Archive for December, 2017

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Ohio man charged with second-degree murder of Charlottesville, Virginia counter-protester
December 12, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio was arrested Saturday and charged with second-degree murder in the death of Heather Heyer of Charlottesville, Virginia when a car drove into a crowd of people counter-protesting a group of white supremacists who were in Charlottesville to protest the removal of the town statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Fields, age 20, was denied bail on Monday morning. Three others were also arrested.

The “Unite the Right” rally began on Friday. It drew such groups as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and neo-Nazis and well-known “alt-right” personalities like David Duke and Richard Spencer. They shouted slogans such as “You will never replace us” and “Jews will never replace us” and waved Confederate flags. Counter-protesters including members of Black Lives Matter and antifa — a U.S. anti-fascist movement — gathered in the hundreds. The two sides clashed near Emancipation Park, where the statue stands. The demonstration devolved into physical fights, and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard to remove the protesters.

By varying reports, after the alt-right protesters were removed from the park, a Dodge Challenger drove toward a group of counter-protesters near Fourth Street. In one version of the story, the Challenger drove directly into the crowd, killing Heyer, injuring at least nineteen, and throwing at least two people through the air. In another account, the Challenger hit a sedan from behind, which in turn hit a minivan, and it was these two vehicles that actually made contact with the counter-protesters. The incident is to be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States attorney for the Western District of Virginia, and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Authorities have not yet disclosed whether Fields was driving.

It was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life […] it was pandemonium. The car hit reverse and sped and everybody who was up the street in my direction started running.

Podcaster Robert Armengol, who was present, told the press, “It was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life[…] After that it was pandemonium. The car hit reverse and sped and everybody who was up the street in my direction started running.”

On Monday morning, fields appeared in court via video from lockup, and Judge Robert Downer denied bail. He is charged with one count of second-degree murder, three of malicious wounding, and one of hit-and-run. The judge appointed a lawyer for Fields.

Fields lived in Kentucky with his mother until a few months ago, when he moved to Ohio for work. An uncle of Fields told the Washington Post a drunk driver killed Fields’s father before Fields was born, leaving him money in a trust until he turned eighteen. His high school history teacher Derek Weimer told the press that Fields had been a quiet, intelligent student. Fields tried to join the army but, according to Weimer, was rejected because of an antipsychotic medication prescription, though The Guardian noted military records suggesting Fields served for a few months in 2015. His Facebook page, which has since been deleted, once held Nazi imagery and a picture of Hitler. On the day of the rally, Fields was photographed protesting with the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America and holding their insignia.

Fields’ mother, Samantha Bloom, told various news media she had thought her son was at a general Donald Trump rally. She commented he “had an African American friend” and said she was surprised to hear that Fields was involved with white supremacism.

Other fatalities associated with the weekend’s unrest include Virginia State Police troopers Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Berke M.M. Bates, whose helicopter crashed while they were investigating the riots.

U.S. President Donald Trump commented, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” saying that things like this have “been going on for a long long time” and called for “swift restoration of law and order.” He subsequently received criticism from members both major U.S. political parties for not calling out the white supremacists specifically. During his presidential campaign, David Duke associated with the KKK endorsed Donald Trump, which Trump did not reject.

Orrin Hatch of Utah, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, was one of many from both political parties who criticized President Trump for not calling out the white supremacists specifically, saying via Twitter, “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.” Similar sentiments were published by former presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Several, including Senators Rubio, Cory Gardner, and Ted Cruz referred to the event as domestic terrorism.

My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.

A proposal about a year and a half ago to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee sparked considerable controversy. Advocates of the statue portrayed it as history and opponents as a celebration of white supremacy. A few months ago, the Charlottesville City Council voted to remove and sell the statue, but a lawsuit was filed to prevent it. The statue remains in the park while these matters are resolved.

Robert E. Lee was a major figure in the American Civil War, in which eleven of the slaveholding southeastern states including Lee’s home state, Virginia, attempted to secede from the rest of the country in the culmination of the decades-long debate about slavery. Lee began his career as a United States military officer. He trained at the West Point Military Academy and served in the Mexican-American War before joining the Confederacy at the beginning of the U.S. Civil War in 1861. Officially, he was General of the Army of Northern Virginia.

After surrendering to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, Lee lived quietly as president of Washington College, now called Washington and Lee University. After his death, white Southerners wishing to romanticize the antebellum South and the “Lost Cause” of the Civil War adopted Lee as their hero.

