Trump has visited a historic church that was partially burned down in violent protests here over the custodial killing of African-American George Floyd, a day after he was forced to take shelter in a White House \Rbunker. St. John’s church was set ablaze on Sunday night as protestors demanded justice for the killing of Floyd, a 46-year-old man who was pinned to the ground in Minneapolis last week by a white police officer who kneeled on his neck as he gasped for breath.
His death triggered violent protests across the US. After the protests escalated on Sunday, the Secret Service rushed the president to an underground \Rbunker previously used during terrorist attacks.
On Monday, Trump stood in front of the boarded-up St John’s church with a Bible in his hand.
“Greatest country in the world. And we’re going to keep it safe,” said the president who was accompanied by US Attorney General William Barr, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Trump announced his decision to walk down to the historic park during his address to the nation from the Rose Garden of the White House.
“And now I’m going to pay my respects a very, very special place,” he said. Minutes later, he was seen walking out of the main entrance of the White House with secret service lined up on both sides.
Known as “the Church of the Presidents”, St. John’s Episcopal Church held its first service on October 27, 1816, and the church was consecrated on December 27, 1816.
The church is at a walking distance across the White House through the Lafayette Park, which has been a hub of violent protest in Washington DC for the past few days. Beginning with James Madison, until the present, every person who has held the office of President of the United States has attended a service at St. John’s, according to the information available on its website.
“The protests that began peacefully grew to something more, and eventually a fire was lit in the nursery, in the basement of Ashburton House,” Rev. Rob Fisher, church rector, wrote.
Some reports said that small groups of people began setting fires and smashing windows once darkness fell. According to local police, a small fire was deliberately set in the basement.
“It’s heart-rending. This is a very historic building. A person sprayed graffiti at the church: ‘The Devil is across the street’,” Fisher said.
Earlier, the entire Lafayette Park was cleared of protestors. The protestors were forcefully removed from the park with police using tear gas.
Since Sunday, Trump’s opponents and a section of the media have been slamming him for not being seen in the public.
However, Trump’s family members, close aides and supporters hailed him for leading the country from the front.
“This is the guy that the media and left just spent days telling us was a coward hiding in his basement,” said his son Donald J Trump Jr as he re-tweeted a video of his father walking down the Lafayette Park from the White House to the church.
The president went to the church after an address to the nation from Rose Garden of the White House.
“I will fight to protect you. I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters,” Trump said, as he spelled out concrete steps to restore normalcy in the country which for the past seven days has experiences a spate of violent protests over the custodial killing of African-American George Floyd.
“Powerful remarks by President”, said Kimberly Guilfoyle, advisor to Donald J Trump for President, Inc. and National Chair of the Trump Victory Finance Committees.
“He truly is the President and leader for all Americans and he will stand up to defend both the peaceful protests, as well as the safety and security of our communities!” she said.
Describing Trump as “the law and order president”, Al Mason, co-chair of the Trump Victory Indian American Finance Committee, said in a statement that Trump supports the rights of peaceful protestors, but anarchy, rioting and looting needs to end.
“He has correctly called Antifa – a domestic terrorist entity. He is right in mobilising US military to end riots and lawlessness,” Mason said.
Responding to questions, during her news conference, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said burning of the church was hurtful.
“It’s hurtful, honestly. I think it’s hurtful on a number of levels,” she said. “That doesn’t honor the legacy of George Floyd. It doesn’t. And certainly not the burning of St. John’s Church,” she added.
Considered to be the worst ever civil unrest in the US in decades, the violent protests have engulfed at least 140 cities across America in the days following the death of Floyd.
Over 4,000 people have been arrested and curfews imposed in at least 40 cities.
North Korea is facing a severe food shortage
Addressing a meeting of senior leaders, Mr Kim said: “The people’s food situation is now getting tense”.
He said the agricultural sector had failed to meet its grain targets due to typhoons last year, which caused flooding.
There are reports that food prices have spiked, with NK News reporting that a kilogram of bananas costs $45 (£32).
North Korea has closed its borders to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Trade with China has plummeted as a result. North Korea relies on China for food, fertiliser and fuel.
North Korea is also struggling under international sanctions, imposed because of its nuclear programmes.
The authoritarian leader of the single-party state talked about the food situation at the ruling Workers’ Party central committee which started this week in the capital Pyongyang.
During the meeting, Mr Kim said that national industrial output had grown by a quarter compared to the same period last year.
Officials were expected to discuss relations with the US and South Korea during the event but no details have been released yet.
