Category: 长沙夜网

24 Aug -

Syrian military says Aleppo evacuations complete, ending 4-year rebel hold on city

BEIRUT — The Syrian city of Aleppo returned to government control Thursday after the last remaining opposition fighters and civilians evacuated, ending a four-year rebel hold over parts of the country.

The announcement was made through an army statement broadcast on Syrian state TV shortly after the last four buses carrying fighters left through the Ramousseh crossing. Western Aleppo erupted in celebratory gunfire seen on Syrian TV, which showed uniformed soldiers and civilians shouting slogans in support of President Bashar Assad.

WATCH: Aleppo evacuees cry as pro-Assad media report city back under government control

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The Syrian government’s recapture of Aleppo is a major turning point in the Syrian civil war with potentially powerful political repercussions.

READ MORE: Aleppo evacuations resume as Syrian government regains control of city

It represents a momentous victory for President Bashar Assad and a crushing defeat for Syria’s opposition which will struggle to forge a way forward.

The ancient city has been divided into rebel and government parts since 2012.

“Thanks to the blood of our heroic martyrs, the heroic deeds and sacrifices of our armed forces and the allied forces, and the steadfastness of our people, the General Command of the Army and the Armed Forces announces the return of security and stability to Aleppo,” said the statement read by an army general.

VIDEO: Holocaust survivors want the World to pay attention to Aleppo

The statement said the victory in Aleppo is a “strategic transformation and a turning point in the war on terrorism and a deadly blow to the terrorist project and its supporters.”

It is a further incentive, it added, to go on fighting to “eradicate terrorism and restore security and stability to every span of the homeland.”

READ MORE: Buses headed to Aleppo for evacuation attacked, burned

Syrian President Bashar Assad said earlier that his forces’ achievements in Aleppo are a “major step on the road to wiping out terrorism” and should pave the way toward ending Syria’s civil war.

The rebel evacuations were set in motion last week after Syria’s opposition agreed to surrender its last footholds in eastern Aleppo. Since then, some 35,000 fighters and civilians have been bused out, according to the United Nations. The ICRC said in a statement that more than 4,000 additional fighters were evacuated in private cars, vans, and pick-ups from eastern Aleppo since Wednesday.

The departure of the last convoy paves the way for Assad to assume full control after more than four years of fighting over Syria’s largest city. It marks his most significant victory since an uprising against his family’s four-decade rule swept the country in 2011.

24 Aug -

Amanda Lindhout kidnapping: accused to face trial next October

A man charged with taking journalist Amanda Lindhout hostage in Somalia is slated to face trial by judge alone next October.

Three weeks have been set aside for the trial of Ali Omar Ader, which will come more than two years after he was arrested and over nine years after the abduction.

Watch below from June 2015: Amanda Lindhout is speaking out for the first time since the arrest of Ali Omar Ader for allegedly abducting her. She reveals that Ader tried to contact her last year and threatened her family. Reid Fiest reports.

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Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan were seized by masked gunmen near strife-scarred Mogadishu in August 2008. Both were released on Nov. 25, 2009.

Ader, a Somalian national, faces a criminal charge of hostage-taking for his purported role as a negotiator.

READ MORE: Amanda Lindhout responds to charges against her alleged captor

He was arrested by the RCMP in Ottawa in June 2015. The Mounties said Ader, 39, had been in town for a few days but the national police force has not publicly confirmed how he arrived in Canada.

At the time, RCMP Asst. Commissioner James Malizia said successfully prosecuting such a case “depends on a certain level of discretion.”

Watch below from June 12, 2015: In the first case of its kind, the RCMP have arrested a foreign national for kidnapping a Canadian. A man from Somalia was taken into custody in Ottawa, accused of abducting Amanda Lindhout in 2008. Vassy Kapelos looks at how a complex investigation finally produced results.

Pre-trial motions in the case are scheduled for early April. However, federal authorities have opted for a direct indictment, meaning there will be no preliminary inquiry.

The national prosecution service is saying little about the proceedings. However, in general, there are many reasons why a direct indictment may be preferable, including cases in which the age, health or other circumstances of witnesses would make it difficult for them to testify more than once.

Samir Adam, an Ottawa lawyer representing Ader, declined to discuss the case or his client.

Lindhout, 35, has published a best-selling memoir of her 460 days as a prisoner in which she revealed being assaulted in captivity. A Hollywood film of her story is in development.