Lee repeatedly and publicly opposed the construction of Confederate war memorials: “I think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavoured to obliterate the marks of civil strife and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered.” Instead, he encouraged other Southerners to focus on the future. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, about 700 statues of Lee and other Confederate monuments stand in Southern towns and cities.

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Restrictions imposed in China textile trade with U.S.
December 12, 2017

Saturday, May 21, 2005

In an effort to ease complaints by the U.S. and Europe about a heavy influx of low priced Chinese goods, China will raise export tariffs on 74 categories of textile products in June. This follows plans from the U.S. to impose quotas on Chinese textiles and clothing.

Products likely to see an increase from the Chinese move include synthetic fiber shirts, trousers, knit shirts and blouses, cotton shirts, and combined cotton yarn. Last week, similar restrictions were imposed by the U.S. on cotton trousers, knit shirts, and underwear. Currently, a 2.5 cent charge per item is imposed; the new tariff will raise this to the equivalent of 12 cents per piece now. While this is a fourfold increase, it is not expected to affect consumer prices. Because of this, some doubt the tariff will have any effect on correcting the trade imbalance.

This move is in response to U.S. trade quotas imposed due to concerns that increased Chinese goods would put U.S. textile manufacturers out of business. According to Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, a textile industry group in the U.S., the move will preserve 10,000 U.S. jobs. The new U.S. trade quota will limit the growth of Chinese textile imports to 7.5 percent compared with shipments over the past year.

Prior to January 1, a global quota system helped regulate the trade. With the quota system gone, fears have arisen that a flood of Chinese goods could undercut U.S. competitiveness in the market. China is able to market its goods cheaply due to an artificially weak yuan. The U.S. Treasury criticized the China yuan policy as “highly distortionary”, posing a major risk to China’s economy itself and to global economic growth. They challenged China to revalue its currency to bring it to a level they believe will allow fairer competition between global manufacturers.

China has disputed the charges of the U.S. Treasury. Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said, “I believe they are not reasonable”.

Laura Jones, a representative of large retailers, also criticized the move, saying “These restrictions on imports from China will do absolutely nothing to help the U.S. textile industry — and the government knows it.”

China has seen a boom in economic growth in recent years due to growing trade surpluses with the West, but economists worry that the trade gap will cause longer term global economic problems. China’s textile and apparel exports are the most noteworthy example, with exports up over 1,000 percent in some categories this year and the rapid loss of marketshare and jobs by U.S. textile manufacturers.

Beginning in 1978, the Chinese economy has been transforming from a Soviet-style centrally planned economy to more of a free market style system, under the rigid political control of Communist Party of China.

To this end, the government has leveraged foreign trade to stimulate economic growth. The result has been a fourfold increase in GDP, making China the sixth largest economy in the world. By 2012 the People’s Republic of China may have the highest GDP in the world.

According to U.S. statistics, from 1999 to 2004 China’s trade surplus with the U.S. doubled to $170 billion. Wal-Mart is China’s seventh largest export partner, just ahead of the United Kingdom.

However, the gains from their “socialist market economy” have not been without problems. The Chinese leadership has often experienced the worst results of socialism and capitalism: bureaucracy, lassitude, corruption, and inflation. Inflation rates have been an on-going challenge, reaching as high as 17% in 1995.

Environmental deterioration is a longer-term threat to economic growth. In 1998, the World Health Organization reported that China had seven of the 10 most-polluted cities on Earth. Another concern among some economists is that China’s economy is over-heating, and due to its global economic expansion this could have major repercussions among other nations.

Typically, wages have been low and working conditions poor, with workers living in restrictive dormitories and working at boring factory jobs. However, recent labor shortages have started improving conditions, and raising the minimum wage towards the equivalent of 100-150 US dollars per month. The labor shortages are in part a result of a demographic trend caused by strict family planning.

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MMS comes to American iPhones
December 12, 2017

Friday, September 25, 2009

Today, after two years of waiting, American iPhone users are finally able to send and receive MMS messages. This long awaited feature has caused Apple and AT&T a great deal of grief from its user base. Originally the grief was directed at Apple for the lack of inclusion on the device, but as time progressed AT&T was faulted for lack of support.

When the iPhone was released in June of 2007, it lacked one feature that was widely available on other devices: MMS or Multimedia Messaging Service. This standard, similar to the all text SMS standard, allows users to send and receive video, audio, and picture files on their mobile phones. MMS was launched in 2002 and by 2007 was a common feature on most new mobile phones. It was not until June 2009, with the release of iPhone OS 3.0, that the devices also had the capability to send and receive these multimedia messages. Unfortunately for American iPhone users, all of whom use AT&T because of an exclusive agreement between the phone company and Apple, AT&T did not allow iPhone users to use this feature; that changed today.

