Dutch Prime Minister Issues Historic Apology at Holocaust Memorial

(AMSTERDAM) — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized Sunday for the failure of officials in the Nazi-occupied country during World War II to do more to prevent the deportation and murder of just over 100,000 Jews.

Rutte made the historic apology at the country’s annual Holocaust commemoration in Amsterdam that came on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.

While he praised resistance fighters, citizens who helped Jews to hide from the Nazi occupiers and workers who went on strike in support of Jews, Rutte said it was collectively not enough.

“Too little protection. Too little help. Too little recognition,” the premier said.

“Now the last survivors are still among us, I apologize today on behalf of the government for the authorities’ actions at the time,” Rutte added.

Holocaust survivor Zoni Weisz told Dutch national broadcaster NOS that it was an emotional moment.

“It was beautiful,” he said, before adding: “It’s a shame it had to take 75 years before we were offered an apology.”

Of the 140,000 Jews who lived in the Netherlands at the outbreak of World War II, only 38,000 survived.

The Dutch national railway company last year announced it will pay reparations to Jews, Roma and Sinti whom it transported to camps in the Netherlands during World War II — from where they were sent to Nazi concentration camps. The company apologized in 2005 for its role in the transportation.

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Source:: Time – World

      

Turkish Rescue Teams Pull Survivors From Rubble as Earthquake Death Toll Reaches 38 People

(ANKARA, Turkey) — Working against the clock in freezing temperatures, Turkish rescue teams pulled more survivors from collapsed buildings Sunday, days after a powerful magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit the country’s east. Rescued survivors wept with gratitude for their efforts.

Turkish authorities said the death toll rose to at least 38 people from the magnitude 6.8 earthquake that struck Friday night.

Turkish television showed Ayse Yildiz, 35, and her 2-year-old daughter Yusra being dragged out of the rubble of a collapsed apartment building in the city of Elazig. They had been trapped for 28 hours.

The quake also injured over 1,600 people but at least 45 survivors have been pulled alive from the rubble so far, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference Sunday in Istanbul.

More than 780 aftershocks rocked the region as over 3,500 rescue experts scrambled through wrecked buildings to reach survivors, working around the clock. Rescue teams concentrated their efforts in the city’s Mustafa Pasa neighborhood and the nearby town of Sivrice.

One rescued couple was reunited with a Syrian student who had helped to dig them out of their collapsed home with his hands.

“He is our hero and angel,” a weeping Dudane Aydin said of Mahmud al Osman in an interview on Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

Her husband Zulkuf added: “When I saw the light of Mahmud’s phone, we started shouting for help. Then we knew we would get out.”

He said Mahmud helped him out but when the student tried to rescue his wife her leg was trapped by debris.

“Some locals held Mahmud by the legs and stretching towards my wife he worked to save her. After saving my wife, he tried to help others,” the man said.

As overnight temperatures dropped to -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit), emergency teams set up more than 9,500 tents for displaced residents and distributed 17,000 hot meals.

The agency said 76 buildings were destroyed and more than 1,000 were damaged by the quake. Unmanned aerial drones were being used to survey damaged neighborhoods and coordinate rescue efforts.

The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said 20 of the aftershocks measured magnitude 4.0 or above, including a magnitude 4.3 quake that hit the neighboring province of Malatya on Sunday morning,

Erdogan said every effort was being made to find survivors and promised to house displaced residents as soon as possible.

“Turkey has begun to heal the wounds of this great disaster in unity, togetherness and coming together,” …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

India Celebrates 70th Constitutional Anniversary with Republic Day Parade

(NEW DELHI) — Thousands of Indians converged on a ceremonial boulevard in the capital amid tight security to celebrate the Republic Day on Sunday, which marks the 1950 anniversary of the country’s democratic constitution.

During the celebrations, schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through New Delhi’s parade route, followed by a military hardware display.

Beyond the show of military power, the parade also included ornate floats highlighting India’s cultural diversity as men, women and children in colorful dresses performed traditional dances, drawing applause from the spectators.

The 90-minute event, broadcast live, was watched by millions of Indians on their television sets across the country.

Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the chief guest for this year’s celebrations.

He was accorded the ceremonial Guard of Honor by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the sprawling presidential palace.

Bolsonaro joined the two Indian leaders as the military parade marched through a central avenue near the Presidential Palace.

At the parade, Bolsonaro watched keenly as mechanized columns of Indian tanks, rocket launchers, locally made nuclear-capable missile systems and other hardware rolled down the parade route and air force jets sped by overhead.

Apart from attending the Republic Day celebrations, Bolsonaro’s visit was also aimed at strengthening trade and investment ties across a range of fields between the two countries.

On Saturday, Modi and Bolsonaro reached an agreement to promote investment in each other’s country.

Before the parade, Modi paid homage to fallen soldiers at the newly built National War Memorial in New Delhi as the national capital was put under tight security cover.

Smaller parades were also held in the state capitals.

Police said five grenades were lobbed in the eastern Assam state by separatist militants who have routinely boycotted the Republic Day celebrations. No one was injured, police said.

Sunday’s blasts also come at a time when Assam has been witnessing continuous protests against the new citizenship law that have spread to many Indian states.

The law approved in December provides a fast-track to naturalization for persecuted religious minorities from some neighboring Islamic countries, but excludes Muslims.

Nationwide protests have brought tens of thousands of people from different faiths and backgrounds together, in part because the law is seen by critics as part of a larger threat to the secular fabric of Indian society.

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Associated Press writer Wasbir Hussain contributed to this report.

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Source:: Time – World