READ MORE: Were Amanda Lindhout’s Somali captors the product of a failed state?

The native of Red Deer, Alta., has established the Global Enrichment Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering leadership in Somalia through educational and community-based programs.

Watch below from October 2013: Humanitarian and journalist Amanda Lindhout joins Global News to talk about her new book.

In recent years she has also written articles and given speeches focusing on forgiveness, compassion, social responsibility and determination.

The RCMP’s mandate extends beyond Canada’s borders, where the extra-territorial provisions of the Criminal Code come into effect. The Mounties have acknowledged the help of the Canada Border Services Agency, Foreign Affairs and the Australian Federal Police.

Details of the lengthy probe – which involved undercover operations, surveillance and wiretaps – will emerge in court, Malizia said last year after Ader was charged.

READ MORE: Somali man charged in Amanda Lindhout kidnapping

“This investigation posed a number of significant challenges as it was carried out in an extremely high-risk environment in a country plagued with political instability.”

Malizia also lauded Lindhout, Brennan and their families for their courage and for providing witness statements that assisted the police investigation.

“The RCMP fully understands that criminal investigations and the ensuing prosecutions are difficult,” he said. “Victims and witnesses must relive events that they should not have had to endure in the first place.”

24 Aug -

Authorities scramble to locate Tunisian man suspected of driving truck in Berlin attack

BERLIN – Authorities across Europe scrambled Thursday to track down a Tunisian man suspected of driving a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, as one of his brothers urged him to surrender.

Nearly three days after the deadly attack that killed 12 people and injured 48 others, the market in the centre of the capital was due to reopen.

WATCH: Dashcam video shows truck rushing towards Berlin Christmas market

German authorities issued a wanted notice for Anis Amri on Wednesday and offered a reward of up to 100,000 euros ($104,000) for information leading to the 24-year-old’s arrest, warning that he could be “violent and armed.”

WATCH: German police raid two apartments in Berlin, attack suspect not found

One of Amri’s brothers urged him to turn himself in.

“I ask him to turn himself in to the police. If it is proved that he is involved, we dissociate ourselves from it,” brother Abdelkader Amri told The Associated Press.

READ MORE: Berlin Christmas market attack: First victim was truck driver who was dedicated to his job

He said Amri may have been radicalized in prison in Italy, where he went after leaving Tunisia in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings.

German media reported several locations were searched overnight, including a refugee home in Emmerich on the Dutch border. There was no immediate comment from federal prosecutors, who are leading the investigation.

WATCH: Brothers of Berlin truck suspect ‘shocked’ by tragic attack

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The manhunt also prompted police in Denmark to search a Sweden-bound ferry in the port of Grenaa after receiving tips that someone resembling Amri had been spotted. But police said they found nothing indicating his presence.

An Israeli woman, Dalia Elyakim, has been identified as one of the 12 killed when a truck plowed into the market in central Berlin on Monday evening, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said.

READ MORE: Islamic State claims responsibility for Berlin truck attack, German officials still investigating

German officials had deemed Amri, who arrived in the country last year, a potential threat long before the attack – and even kept him under covert surveillance for six months this year before halting the operation.

They had been trying to deport him after his asylum application was rejected in July but were unable to do so because he lacked valid identity papers and Tunisia initially denied that he was a citizen.

Documents belonging to Amri, who according to authorities has used at least six different names and three different nationalities, were found in the cab of the truck.

Family members of Amri, speaking from his hometown of Oueslatia in central Tunisia, were shaken to learn that he was a suspect.

Amri left Tunisia years ago for Europe but had been in regular contact with his brothers via Facebook and phone.

Christmas market in Berlin reopens following attack

00:48

Christmas market in Berlin reopens following attack

01:10

‘It’s an attack on humanity’: President-elect Donald Trump comments on Berlin truck attack

01:50

Berlin attack: German investigators seek Tunisian man in Christmas market attack

03:50

Berlin mourners sing ‘We Are the World’ at site of market attack

04:13

Still no answers as to who orchestrated the Berlin Christmas market attack

01:46

Global News reporter recounts Berlin attack



24 Aug -

Euthanasia down, adoption up at animal shelters across Canada: report

Adoptions are up, euthanasia is down and the number of homeless pets in Canada’s animal shelters is lower, according to a report by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.

Overall, there were more than 82,000 cats and 35,000 dogs taken into Canadian shelters in 2015, according to a report released by the organization last week.