Current iPhone users simply need to update (from iTunes) and reboot their device in order to enable MMS. AT&T was originally concerned about not having the network capacity to handle the data demand of all the MMS messages and in Wikinews’ own testing this seems to be a valid issue. The ability to send and receive MMS messages was functional, but by midday Friday (PST), AT&T’s network was extremely slow, with messages taking in excess of two minutes to send. Tests over AT&T’s 3G network showed upload and download speeds nearly halved what they were just a few days prior.

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Woman returns home with Christmas turkey, a month after setting out

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Woman returns home with Christmas turkey, a month after setting out
December 12, 2017

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Scottish woman who set out before Christmas to purchase a turkey finally made it home on Monday, after being cut off by snow for a month. Kay Ure left the Lighthouse Keeper’s cottage on Cape Wrath, at the very northwest tip of Great Britain, in December. She was heading to Inverness on a shopping trip.

However on her return journey heavy snow and ice prevented her husband, John, from travelling the last 11 miles to pick her up. She was forced to wait a month in a friend’s caravan, before the weather improved and the couple could finally be reunited.

They were separated not just for Christmas and New Year, but also for Mr Ure’s 58th birthday. With no fresh supplies, he was reduced to celebrating with a tin of baked beans. He also ran out of coal, and had to feed the couple’s six springer spaniels on emergency army rations.

“It’s the first time we’ve been separated”, said Mr Ure in December. “We’ve been snowed in here for three weeks before, so we are well used to it and it’s quite nice to get a bit of peace and quiet.”

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EU, US declare intent to cooperate on climate change at summit

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EU, US declare intent to cooperate on climate change at summit
December 11, 2017

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A European Union-United States summit held in Slovenia produced a draft declaration outlining the groups’ future cooperation on climate change, energy security and financial stability. Yesterday was the final day of the summit, the last EU-US summit that US President George W. Bush will attend in his current role.

Hopes of a major breakthrough on the topic of climate change were low going into the summit. The foreign minister of Slovenia, Dimitrij Rupel, commented last week that, “on climate change, the positions are split.” Members of the 27-nation EU have regularly expressed their dissatisfaction with the US for not having ratified the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement with binding greenhouse gas emissions targets. Doubts about the summit’s efficacy were not misplaced, as no firm targets were set for actions on climate change.

The EU and US agreed to cooperate increasingly in science and technology research for energy and climate change purposes, including carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen fuel cells. The EU reaffirmed its commitments as per the Kyoto Protocol, but the US restated that developing countries such as China and India must be made to sign up to such global agreements before it will sign on.

Steps to secure energy sources for the future were also discussed. Promoting the creation of multiple pipelines to supply more natural gas to Europe was determined a priority, despite the fact that this would encourage an increase in emissions from gas use.

Bush commented in a follow-up news conference: “I think we can get a global agreement on climate change during my presidency – just so you know.”

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Why Golf’s Popularity Has Mushroomed

December 10, 2017

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By Syd Z. Nohcud

Golf’s popularity as a sport has more than mushroomed. Why has this come to pass? Is it because it is a day off from work? Is it because it is the sport of kings and the wealth? Is it because it is a good leisure activity? Is it because that it is a sport that can be very enjoyably watched on TV on the weekends. All of the above are true.

Golf is a sport that is played all year long, from the first week in January through to the second week in December. Golf on the television tune has grown proportionately from a few shows in the 1950’s to nonstop golf on TV and cable TV today even to standalone whole channels devoted solely to golf that are devoted to golf and golfing 24 hours a day.. ‘The Golf Channel’ or ‘Golf Channels’. There is even pay per view golfing channels.

The places that Television takes you during the golf and golfing year are a vacationer’s dream. Every Saturday and Sunday, you can do the couch thing and watch the various tours played from every corner of the globe. The golf is good, but the pictures and scenery are stunning. The viewing audience and the PGA Tour start to prepare themselves in the Florida swing for the first major tournament of the year in early April, when Augusta and the Masters Tournament are in full bloom. The Tour settles to normalcy for a while, and then the golf and golfing players start to prepare for the for the heat and the long rough of the U.S. open in mid June.

