Japanese PM Shinzo Abe visits Sabarmati Ashram, Sidi Saiyyed mosque

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe visits Sabarmati Ashram, Sidi Saiyyed mosque on day one 

PM Modi breaks protocol to greet Japanese PM. The last time Narendra Modi broke protocol to recieve a foreign dignitary, it was Barack Obama’s India visit. The Indian prime minister broke protocol to receive the then US president, Barack Obama. This time around, he was again received Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. The procedure laid down for the heads of governments visits is that a minister of Cabinet rank usually greets the dignitary at the airport. Japanese PM

Keeping a date with history, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe visited the Sabarmati Ashram soon after the latter’s arrival here on a two-day visit. The two leaders and Japan’s First Lady Akie Abe paid floral tributes to a portrait and a bust of Mahatma Gandhi.
Modi took the visiting dignitaries on a tour of the Ashram as the trio posed for pictures, including one in front of a charkha. After his return to India from South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi set up his first ashram at Kochrab in Ahmedabad in May 1915 but then shifted it to the banks of the Sabarmati river in June 1917.
The Sabarmati Ashram was home to Gandhi from 1917 until 1930 and served as one of the main centres of the Indian freedom struggle. During Wednesday’s visit, Abe and his wife also signed on the visitors’ book of the Ashram.
Earlier in the day, breaking protocol, Modi personally received Abe at the Sardar Vallabhhai Patel International airport with a warm hug. The visiting dignitary was given a guard of honour while artists from different parts of the country presented a variety of programmes.
The two leaders and Akie Abe boarded an open jeep and proceeded from the airport to the historic Sabarmati Ashram with thousands of cheering people lining both sides of the eight-and-a-half km route. On Thursday, Modi and Abe will participate in the ground breaking ceremony of the ambitious Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail project at the Athletic Stadium near Sabarmati railway station.
Thereafter, they will hold the 12th Annual Bilateral Summit in Gandhinagar following which a number of agreements are expected to be signed. This will be the fourth annual summit between Modi and Abe, where they are expected to review the progress in the multifaceted cooperation between India and Japan under the framework of their Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
Japan is one of only two countries with which India has such an annual summit mechanism, the other being Russia.
The two Prime Ministers will also attend an India-Japan Business Leaders Forum.
-13 September 2017 | IANS | Ahmedabad

PM Modi is the most followed world leader on Facebook

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most followed world leader on Facebook

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most followed world leader on Facebook

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become the most followed world leader on Facebook, as per the newly released 2017 “World Leaders on Facebook” study.

The study has been done by leading strategic communications and global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller.

Also, PM Modi also had the most interactions (likes, comments and shares) of any world leader on Facebook in 2016.

He had 169 million interactions as of February 1, 2017.

On the other hand, second-placed world leader, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen had 58 million interactions.

Meanwhile, the now archived @ObamaWhite House page is in third place with 36 million interactions.

Former US president Barack Obama was until recently the most followed world leader on Facebook with 52 million followers.

PR Newswire quoted Don Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller as saying – “Burson-Marsteller’s second installment of the world leaders on Facebook study demonstrates the effectiveness of political communications on the platform. It will be interesting see if business leaders take lessons from the ways world leaders use Facebook, such as bringing a personal tone to their communications.”

-February 21, 2017, New Delhi

 

Donald Trump sworn in as 45th President of United States

Donald Trump sworn in as 45th President of United States

Donald Trump was on 20 January, 2017 sworn in as the 45th President of the United States during a historic transfer of power. The Republican leader will succeed Democrat Barack Obama, who served two terms as president of the nation. In his swearing in speech, Donald Trump addressed the challenges ahead of him and vowed to get the job done as he thanked outgoing president Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for being “magnificent” during the presidential transition.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump reassured the citizens that he was going to get power back to the American people. He focused on the people and promised to get their wealth back. He claimed that the inauguration day was not just a transfer of power for him but a transfer of power to the people who have long borne the ills of the wealth and power being concentrated in Washington.

“We are not merely transferring power. We are transferring power from Washington DC and giving it back to you the people. For too long, a small group has reaped the rewards while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished but the people did not share in its wealth. The establishment protected itself. There was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land; that all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment and it belongs to you and to everyone gathered here. This is your day,” he said.