Barbara Cartwright, the CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, said the country’s shelter system has taken a more proactive approach to reducing numbers of homeless cats and dogs.

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“In the past it was reactive, taking the animals in as fast as you can and turn them out as fast as you can,” Cartwright said.

READ MORE: Halifax cats not suitable for adoption find new homes in barns

The charity collected 2015 data by sending out surveys to 170 humane societies and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelters across the country and 89 of those responded.

Cartwright said this is a typical response rate. Usually 85 to 100 shelters report back each year.

“We are comfortable with year-over-year comparisons because it’s around the same number of respondents every year,” Cartwright said, adding they can correct for it by comparing rates.

But, the report said, the data represents “only a fraction of homeless companion animals in Canada.”

It doesn’t capture private shelters, rescue and foster groups and municipal animal shelters.

READ MORE: New Brunswick chiropractic clinic has SPCA’s back when it comes to animal adoption

Still, it’s the only comprehensive study of the country’s animal shelter system, Cartwright said.

Things are slowly improving for the nation’s homeless cats, according to the report.

“While the proportion of stray dogs remained the same, the proportion of cats taken in as stray has been declining in recent years,” the report said.

The report cites “intake management” as one of the reasons for fewer cats in shelters.

“Rather than accepting any surrendered cat at any time, appointments are scheduled to take in surrendered cats when the shelter’s capacity permits in,” the report reads.

READ MORE: ‘We’re completely slammed with cats’: Shelters and rescues forced to turn animals away

“It is now understood to be a better practice to allow healthy, unowned outdoor cats to remain in their home location where they are thriving.”

And, the report said, more than 90 per cent of shelters say they don’t allow an animal to leave its care without being spayed or neutered – more than 58,000 cats and dogs in 2015 – to help control the pet population.

Adoption rates are up with 48 per cent of dogs and 57 per cent of cats adopted in 2015 – the highest level observed for cats in the two decades the charity has been collecting data.

Shelters are transferring pets to other shelters and rescue organizations as a way to increase adoption.

And “there is an increasing trend in the proportion of stray cats who are reclaimed,” the report said. “These observations inspire a sense of optimism that the message to provide identification for cats is reaching more of the public.”

There are fewer animals being killed at shelters.

READ MORE: Dog shot 5 times in Rio survives, to be put up for adoption

Euthanasia rates for cats were down: 21 per cent of cats taken in were destroyed in 2015, down from 27 per cent the year before and 54 per cent in 2008.

Cartwright said there is appears to be a correlation to limiting the number of cats taken in with euthanasia rates.

“We see high euthanasia rates when a whole bunch of cats get together in a shelter, they get stressed and get diseases and they end up being euthanized,” she said.

Euthanasia rates for dogs increased slightly in 2015 from the year before to more than 10 per cent of dogs taken in.

Overall, 15,341 cats and 2,820 dogs were euthanized last year.

READ MORE: How you can help stray animals: national adoption weekend

While the news is good, Cartwright said, much more needs to be done.

But cats can look to dogs for success.

“We definitely treat cats differently than dogs,” Cartwright said. “They tend to go to the vet less, they are very rarely microchipped, collared or identified in some way so they can get back home – they roam at large and it takes a while for owners, in general, to look for cats, compared to dogs.”

“We have a much looser ethic with cats and that needs to shift.”

24 Aug -

Canadian woman tried to bring her cat ‘Bella’ along for New Zealand holiday

A Canadian woman who authorities say managed to hide her 4-year-old pet cat Bella in her handbag during a flight across the Pacific Ocean had her vacation cut short when border agents discovered the ruse at Auckland Airport.

Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman Craig Hughes said Thursday that the woman was refused entry into the country and was forced to catch the next flight home with her cat. He called the woman’s actions were “reckless and dangerous.”

New Zealand has strict regulations for importing pets. Cats and dogs from most approved countries must have an implanted microchip and be kept in quarantine for a minimum of 10 days after arrival.

WATCH: Missing cat found two years later

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Hughes said the woman and her husband, both in their mid- to late-20s, managed to conceal the cat from the flight crew and other passengers during the 7,000-mile (11,300-kilometre) flight from Vancouver to Auckland.

“Apparently it was a very quiet cat. Very docile,” Hughes said, adding that it may have been given some drugs to make it drowsy.

He said that when the couple arrived at the airport, they said they had nothing to declare. He said border agents then determined they had muddy boots which needed inspecting. Agents then moved the couple’s bags to an X-ray machine.

