Morning digest: 11 killed in mass shooting in Virginia, GDP growth slumps to 5.8%, and more

A disgruntled public utility employee opened fire on co-workers at city offices in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Friday afternoon, killing 11 people and wounding at least six others before he was fatally shot by police, authorities said.

Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera gave few details of what was known about the mass shooting in the coastal resort city, but said the gunman “immediately and indiscriminately fired upon all the victims” after he entered the municipal building shortly after 4 p.m.

India’s GDP grew at 5.8% in the January-March 2019 quarter, dragging down the full year growth to a five-year low of 6.8%. The unemployment rate in the country rose to a 45-year high of 6.1% in 2017-18, as per official data released on the first day of the second term of the Modi government.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said the slowdown, caused by temporary factors such as liquidity crunch, is likely to continue in the April-June 2019 quarter, with the demand picking up from the second quarter onwards.

The Army has said it has a “big heart” for Mohammed Sanaullah, a retired junior commissioned officer sent to a detention camp after being declared a foreigner, but can’t do much to help him at this point of time.

Mr. Sanaullah, a Subedar who retired as an Honorary Captain in August 2017, was sent to a detention centre for foreigners in western Assam’s Goalpara on May 28 by the Border Police, the very wing of the State police that had recruited the ex-serviceman as an assistant sub-inspector to detect non- citizens.

Raichur is the land that the medieval Persian rulers of the region called Doab. Despite being located between two rivers, the Krishna and the Tungabhadra, it is a dust bowl in the first week of May.

However, water was not an election issue during either the Karnataka Assembly election in 2018 or the Lok Sabha election this year. Voter turnout in Raichur was below 60%, perhaps an indication of the indifference of the voters. A week after polling for the general election, not a single poster can be spotted in the town. It appears as if the election fever bypassed the city and its surrounding areas.

In the backdrop of the suicide by Dr. Payal Tadvi, the Indian Medical Association has formed a five-member fact-finding committee to look at the larger issues concerning the resident doctors working in the State’s public hospitals.

The committee will review the critical factors that led to her death and recommend how to avoid such incidents in future.

A fashionable school of soundbite intellectualism seeks to reduce the outcome of the election to the 17th Lok Sabha into the success of one individual and the failure of another. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s oratory, marketing, cunning, etc. and the massive funds available to him were factors in his success while Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s untrained oratory and ineffective command over the limited human and material resources under him were factors in his defeat. But the Modi-Gandhi binary is ahistorical, as 2019 has been in the making for a century — the advance of Hindutva through meticulous organisation building and ideological training, and a corresponding retreat of the Congress on both counts.

The contest between the themes, Mr. Gandhi’s ‘love all’ and Mr. Modi’s ‘I will hit you at home’, could not have been timed worse for the former historically, though this slogan was never an irresistible one. That creed cost Mahatma Gandhi his life; ‘death to Gandhi’ was a slogan of many Hindu fundamentalists before his assassination in 1948, by one of them.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman told an emergency Arab summit on Friday that decisive action was needed to stop Iranian “escalations” following attacks on Gulf oil assets, as U.S. officials said a military deployment had deterred Tehran.

The right of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to defend their interests after the attacks on oil pumping stations in the kingdom and tankers off the UAE were supported in a Gulf Arab statement and a separate communiqué issued after the wider summit.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has suffered psychological torture from a defamation campaign and should not be extradited to the U.S. where he would face a “politicised show trial”, a UN human rights investigator said on Friday.

Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture who visited Mr. Assange in a high-security London prison on May 9 along with two medical experts, said that he found him agitated, under severe stress and unable to cope with his complex legal case.

Amid growing global concerns over data privacy and security, Google has announced that it will be further tightening guidelines for third-party developers for accessing user data for Chrome extensions and Google Drive.

“Third-party apps and websites create services that millions of people use to get things done and customise their online experience. To make this ecosystem successful, people need to be confident their data is secure, and developers need clear rules of the road,” Google’s chief privacy officer Keith Enright said on Friday.

New Zealand is happy to go under the radar as it prepares to launch the campaign for World Cup glory against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on Saturday.

The Black Caps reached the final four years ago for the first time after six semifinal defeats, only to be soundly beaten by Australia in Melbourne.


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