Emphasising on people having the power while he is President, he said, “Our government is now controlled by the people. January 20, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. Forgotten men and women will no longer be forgotten.”

Reiterating his campaign stance, he vowed to ensure that jobs for Americans come before jobs for foreign nationals. “That is the past, now we are looking only to the future,” he said, adding, “From this day onward, it’s going to be only America first. Every decision will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”

Addressing the “reasonable” demands of a “righteous” people, he also acknowledged that for many Americans the reality is different. He said that many are still living in poverty, factories have been shut amounting to lack of jobs, education system that is inaccessible to some and the young lives that have been robbed of opportunity due to drugs, gangs and crimes will all be taken care of in his regime, saying he will fight for them all with every breath in his body.

“I will fight for you with every breath in my body and will never ever let you down. America will start winning again like never before. We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American,” he said.

Trump also talked about the military and said they will no longer be protecting other people’s borders and lives and that the safety of Americans will come first. He also said that subsidies to other countries have helped make the world better but at the cost of America and that will stop with him.

“For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry. Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own, and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon. One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world. But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future,” he said.

He reinforced the importance of being loyal to the country and being patriotic, regardless of what colour they are. “It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag,” he said.

Addressing Radical Islamic Terrorism, he also vowed in his speech to eradicate is completely. “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth,” he said.

He promised safety to Americans and said that if they all are united, America will be unstoppable. “At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable,” he said.

He ended his speech by summing up his speech by promising again full attention to the people, their hopes and dreams, their voice and hailing his campaign promise of making America great again.

“So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, We Will Make America Strong Again. We Will Make America Wealthy Again. We Will Make America Proud Again. We Will Make America Safe Again. And, Yes, Together, We Will Make America Great Again. Thank you, God Bless You, And God Bless America,” he ended.

Hours before his swearing-in ceremony, Trump tweeted, “It all begins today! I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES – THE WORK BEGINS!” The President-elect also met outgoing President Barack Obama at the White House. Obama told Trump that it was good to see him. They exchanged pleasantries, and Melania Trump brought a gift for Michelle Obama.

–  New Delhi | January 21, 2017|

Barack Obama delivers farewell speech

Barack Obama delivers farewell speech

Barack Obama delivers farewell speech, says `we rise or fall as one`

Addressing the nation for the last time as the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama on Tuesday advocated for religious freedom and called on supporters to pick up the torch and forge a new “social compact”.

Saying goodbye to the US citizens in a dramatic reinterpretation of a presidential farewell address, Obama asserted, “Democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity, for all our outward differences, we are all in this together,” adding, “we rise or fall as one.”

Capping his eight years in office, Obama returned to his adoptive hometown of Chicago to recast his “yes we can” campaign credo as “yes we did.”

He said that he recieved a lot of messages and it was his turn to say thanks. While noting that he America was a better place now, Obama told his supporters that they made him a better President.

“After eight years as your President, I still believe that, and it’s not just my belief. It’s the beating heart of our American idea — our bold experiment in self-government,” he said.

In an emotional address enriched with wisdom and optimism, the outgoing President said he would never give up on his vision for change and reminding Americans that they made him a better leader.

“This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it, he said.

In comments that resonate as Americans ponder whether Russia helped to put Trump in the White House, Obama said “that order is now being challenged.”

“First by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets, open democracies, and civil society itself as a threat to their power.”

“The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile.”

Instead of the Oval Office or East Room for his last formal set of remarks, Obama chose Chicago — the city where he declared victory in 2008 and 2012 — to address a sold-out crowd of supporters.

Earlier, he wrote on Facebook that he was returning to the city “where it all started.”

Obama also raised the issue of global warming saying, “We can and should argue about the best approach to solve the problem.”

“But to simply deny the problem, not only betrays future generations, it betrays the essential spirit of this country, the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our founders.”

-January 11, 2017, Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

Barack Obama signs $618 bn defence bill

Barack Obama signs $618 bn defence bill; boosts security coop with India

Barack Obama signs $618 bn defence bill; boosts security coop with India

US President Barack Obama has signed into law the USD 618 billion defence budget for 2017, which enhances security cooperation with India and conditions nearly half of the funding to Pakistan on a certification that it is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network.