READ MORE: Alberta conductor receives award after saving Q199 the ‘train cat’

Hughes said the woman was “very reluctant” to have her small handbag X-rayed and insisted it had already been checked. She finally admitted there was a cat inside, Hughes said, but then said she’d told a ticketing agent about Bella when she purchased her ticket.

Hughes said even if the woman’s story were true, which he doubted, it was still unacceptable to bring a cat across the border without declaring it. He said foreign cats could bring with them ticks and diseases that aren’t present in New Zealand.

He said the woman got upset about being sent back home.

“She had plans to have a nice holiday with her husband in New Zealand,” Hughes said. “And her cat.”

24 Jul -

Dead orca with signs of blunt-force trauma found near Sechelt

Marine researchers are trying determine what caused the death of a male killer whale found near Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday.

Paul Cottrell, the Marine Mammals Coordinator for Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), says they received a report of a dead whale on Dec. 20 when local residents called their 24-hour hotline.

The next morning, a team of researchers from DFO and the Vancouver Aquarium was dispatched to look for the whale.

After an extensive search in choppy waters, the team finally tracked the carcass down.

The dead whale has been identified as 18-year-old southern resident J34, who was well-known to researchers.

PHOTO GALLERY: Courtesy of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 

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Cottrell says they managed to get the necessary experts together to do a necropsy the same day.

It appears J34 sustained blunt-force trauma to his head and neck. Cottrell says the injuries are recent and could have been a contributing factor in the whale’s death.

The preliminary examination also showed the animal’s general body condition prior to death was good, but the full pathology report will take months to complete.

The southern resident killer whales are a clan of about 80 orcas that live in the waters off southern British Columbia and Washington State.

It’s an endangered population that’s now down to 79 species.

“It is very significant when we get a death in an endangered population,” said Cottrell. “So this necropsy will hopefully provide more information on the cause of death.”

The 22-foot carcass will be re-purposed by the Sechelt First Nation for social and ceremonial purposes.

24 Jul -

New SFU study highlights how transportation costs associated with living in suburbs can add up

Much has been made of housing costs in Metro Vancouver.

But a new study from Andy Yan, the director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, said the price of the mortgage isn’t the whole story. Transportation costs need to be included in the overall affordability equation.

In that case, living in Langley isn’t quite the bargain many people thought it was.

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“Transportation is like an iceberg. We only see the top 10 per cent, but the bulk of the cost is hidden,” he said.

The data come from Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey. On average, a city dweller spends $298,459 on transportation over the 25-year life time of a mortgage. Included in that is everything from public transit to gas to bike maintenance. In Langley, that number jumps to $566,755. It is like a second mortgage and Yan says the theory of driving until you can afford a home is flawed. Studies have shown in the 2008 housing crisis in the U.S., the people with the highest transportation costs had the highest default rates.

“The only way to reduce the costs is to improve transit access to the suburbs,” Yan said.

The number everyone talks about is $1 million. Homes that have surpassed that psychological barrier have become the benchmark for what people can afford.

MORE: Here’s what $1-million homes look like in 16 Canadian cities

In Vancouver, 89 per cent of all single-family homes are worth more than $1 million. With transportation costs included the number jumps to 99 per cent.

In Langley, the numbers aren’t all that much different. Fewer than 1 per cent of homes are assessed at more than $1 million, but with transportation costs added the number jumps to more than 70 per cent. It’s an indication of just how much transportation adds to the total cost.

“It shows how much work we have to do on regional planning.”

Yan believes Metro Vancouver can make transportation more accessible.

“The more we design our region to be livable, the more we can reduce this transportation cost,” he said.

Data from the 2016 survey are starting to trickle in. By the New Year Yan hopes to have an update to his numbers.

“It could show an increase in costs, or it might show a decline, but it will still be a large amount of money people will have to pay somehow.”

24 Jul -

Edmonton Oilers end the Coyote curse with win over Arizona

Edmonton’s fourth line combined for seven points, Cam Talbot stopped 28 shots and the Oilers beat the Arizona Coyotes in regulation for the first time in 26 games with a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night.

Arizona had gone 21-0-4 its previous 25 games against the Oilers, including a pair of wins this season. Edmonton jumped on the Coyotes with two goals in the first period and pushed the lead to 3-0 in the second to beat Arizona for the first time since Jan. 25, 2011.

