life service in the “main part of the building,” Eisenberg said. In the basement below, New Light’s service would also have about 30 to 40 people. And the Dor Hadash congregation in the rabbi’s study room would have about 15 people, he said.
A SWAT police officer and other first responders respond after a gunman opened fire at the synagogue.
A SWAT police officer and other first responders respond after a gunman opened fire at the synagogue.
“On a day like today, the door is open,” Eisenberg told a reporter for CNN affiliate KDKA. “It’s a religious service. You could walk in and out. Only on the high holidays is there a police presence at the entrance.” When he was the congregation’s president, security was a “major concern,” Eisenberg said.
The congregation had worked with the Department of Homeland Security to evaluate its exit routes, he said, and consulted a securities expert at the Jewish Federation about what to do in an active shooter situation. “We were working with the other synagogues on what to do if something horrific like this happened,” he said.
Tree of Life’s former rabbi, Chuck Diamond, told KDKA, “Jews come late to services, so for a lot of people that’s probably a good thing today.”
“This is what you dread hearing,” he said, adding he was concerned for those who might have arrived at the service on time, most of whom would have been older.

SAUDI JOURNALIST JAMAL KHASHOGGI – The Media Today Remembering The Man At Center Of An International Crisis

jamal k|Pete Vernon, CJR |AIWA! NO!|WHAT COMES NEXT in the story of Jamal Khashoggi? As the grisly details of the Saudi journalist’s murder have become public and the focus has shifted to the official response from the White House, The Washington Post is trying to ensure that the man at the center of the story is not forgotten.

The Post’s Thursday op-ed page features an illustration of a smiling Khashoggi above his final column, received the day after he went missing in Istanbul. In the piece, Khashoggi notes the lack of free expression across the Arab world and argues for an independent international forum for Arab voices and stories. “The Arab world was ripe with hope during the spring of 2011,” Khashoggi wrote, lamenting that grand expectations “were quickly shattered; these societies either fell back to the old status quo or faced even harsher conditions than before.” Asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about the decision to publish Khashoggi’s column, his editor Karen Attiah said, “We wanted to bring it back to his words. To his ideas. To his thoughts, and who he was as a person.”

Meanwhile, the Saudis’ gamble that the international community would not much miss a single journalist has gone bust amid a deluge of coverage that has been driven by the slow drip of information from Turkish and American officials. Reporting by the PostThe New York Times, and other outlets has unearthed mounting evidence that suggests the Saudi crown prince at least knew of plans to harm Khashoggi and may have been directly involved in the operation that resulted in his murder. Yet President Trump appears eager to avoid any conclusions that would damage the US–Saudi relationship. The Post’s Shane Harris reported Wednesday night that “the Trump administration and the Saudi royal family are searching for a mutually agreeable explanation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi—one that will avoid implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is among the president’s closest foreign allies.”

RELATED: Reexamining coverage of MBS after Khashoggi’s disappearance

Trump’s willingness to float the “rogue killers” theory, as well as his insistence that the kingdom’s leaders are being judged “guilty until proven innocent” has focused renewed attention on his penchant for excusing the actions of authoritarian leaders. The president “has had harsher words in the last week or so for Stormy Daniels, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Taylor Swift, than he has had for the Saudis responsible for the likely butcher and slaughter of a Washington Post columnist,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said on the air Wednesday.

As the details of Khashoggi’s murder trickle out and the global implications reverberate, one conclusion seems clear: MBS, a rising star on the international stage, is now tarnished. “If there is any lesson to be learned from this terrible affair,” writes The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins, “it’s how blind so much of official Washington and the American press were to MBS’s true nature.”

Below, more on the latest developments in the Khashoggi case.

  • In the newsroom: Khashoggi’s death has galvanized the Post in its effort to spread his words and hold his killers accountable, reports Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo. “Khashoggi, as a contributing columnist who had only been writing for a year, didn’t have extensive ties or relationships throughout the newsroom, which operates separately from the opinion side,” Pompeo notes. “But his fate—the gruesome reports of what happened to him, the international implications, and what it means for a free press—has subsequently set the Post into a frenzy.”
  • Secondhand information: CJR’s Amanda Darrach writes on the difficulty reporters have faced in covering of Khashoggi’s(still not independently verified) murder. “The struggle to double check evidence when the only sources of information—the Turkish government and closely intertwined Turkish media—are politically biased has been a challenge for journalists reporting the Khashoggi case,” Darrach writes.
  • A cover-up in plain sight?: Commenting on the Post article about the White House’s attempt to spin the story, Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall tweeted: “This is a remarkable piece. The first graf openly states as a matter of fact that the White House and the royal family are working together on a cover up of MBS’s role in Khashoggi’s murder.” The Post’s first sentence: “The Trump administration and the Saudi royal family are searching for a mutually agreeable explanation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
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