In April, Mr Kim made a a rare admission of looming hardship, calling on officials to “wage another, more difficult ‘Arduous March’ in order to relieve our people of the difficulty, even a little”.
The Arduous March is a term used by North Korea officials to refer to the country’s struggle during the 1990s famine, when the fall of the Soviet Union left North Korea without crucial aid.
The total number of North Koreans who starved to death at the time is not known, but estimates range up to three million.
It is highly unusual for Kim Jong-un to publicly acknowledge a food shortage. But this is a North Korean leader who has already admitted that his economic plan has failed.
The problem for Mr Kim is that when he took over from his father, he promised his people a more prosperous future. He said they would have meat on their tables and access to electricity. This has not happened. Now he’s having to prime the population for more hard work.
He is trying to tie this into the global pandemic, and state media reported that he pointed out to party officials that the situation across the world is getting “worse and worse”. With so little access to outside information, he can paint a picture of things being bad everywhere – not just in sealed off North Korea. He also described efforts to beat Covid-19 as a “protracted war”. That signals that border closures are not easing any time soon.
That is the concern of many aid organisations. The sealed border has prevented some food and medicine getting through. Most NGOs have had to leave the country, unable to get staff and supplies in or out.
Pyongyang has always called for “self-reliance”. It has closed itself off, just as it may need assistance and it is unlikely to ask for help. If it continues to push away all offers of international assistance, as ever, it may be the people who pay the price.
Christian pastor killed over outreach to Muslims: ‘Today Allah has judged you’
A radical Muslim has confessed to police in Uganda that he killed a 70-year-old pastor earlier this month because of Allah’s word to kill all infidels who mislead Muslims by sharing the Gospel.
The accused, identified as Imam Uthman Olingha, told police he killed Bishop Francis Obo, senior pastor of Mpingire Pentecostal Revival Church Ministries International in Odapako village Mpingire Sub-County, on June 11, Morning Star News reported.
Olingha was one of the Muslim extremists dressed in Islamic attire who stopped Pastor Obo and his wife on their way home from a market at about 8:30 p.m., his wife, Christine Obo, said.
“Olingha openly confessed to police that he can’t regret that he killed the bishop because he did it in the cause of Allah’s word to kill all infidels who mislead Muslims. He added that Allah will be with him in jail, but the kafiri (infidel) deserved the killing.”
One of the attackers told the pastor, who oversaw 17 churches across the region and had been sharing Christ with Muslims, that he was an “infidel” who caused Muslims to leave Islam and “blasphemes the words of Allah,” and that, “Today Allah has judged you.”
A week before the murder, the couple had invited a former Islamic teacher to testify on how he became a Christian at their church, Christine Obo recalled. Area Muslims were also upset with the church because it offered the former Islamic teacher a pig as part of a micro-enterprise livestock project that helped raise funds for the church, she added.
Describing the incident, she said, “As I moved a few meters in a hurry trying to save my life, I heard a little noise and wailing from my husband and realized that his life was in danger.”
When she reached home, she was trembling and unable to speak, she said, and her children took her to a hospital. When she regained consciousness the following morning, she told her oldest son and his siblings to go to the site.
“Reaching there, they were shocked and fearful as they found a big number of Christians and relatives gathered around the dead body mourning their bishop after being murdered by Muslims,” Obo was quoted as saying.
According to World Watch Monitor, a homegrown Islamist rebel movement organizing in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo has emboldened Ugandan radicals to persecute Christians.
Voice of the Martyrs earlier noted that Uganda’s history has made it vulnerable to the influence of Islam as “Arab countries also continue to invest significant resources into furthering Muslim interests in the country.”
In Uganda, persecution is mainly seen in the form of local Islamists persecuting Christians, mostly in areas where “radicals have been steadily encroaching.”
“Radical Islam’s influence has grown steadily, and many Christians within the majority-Muslim border regions are facing severe persecution, especially those who convert from Islam,” a Voice of the Martyrs factsheet explains. “Despite the risks, evangelical churches in Uganda have responded by reaching out to their neighbors; many churches are training leaders how to share the Gospel with Muslims and care for those who are persecuted after they become Christians.”
Last December, a mob of Muslim extremists in Uganda reportedly killed 41-year-old former imam Yusuf Kintu a week after he converted to Christianity.
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North Korea is facing a severe food shortage
Addressing a meeting of senior leaders, Mr Kim said: “The people’s food situation is now getting tense”. He said the...
Christian pastor killed over outreach to Muslims: ‘Today Allah has judged you’
A radical Muslim has confessed to police in Uganda that he killed a 70-year-old pastor earlier this month because of...
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