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    READ MORE: Coyotes continue dominance over the Edmonton Oilers

    Arizona’s points streak had been tied for sixth-most against one opponent in NHL history.

    Mark Letestu had a goal and two assists, and linemate Matt Hendricks had a goal and an assist. Fellow fourth-liner Zack Kassian had two assists for the Oilers, who have won four of five.

    Martin Hanzal had a goal and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored with 6.1 seconds left for the Coyotes, who have lost three straight.

    The Oilers got off to a good start in their quest to end the streak against Arizona, scoring midway through the first period.

    Letestu had it, one-timing a feed from Kassian to beat Mike Smith to the stick side for his seventh of the season. The Coyotes challenged that Smith was interfered with, but the goal stood after a review.

    Edmonton went up 2-0 late in the period on a power play when a shot by Letestu hit Coyotes defenceman Alex Goligoski’s skate, then Milan Lucic’s, and slipped inside the right post.

    The Oilers had the Coyotes on their heels to start the second, sending a flurry of shots at Smith. Hendricks scored at the end of it, beating Smith after the puck bounced off the boards out front.

    The Coyotes finally showed a glimpse of life on a power play midway through the second, with Hanzal redirecting a shot by Radim Vrbata past Talbot.

    Ekman-Larsson scored on a power play in the closing seconds, but the Coyotes didn’t have enough time to score again.

    NOTES: Arizona captain Shane Doan played in his 1,499th career game, matching Mike Modano for 17th on the NHL’s career list. … Kassian appeared to have a goal on a wraparound seconds after Hendricks scored, but it was ruled no goal on the ice and upon review. … Edmonton D Eric Gryba was issued a game misconduct for a hit to the head for a check on Jakob Chychrun, who was falling to the ice after being hit by Kassian.

    UP NEXT:

    Oilers: Close out their three-game trip at San Jose on Friday night before getting six days off.

    Coyotes: Host Toronto on Friday night and Dallas three days later.

24 Jul -

Alberta man pulls up to Tim Hortons drive-thru in his Zamboni: ‘It was the most Canadian thing’

It’s just the first day of winter and so for the next few months, many people across the country will be taking part in quintessentially Canadian winter pastimes like tending to the backyard rink or grabbing a coffee from Tim Hortons. While doing those things won’t get you all that much attention, combining the two certainly will.

That’s exactly what a 34-year-old manager of a crane business did on Tuesday when he wheeled his Zamboni through the Tim Hortons drive-thru in Stony Plain, Alta.

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“I ordered a large hot chocolate and came through the drive-thru – there was about three people sticking their heads out the window, all smiling and telling me this is the best thing they’ve ever seen and no worries about the order (because) the lady in front of me actually picked up my order,” Jesse Myshak said.

“She told the guys that it was the most Canadian thing she’s ever seen so she figured she’d better buy my order for me,” he laughed.

Myshak said he recently bought the Zamboni to use on the backyard rink he built for his kids: an eight-year-old girl and a seven- and four-year-old son. He had been working on the Zamboni at his garage at work and had to get it to his rural home about four kilometres outside of Stony Plain.

WATCH: Could there be anything more Canadian than a lineup at Tim Horton’s drive-thru? A man from Stony Plain, AB took it to the next level when he drove his Zamboni up to the window. Reid Fiest Reports.

READ MORE: Alberta engineers design homemade Zamboni for outdoor rink

“I figured it would be cost-effective and easier to drive it home so I told the boys at the shop I was taking off and going to run the Zamboni to the house and they all kind of made jokes that I should stop by Tim Hortons and grab a coffee… and take it through the drive-thru,” he said. I figured, ‘Might as well grab something warm on the way’ and so I pulled through the drive-thru.”

It was lunchtime and so the coffee and donut chain was busy and Myshak said his drive-thru stunt got alot of people smiling.

“As soon as I pulled up, people came out and were taking pictures… a lot of honks.. it was pretty funny.”

Myshak said a man who had just been at his shop saw him pull up on the ice-resurfacing machine and took some video which Myshak ended up posting on 桑拿会所.

Watch: Surveillance footage provided by Tim Hortons captures a man taking his Zamboni through the drive-thru in Stony Plain.

When asked if he was concerned about how safe driving the machine through town was or if he feared any legal repercussions, Myshak didn’t seem too worried about it.

“I mean a few people kind of said, ‘Hopefully you don’t get a ticket,’” he said. “Just to be safe, I had one of our guys follow me there in his pickup with the four-ways on when I came onto the highway.

