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Four killed, including two children, in New York stabbing

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Four people, including two children, have been killed and three others injured following a stabbing in Queens, New York.

Police called to the Far Rockaway neighbourhood in the early hours of Sunday found the victims in a home that had been set on fire.

The male suspect stabbed two police officers before being shot by one of the injured officers.

The suspect was taken to hospital but declared dead on arrival.

In a press briefing at Jamaica Hospital, police confirmed that they received a 911 call at 5.10am local time, when a “young female caller stated that her cousin is killing her family members”.

Two officers were sent to the address on Beach 22nd Street where they saw a male walking out with luggage.

When the officers tried to talk to the male he pulled a knife out, stabbing one officer in the neck and chest area, and a second officer in the head.

One of the officers was able to take out his firearm and shot the suspect.

When more officers were dispatched to the scene, they found an 11-year-old girl at the front of the house. She was taken to hospital but later died of her injuries.

After the New York Fire Department arrived at the scene, emergency services found the bodies of three other people inside the house: a 12-year-old boy, a 44-year-old female, and a male in his 30s.

A 61-year-old female was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital with multiple stab wounds.

Police believe all victims died as a result of stab wounds and a kitchen steak knife was recovered from the scene.

New York police named the suspect as 39-year-old Courtney Gordon, who had one prior arrest for domestic violence in the Bronx.

He was visiting his family members in Queens at the time of the attack.

Police said that the investigation was ongoing, but that the person who made the 911 call was being interviewed at the police station.

– This story was first published byBBC.

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Fiji’s Wrestling Champion Passes Away at 99

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RADIO APNA NEW ZEALAND

Fiji’s Wrestling legend 99 years old Haji Mohammed Khan passed away last Sunday at his family home in Sabeto, Nadi and was buried at his family cemetery in Sabeto which was attended by a large crowd of family and friends from overseas and around Fiji.

Mohammed Yakub Khan’s wanderlust, determination and courage can be traced back at least one generation to his father, a citizen of Patiala, a city in south-eastern Punjab, northern India.

From his home in the Punjab Yakub’s father travelled to Calcuttta and sailed for Fiji as part of the indentured labourer scheme. The indentured labour system was introduced in 1833 and lasted until 1920. It was a form of debt bondage which transported more than three million Indians who had volunteered to work in European colonies. The Pacific islands of Fiji began receiving Indian labourers in 1879, mostly working in the sugar plantations, and was to receive 60,000 before the scheme was disbanded in 1916.

Yakub’s father was one of those indentured labourers who came in search of a better life, but it was a hard life and there are many stories of ill treatment of the incomers. The labourers were contracted to remain in Fiji for five years, but the majority chose to stay permanently, many of them developing their own sugar cane fields or farms. Even owning their own farms the Indians were forced to give a contribution from their income to the Colonial Sugar Refinery Company.

This was the background of Mohammed Yakub Khan, born on Viti Levu on 23rd November, 1925. Viti Levu is the largest of the Fijian islands, home to 70% of the island republic’s population and the capital city of Suva.

As a child Yakub lived in Sabeto, a rural settlement in the Sabeto Valley, an area of stunning natural beauty at the base of the Sleeping Giant Mountain range, and close to the hot springs and mud pools which are now a major Fijian tourist attraction.

Life was hard as a child. Fortunate in owning his own small farm Yakub’s father had to make the proceeds feed all his eleven children, of which Yakub was the youngest. Childhood for Yakub involved formal schooling, at the nearby Sabeto school, and helping on the farm. When he was older Yakub went to the larger school in Lautoka, Fiji’s second largest city, where he could learn English.

Mohammed Yakub developed an interest in horse riding, not just riding them to get around near his home, but also racing. By then the youngster had developed a competitive nature, not surprising being the youngest of eleven siblings forever struggling to make his voice heard, and he applied this competitive character to horse racing. He did well and became well known around Fiji as a successful jockey.

Fiji was a British colony at the time World War 2 was declared, and Mohammed Yakub was just fifteen years old. A few miles from his home in Sabeto an airstrip was built and completed in March 1940. The airfield was used by the United States Army Air Forces when the Pacific War began in 1941, with Flying Fortresses flown from Nadi against Japanese targets in the Philippines and Solomon Islands.

The teenager started to help the soldiers break horses. Animals roamed freely around Fiji, and this caused problems for the airmen with wild horses straying onto the airfield. One day an American General was looking for a local to keep roaming animals away from the runway. Yakub was interviewed by the General and the was given a job, keeping the animals away until the area could be fenced off.

Naturally the soldiers at the base organised their own entertainment – concerts, competitions and sports that included wrestling. Now Mohammed Yakub knew Indian style wrestling, which had been brought to Fiji by the indentured labourers. The Indian style wrestling had blended with veibo, the traditional Fijian wrestling. Yakub wrestled to entertain the soldiers, and he loved the attention,

“It was amazing and I felt great. I remember everyone cheering. After I had won a couple of matches I started loving the sport and thought, why not? I can continue doing this not just for a show but for my career”

When the war was over professional wrestling was again promoted in Fiji. There had been a professional tradition in the 1930s with crowds of more than 2,000 Fijian fans enjoying Jaget Singh, Harban Singh and Gabo Stephens. The main centre for the matches was the capital city of Suva on the south east coast of Viti Levu. Mohammed Yakub was approached by John Grant, the leading theatrical and sporting entrepreneur in Fiji, who was at the time reviving the sport. He persuaded Yakub to turn professional wrestler.

Mohammed Yakub went on to win the middleweight championship of Fiji and was to remain undefeated for many years.