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The month of July is for the British Open and its storied past; plenty of plaid and windblown golf balls decorate the links and fairways. The last of the four majors, the professional golfers gear up to play is played in the month of August, as the fall season is on its way in the calendar year. These are the golf tournaments that all professional golfers gear up to play well to; they are the measure of a golf player’s worth and his quest. And they make for great viewing.

During the first part of the year, many celebrities play at the famous tournament held at Pebble Beach and the Bob Hope Classic. If viewing the stars is your thing, you can see these would be golfers hacking away at all their inhibitions during these Pro-Am tournaments. If Hollywood stars are not your idea of proper role models, for yourself or your children, maybe professional golfers can fill the void. You do not see much trash taking or foul play on the golf course. In fact golf may be the only game in which the players police themselves. Almost weekly there is an example of a player in the P.G.A, Tour penalizing himself for some inadvertent rules transgression.

This indeed is the beauty of the sport of golf and golfing. It is a clean enjoyable social game that can be played by yourself and friends during the season.

Off season you can watch golf – good golf in the privacy and luxury of your own living room. Year round. And nothing heats the scenery that you can watch on TV while watching the myriad of the professional golfing circuit.

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Glendale GolfsHome Living RoomGolf Winnipeg Manitoba

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Avalanche buries cars in Colorado

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Avalanche buries cars in Colorado
December 10, 2017

Saturday, January 6, 2007

An avalanche on U.S. Route 40, which was 100 feet wide and 15 feet deep, has buried many cars, caused other cars to be pushed over the edge of an expressway, and injured eight people, just outside of Denver, Colorado. The avalanche started at 10:30 AM, starting about 12 miles off Interstate 70, and taking three different paths down the mountain before coming to a stop.

“Our crews said it was the largest they have ever seen. It took three paths,” said a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, Stacey Stegman.

All eight (7 adults, 1 minor) have been taken to the St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver. According to a hospital spokeswoman, all of the victims suffered minor injuries. Seven patients were released on Saturday. There were no casualties.

U.S. route 40 is currently closed to traffic. According to Winter Park spokesman Matt Sugar, there are no plans to close the ski hills. “We’ve gotten calls from all over the country asking if the resort is closed,” he said, “and the answer is no.”

This is the third snow storm to hit the Denver area in three weeks.

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Scottish prosecutors keeping quiet about Lanarkshire surgical deaths

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Scottish prosecutors keeping quiet about Lanarkshire surgical deaths
December 10, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Crown Office are staying quiet about possible prosecutions after an inquiry found medical failures caused three deaths at NHS Lanarkshire.

In response to a specific question as to the possibility of prosecutions, a Crown Office spokesperson told Wikinews today that “The three deaths were fully investigated by the Procurator Fiscal and reported to Crown Counsel [laywers] to consider. Crown Counsel concluded that, given the facts and circumstances of the deaths, a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) was the appropriate forum to consider the circumstances of the deaths.” It was further noted that “[a] FAI cannot make any findings of fault/blame against individuals.”

However, Crown Office did not specifically rule out prosecutions for offences such as cuplable homicide despite the spokesperson noting this was a direct response to such a question. They also declined to comment on National Health Service care as “it would not be appropriate to comment on the provision of NHS services” and entirely ignored questions about Crown Office satisfaction in the inquiry’s outcome and the length of time it took to reach a conclusion. The inquiry wrapped up last week but the deaths were in 2006.

Agnes Nicol, George Johnstone, and Andrew Ritchie died within a three-month period following keyhole surgery to remove their gall bladders.

Later expanded to look at all three deaths, the inquiry initially established to look into the case of Nicol, 50, who received surgery in late 2005. A surgeon at Wishaw General Hospital mistakenly cut her bile duct and her right hepatic artery. Whilst suturing her portal vein, her liver was left with 20% of its normal blood supply; the errors were not discovered until her transfer to liver specialists at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary.

By then, her liver was seriously damaged. She developed septicaemia, dying from multiple organ failure in March 2006.

Johnstone, 54, underwent the same procedure at Monklands District General Hospital on May 9, 2006. A consultant surgeon accidentally damaged, possibly severing, his bile duct. He died two days later in intensive care from the combined effects of multiple organ failure and a heart ailment.

Ritchie, 62, died in intensive care a week after an operation in June 2006. He died from intra abdominal haemorrhage caused by errors during the surgery.