“We had a county cop pass us and no lights were thrown on so it worked out OK.”

Watch below: It doesn’t get much more Canadian than this. An Alberta man became an Internet sensation when he drove his Zamboni through a Tim Hortons drive-thru. Kent Morrison has the story. 

When asked why he needed such a professional-looking Zamboni for his backyard rink, Myshak described its size: 100 feet by 40 feet, or about half the size of an NHL rink.

READ MORE: Canadians prove backyard rinks won’t become history

Myshak said the rink is highly appreciated by his children and their many friends who come to play the most Canadian of sport on it: ice hockey.

Jesse Myshak stands in front of his Zamboni at his backyard rink just outside of Stony Plain, Alta.

COURTESY: Jesse Myshak

Jesse Myshak takes his Zamboni for a spin on his backyard rink just outside of Stony Plain, Alta.

COURTESY: Jesse Myshak

24 Jun -

Mississippi church member charged in ‘Vote Trump’ arson

A Mississippi man with a prior criminal record was arrested Wednesday in the burning of an African-American church that was spray-painted with the words “Vote Trump,” and the church’s bishop said the man is a member of the congregation.

The state fire marshal said investigators do not believe the fire was politically motivated, but there a signs it may have been done to appear that way.

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Andrew McClinton, 45, of Leland, Mississippi, is scheduled to make an initial court appearance Thursday in Greenville – the city where Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church was burned and vandalized Nov. 1, a week before the presidential election.

READ MORE: FBI looking into fire at black church which someone tagged with ‘Vote Trump’

McClinton is charged with first degree arson of a place of worship, said Warren Strain, spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

Hopewell Bishop Clarence Green said McClinton, who is African-American, is a member of the church. Green said he didn’t know about the arrest until he was called by The Associated Press.

“This is the first I have heard of it,” said Green, who said he was attending to other church duties and didn’t have time for a longer interview.

It was not immediately clear whether McClinton is represented by an attorney.

The investigation is continuing, and officials have not revealed a possible motive.

“We do not believe it was politically motivated. There may have been some efforts to make it appear politically motivated,” Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, who is also the fire marshal, told AP.

This is a Mississippi Department of Public Safety provided undated state driver’s license photograph of Andrew McClinton, of Leland, Miss., who was arrested by the Greenville Police Department, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 in Greenville , Miss., in connection with the Nov. 1, 2016 fire at Greenville’s Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church.

Mississippi Department of Public Safety via AP

Mississippi Department of Corrections records show McClinton was sentenced in 1991 to three years’ probation for a grand larceny conviction in Washington County, where Greenville is the county seat. His probation was revoked in 1992 for receiving stolen property in Greenville, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Grace Simmons Fisher.

In 1997, McClinton was sentenced to seven years for attempted robbery in Lee County. And, in 2004, he was convicted of armed robbery in Lee County. He served eight years in prison and was released in January 2012. His time served included days he was jailed before trial.

McClinton’s supervision by the department ended in February, the spokeswoman said.

Greenville is a Mississippi River port city of about 32,100 people, and about 78 per cent of its residents are African-American. While it’s not unusual for people of different racial backgrounds to work and eat lunch together, local residents say the congregations at most churches remain clearly identifiable by race.

Greenville Mayor Errick D. Simmons on Wednesday called the church burning “a direct assault on the Hopewell congregation’s right to freely worship.”

“There is no place for this heinous and divisive behaviour in our city,” Simmons said. “We will not rest until the culprit is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We take pride in our work to have a unified city and we look forward in continuing that work.”

Hopewell was founded in 1905 in the heart of an African-American neighbourhood, and the congregation now has about 200 members. While some walls of the beige brick church survived the fire, the empty windows are boarded up and church leaders have said the structure will likely be razed. Rebuilding could take months.

After the fire, Hopewell congregants began worshipping in a chapel at predominantly white First Baptist Church of Greenville. Bishop Green said last month the generosity of First Baptist demonstrates that “unlimited love” transcends social barriers. James Nichols, senior pastor at First Baptist, said the Hopewell members are welcome to stay as long as they need a home.

Greenville is in Washington County, a traditional Democratic stronghold in a solidly Republican state. In the Nov. 8 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump easily carried Mississippi, but Democrat Hillary Clinton received more than twice the vote of Trump in Washington County – 11,380 for Clinton to 5,244 for Trump.

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