Currently vacationing in Hawaii, Obama yesterday signed the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017, which asks Defence Secretary and Secretary of State to take steps necessary to recognise India as America’s “major defence partner”.

A summary of the bill released by Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator John McCain said NDAA-2017 “enhances security cooperation” between the US and India.

It also asks the administration to designate an individual within the executive branch who has experience in defence acquisition and technology to reinforce and ensure, through inter-agency policy coordination, the success of the Framework for the US-India Defence Relationship; and to help resolve remaining issues impeding US-India defence trade, security cooperation, and co-production and co-development opportunities.

The NDAA, which among other things creates a USD 1.2 billion Counter-ISIL Fund, imposes four conditions on Pakistan to be eligible for USD 400 million of the USD 900 million of the coalition support fund (CSF).

The US Defence Secretary needs to certify to the Congress that Pakistan continues to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly disrupting the safe haven and freedom of movement of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan and that Islamabad has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani Network from using any of its territory as a safe haven.

Early this year, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter refused to give a similar certification to Pakistan due to which it was not given USD 300 million under coalition support fund.

In his signing statement, Obama did not mention to any of these provisions of the bill, but he did expressed disappointment over certain other provisions in NDAA-2017.

He said: “I remain deeply concerned about the Congress’s use of the National Defence Authorisation Act to impose extensive organisational changes on the Department of Defence, disregarding the advice of the Department’s senior civilian and uniformed leaders.

“The extensive changes in the bill are rushed, the consequences poorly understood, and they come at a particularly inappropriate time as we undertake a transition between administrations. These changes not only impose additional administrative burdens on the Department of Defence and make it less agile, but they also create additional bureaucracies and operational restrictions that generate inefficiencies at a time when we need to be more efficient.”

-December 24, 2016,Washington

 

Matthew toll nears 900 in Haiti , storm lashes Florida

Hurricane Matthew toll nears 900 in Haiti, heavy storm lashes Florida; 350,000 in need of urgent aid

Hurricane Matthew toll nears 900 in Haiti, heavy storm lashes Florida; 350,000 in need of urgent aid

Hurricane Hurricane Matthew`s trail of destruction in Haiti stunned those emerging from the aftermath on Friday, with the number of dead soaring to 877, tens of thousands left homeless and outbreaks of cholera already claiming more lives.

Information trickled in from remote areas that were cut off by the storm and it became clear that at least 175 people died in villages clustered among the hills and on the coast of Haiti`s fertile western tip.

Matthew triggered mass evacuations along the United States coast from Florida through Georgia and into South Carolina and North Carolina.

U.S. President Barack Obama urged people not to be complacent and to heed safety instructions.

“The potential for storm surge, loss of life and severe property damage exists,” Obama told reporters, after a briefing with emergency management officials about the fiercest cyclone to affect the United States since Superstorm Sandy four years ago.

Matthew smashed through Haiti’s western peninsula on Tuesday with 145 mile-per-hour (233 km-per-hour) winds and torrential rain. Some 61,500 people were in shelters, officials said, after the storm pushed the sea into fragile coastal villages, some of which were only now being contacted.

While highlighting the misery of underdevelopment in Haiti, which is still recovering from a devastating 2010 earthquake, the storm looked certain to rekindle the debate about global warming and the long-term threat posed to low-lying cities and towns by rising sea levels.

At least three towns in the hills and coast of Haiti`s fertile western tip reported dozens of people killed, including the farming village of Chantal where the mayor said 86 people died, mostly when trees crushed houses. He said 20 others were missing.

“A tree fell on the house and flattened it. The entire house fell on us. I couldn’t get out,” said driver Jean-Pierre Jean-Donald, 27, who had been married for only a year.

“People came to lift the rubble, and then we saw my wife who had died in the same spot,” Jean-Donald said, his young daughter by his side, crying “Mommy.”

In the town of Anse-d`Hainault, seven people died of cholera, a disease that did not exist in Haiti until U.N. peace keepers introduced it after a 2010 earthquake that killed some 200,000 people.