Different surgeons were involved each time and the inquiry, under Sheriff Robert Dickson, found no evidence of poor training or inadequate experience. Dickson noted that in each case there was lack of action on a “growing body of evidence that there was something fundamentally wrong with the patient” and surgeons failed to contemplate their own actions as potentially responsible. He agreed with two professors that it may have been possible to save their lives “had the post-operative care been to the standard which they expected, and had there been a proper management plan which staff could have worked to” and noted that all the patients suffered from a lack of adequate medical notes being available after their surgery. He described the care as having “clear faults”.

NHS Lanarkshire apologised and said improvements had been made regarding “these types of cases” as well as with document management. Wikinews got in touch seeking details of the changes made but the health trust failed to respond.

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NTSB announces safety recommendations to be made in aftermath of Comair Flight 5191 disaster

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NTSB announces safety recommendations to be made in aftermath of Comair Flight 5191 disaster
December 10, 2017

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The American National Transportation Safety Board has announced that it will make new airline safety recommendations. This comes a result of its investigation into the Comair Flight 5191 disaster, in which a Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) CRJ-100ER crashed whilst attempting take-off from the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport, Lexington, killing 49 people and leaving just one survivor. The plane was unable to take off because that runway was too short.

The NTSB has now announced that, on July 26, the date on which the NTSB is to determine the probable cause of the accident, they will issue safety recommendations regarding methods of preventing a recurrence of the disaster.

One of the recommendations will concern developing and implementing a cockpit-based system that will inform pilots when they are in the wrong location. Another will involve rescheduling the workloads of Air Traffic Controllers to ensure they receive more sleep, a request they had previously made in April.

Regarding location warning systems, the FAA has pointed out that they have been working on methods of preventing runway incursions (in which a person, ground vehicle or another aircraft is on the runway when or where it should not be), to which the National Transportation Safety Board chairman Mark Rosenker responded “The FAA is doing a great job testing these systems. The question we have is, when will you finally implement that technology?” FAA Associate Administrator Margaret Gilligan responded by saying that they were currently looking at just such a system, adding “We do have airlines that have committed to put that technology on the flight deck once it’s approved”. The system referred to involves runway signal lights and is currently being tested at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The NTSB will also look at runway and taxiway markings and the ways they can confuse pilots, as this issue has been identified as a contributing factor in the accident. Rosenker said the NTSB was “very interested” in this area. 140 airports have unclear or confusing markings in the US, but it is not certain if Blue Grass Airport is one of them. However, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) made a submission to the NTSB stating that they had found that the markings at Blue Grass Airport did not match those on the charts the pilots were using. ALPA went on to recommend greater standardisation of airport runway markings.

Blue Grass Airport responded yesterday by saying that there was nothing wrong with their runway markings, with spokesman Brian Ellestad saying “We have had numerous inspections before and after (the Comair crash) and have had no issues… FAA reiterates that we meet all requirements for signage, markings, lighting, runways and taxiways.”

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WikiLeaks: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati sent jet to collect shoes

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WikiLeaks: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati sent jet to collect shoes
December 10, 2017

Monday, September 5, 2011

According to United States diplomatic cables passed to WikiLeaks, Mayawati, Chief Minister of the Indian northern state Uttar Pradesh, made use of her private jet to have sandals collected from Mumbai.

Mayawati, a member of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) – which claims to follow a Dalit Socialism ideology – self-identifies as a Dalit. The Dalits are largely those traditionally regarded as Untouchables within Indian society.

One cable, named “Portrait of a Lady”, recently published by WikiLeaks describes the 55-year-old Mayawati as, “a first-rate egomaniac who is obsessed with becoming prime minister”.

“When she needed new sandals, her private jet flew empty to Mumbai to retrieve her preferred brand,” a cable dated October 23, 2008 states; adding, the chief minister is paranoid about her security and fears assassination, employing food tasters to guard against poisoning. The US embassy documents state Mayawati celebrates her birthday each year by receiving millions of dollars in gifts from party members, civil servants and business people whilst officials vie for a chance to feed her cake. An account of Mayawati making a state minister do sit-ups in front of her as punishment for a minor protocol error is included.

Further allegations report a cost of $250,000 to run as a parliamentary candidate for the BSP headed by Mayawati; this allegedly due to institutionalised corruption. “She constructed a private road from her residence to her office, which is cleaned immediately after her multiple vehicle convoy reaches its destination,” the cables claim.

Mayawati, often referred to as the “Dalit Queen”, has been criticised many times, notably for the building of numerous statues of Buddhist and Dalit icons, and of herself.

The single, ex-school teacher, has as-yet not responded to the allegations made in the newly published cables.

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