In the early 1960s he came to Britain, and prior to the 1962 Immigration Act obtained British citizenship. Mohammed Yakub has memories of the British people as welcoming and kind. But he was a long way from home and inevitably lonely in a land that was very different from Fiji. To lift his spirits Yakub began going to wrestling shows which were staged every night somewhere in London. He enjoyed the wrestling immensely, it provided an interest in an unfamiliar land, and he pondered the idea of resuming his wrestling career in Britain.

Enquiries led Yakub to a coffee bar in a four storey building in Old Compton Street, London, and the headquarters of Paul Lincoln Management. The 2I’s was frequented by rock stars and wrestlers. He tentatively made his way inside and asked for the owner, Paul Lincoln. Arrangements were made for Yakub to have a trial, and he was instructed to turn up at the Metropolitan Theatre the following Saturday at 3pm.

Four trial matches took place and the decision made that Mohammed Yakub was good enough to wrestle for Paul Lincoln Management. In the months that followed he was to wrestle all the big names that were working for Paul Lincoln and other opposition promoters at the time.

Amongst his opponents were the blond haired Canadian villain Flash Lee Edwards, World Champion Mike Marino, the London dock yard bad boy Don Stedman, Judo Al Hayes and many others. In total Mohammed Yakub had more than a hundred matches in Britain during his fifteen month stay.

His memories of Britain are fond ones, but it wasn’t home. When he was offered the chance to wrestle in the United States Mohammed Yakub declined and made the decision to return to Fiji.

Towards the end of 1963 he left England for home, where he continued to wrestle on his return. By then he was nearing his fortieth birthday and also felt a desire to pursue other interests. He founded his own company, an earth moving and public transport business, and became one of Fiji’s most successful businessmen.

Six years following his retirement from wrestling Mohammed Yakub was encouraged to return to the ring, again finding championship success when he won the South Sea.

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Firefighters battle blaze engulfing apartments in Valencia

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A high-rise residential building in the Spanish city of Valencia has been engulfed by a major fire.

The blaze – which is ongoing – occurred at a 14-storey block in the Campanar neighbourhood and spread to an adjoining building.

Firefighters have been seen rescuing people from balconies, and local media reports others may be trapped inside.

At least 14 people, including six firefighters and a young child, have been injured.

More than 20 fire crews are tackling the fire and people have been urged to stay away from the area.

The building contains 138 flats and was home to 450 residents, newspaper El Pais reported, citing the building’s manager.

Local reports said firefighters had rescued several residents using cranes, including a couple living on the seventh floor.

One woman told TVE she had seen firefighters attempting to rescue a teenage boy trapped on the building’s first floor.

In the hours after the fire rapidly took hold, questions have been asked in Spain about the materials used in the building’s construction.

Esther Puchades, vice president of the College of Industrial Technical Engineers of Valencia, told Spanish news agency Efe she had previously inspected the building.

She claimed its exterior featured a polyurethane material, which is no longer in wide use because of fears over flammability.

One man who lives on the second floor of the building told TV channel La Sexta that the flames grew rapidly after the fire started, reportedly on the fourth floor.

“The fire spread in a matter of 10 minutes,” he said, adding that material on the facade of the building may have caused the fire to spread.

David Higuera, an engineer, told El País the building’s cladding may have been the cause of the rapid spread of the fire. The aluminium plates with an foam insulator making up the outer layer of the building are “very good at insulating against heat and cold, but very combustible”, he said.

Firefighters were called at around 5.30pm local time. A field hospital has been set up in the area in case of casualties, RTVE reported. People displaced from their homes would be housed in hotels, authorities said.

Writing on X (formerly known as Twitter) Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said: “Dismayed by the terrible fire in a building in Valencia… I want to convey my solidarity to all the people affected and recognition to all the emergency personnel already deployed at the scene.”

This story was first published by the BBC.

Source: RNZ

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‘National crisis’: Papua New Guinea women demand MPs to act on all forms of violence

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Women’s rights advocates in Papua New Guinea are calling for peace and for the men in Parliament to act on the violence the country.

The call comes following tribal fighting in Enga Province, ended in a mass massacre at the weekend, which has so far claimed more than 60 lives.

Dorothy Tekwie, founder of Papua New Guinea Women in Politics, said she is heartbroken for the women who’ve have lost their children in the brutal killings.

“Any woman would be emotional…and I am also calling on women throughout Papua New Guinea to stand up. Enough is enough of violence of all forms.

“We are asking for accountability from our members of Parliament. It doesn’t matter whether they are in government or in opposition. This is a national crisis.”

Tekwie said the government needs to return the peace in the Highlands so infrastructure, housing, health and education development can begin.

On Wednesday, the government addressed a motion to take action on tribal conflicts and violence, specifically in Enga province.

Another advocate Esmie Sinapa said as gunmen plan their next attack in the Highlands, mothers are mourning the deaths of their children.

Sinapa said violence has been escalating across the nation for some years.

“Imagine 60 mothers, wailing, weeping for their sons. As mothers of this country, women of this country, we are very concerned,” she said.

Cathy Alex, who was kidnapped last year in the Bosavi region and held for ransom, said PNG is on the verge of being a “failed state”.

As a woman who herself has experienced similar violence, Alex said the government must act.

“I don’t know what kind of country we call ourselves,” she said.

“This is a country…that if we look at indicators that shows a failed state. We are already it.

“What’s holding this coountry together is individuals like this individuals who stand up for their communities and hold peace.

“What happened [in Enga] is completely unprecendented,” she added.

Tekwie said PNG women want affirmative actions taken by government to deal with some of these issues.

“Starting with early education for one. We are mothers and are finding it so hard to get our kids into school,” she said.

Source: RNZ

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