Another 17 cholera cases were reported in Chardonnieres on the south coast.

“Due to massive flooding and its impact on water and sanitation infrastructure, cholera cases are expected to surge after Hurricane Matthew and through the normal rainy season until the start of 2017,” the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said in a statement.

With cellphone networks down and roads flooded, aid has been slow to reach hard-hit areas in Haiti. Food was scarce, and at least seven people died of cholera, likely because of flood water mixing with sewage.

The Mesa Verde, a U.S. Navy amphibious transport dock ship, was heading for Haiti to support relief efforts. The ship has heavy-lift helicopters, bulldozers, fresh water delivery vehicles and two surgical operating rooms.

Matthew sideswiped Florida’s coast with winds of up to 120 mph (195 kph) but did not make landfall in the state. The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded the storm to a Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity as its sustained winds dropped to 110 mph. Category 5 is the strongest.

There were at least four storm-related deaths in Florida but no immediate reports of significant damage in cities and towns where the storm swamped streets, toppled trees and knocked out power to more than 1 million people.

Two people were killed by falling trees, according to Florida officials, and an elderly couple died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator while sheltering from the storm inside a garage.

Hurricane warnings late on Friday extended up the Atlantic coast from northeast Florida through Georgia and South Carolina and into North Carolina.

In Daytona Beach, the street under the city`s famed “World`s Most Famous Beach” sign was clogged with debris washed up by the ocean. The waves had receded by early afternoon, but there was damage throughout the city, including a facade ripped off the front of a seaside hotel.

Robert Walker, a 51-year-old mechanic, weathered the worst of the storm in his seaside Daytona Beach apartment where high-powered winds peeled back the roof.

“It sounded like a jet plane coming over. I was scared,” said Walker, as he stood in front of the battered remains of the two-story building.

At 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT Saturday) Matthew’s eye or center was about 90 miles (140 km) east-southeast of Savannah, Georgia and moving northward at 12 miles (19 km) per hour, the NHC said.

After passing near or over the coast of Georgia it was on a track that would put it near or over South Carolina on Saturday. Though gradually weakening, it was forecast to remain a hurricane until it begins moving away from the U.S. Southeast on Sunday, the NHC said.

Craig Fugate, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said he was concerned that relatively light damage so far could give people up the coast a false sense of security.

“People should not be looking at the damages they’re seeing and saying this storm is not that bad,” Fugate told NBC.

“The real danger still is storm surge, particularly in northern Florida and southern Georgia. These are very vulnerable areas. They`ve never seen this kind of damage potential since the late 1800s,” Fugate said.

In St. Augustine just south of Jacksonville, Florida, about half of the 14,000 residents refused to heed evacuation orders despite warnings of an 8-foot (2.4-meter) storm surge that could sink entire neighborhoods, Mayor Nancy Shaver said in a telephone interview from the area’s emergency operations center.

Television images later showed water surging through streets in the historic downtown area of St. Augustine, the oldest U.S. city and a major tourist attraction.

“There’s that whole inability to suspend disbelief that I think really affects people in a time like this,” Shaver said.

-October 8, 2016, Haiti

 

Nations engaged in proxy wars must end them:Obama

Nations engaged in proxy wars must end them: Barack Obama at UNGA

Nations engaged in proxy wars must end them: Barack Obama at UNGA

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday asked nations engaged in “proxy wars” to end them, warning that if communities are not allowed to co-exist, the “embers of extremism will continue to burn” causing sufferings to countless human beings and export of extremism overseas.

In his eighth and final address to the UN General Assembly as the US President, Obama admitted that the extremist and sectarian violence destabilising the Middle East and spreading elsewhere “will not be quickly reversed.”

“No external power is going to be able to force different religious communities or ethnic communities to co-exist for long,” Obama told the world leaders gathered here for the 71st UN General Assembly session.

“Until basic questions are answered about how communities co-exist, the embers of extremism will continue to burn. Countless human beings will suffer and extremism will continue to be exported overseas,” he warned.

“Across-the-regions conflicts, we have to insist that all parties recognise a common humanity and the nations end proxy wars that fuel disorders,” he said.

India accuses Pakistan of waging a proxy war by supporting, arming and training militant groups like Jaish-e- Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba who launch cross border attacks.

In one of the deadliest attacks on the Indian Army in recent years, 18 soldiers were killed by heavily armed Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militants who stormed a battalion headquarters of the force in Kashmir’s Uri town early Sunday.

Obama’s remarks a day after his Secretary of State John Kerry asked Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to prevent terrorists from using his country’s territory as safe havens.

In his speech, Obama recounted the progress made in the last eight years of his presidency and said “from the depths of the greatest financial crisis of our times we coordinated a response to avoid further catastrophe and return the global economy to growth.”

“We have taken away terrorist safe havens, strengthened the non-proliferation regime, resolved the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy. We opened relations with Cuba…And we welcome a democratically elected leader of Myanmar to this Assembly,” he said.

-PTI,September 20, 2016,United Nations

Trump accuses Obama of being the ‘founder of ISIS’

Trump accuses Obama of being the ‘founder of ISIS’

Donald Trump has accused President Barack Obama of establishing the Islamic State group that is wreaking havoc from the Middle East to European cities. A moment later on another topic, he referred to the president by his full legal name: Barack Hussein Obama.
 Trump
“In many respects, you know, they honour President Obama,” Trump said during a raucous campaign rally outside Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “He is the founder of ISIS.”
He repeated the allegation three more times for emphasis. The Republican presidential nominee in the past has accused his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, of founding the militant group. As he shifted the blame to Obama yesterday, he said that “crooked Hillary Clinton” was actually the group’s co-founder.
Trump has long blamed Obama and his former secretary of state Clinton for pursuing Mideast policies that created a power vacuum in Iraq that was exploited by IS, another acronym for the group. He’s sharply criticised Obama for announcing he would pull US troops out of Iraq, a decision that many Obama critics say created the kind of instability in which extremist groups like IS thrive.
The White House declined to comment on Trump’s accusation.
The Islamic State group began as Iraq’s local affiliate of al-Qaeda, the group that attacked the US on 9/11. The group carried out massive attacks against Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority, fueling tensions with al-Qaida’s central leadership.
The local group’s then-leader, Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in 2006 in a US airstrike but is still seen as the Islamic State group’s founder.
Trump’s accusation and his use of the president’s middle name, Hussein echoed of previous instances where he’s questioned Obama’s loyalties.
In June, when a shooter who claimed allegiance to IS killed 49 people in an Orlando, Florida nightclub, Trump seemed to suggest Obama was sympathetic to the group when he said Obama “doesn’t get it or, or he gets it better than anybody understands.” In the past, Trump has also falsely suggested Obama is a Muslim or was born in Kenya, where Obama’s father was from.
The president, a Christian, was born in Hawaii. Trump lobbed the allegation midway through his rally at a sports arena, where riled-up supporters shouted obscenities about Clinton and joined in unison to shout “lock her up.”
He railed against the fact that the Orlando shooter’s father, Seddique Mateen, was spotted in the crowd behind Clinton during a Monday rally in Florida, adding, “Of course he likes Hillary Clinton.”
Sitting behind Trump at his rally on Wednesday was former Republican Mark Foley, R-Fla, who resigned in 2006 after allegations he sent sexually suggestive messages to former House pages.
-11 August 2016 | AP | Sunrise (US)

Barack Obama might visit India for GES

Barack Obama might visit India for Global Entrepreneurship Summit 

Over 700 entrepreneurs and more than 300 investors from 170 countries are attending the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. India has also sent a large contingent. During his visit to the US early this month, Modi had invited Obama to India. Obama is the first American president to visit India twice.

US President Barack Obama today said he might visit India next year if invited for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).Barack Obama

“You know, I’ll try to stop by, if I’m invited,” Obama said in his address to GES at Stanford University in California. GES is a personal initiative of Obama to bring entrepreneurs from across the globe on one platform.

After meeting Obama at the White House early this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India would host the next GES. The Obama Administration has thanked India for continuing Obama’s legacy.

“It is really fitting that we are all gathered here for this, the final gathering of the GES under President Obama. But it will continue, and as you all know, will take place next year in India,” the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, had said in his address to the summit yesterday.

The first GES was held in the US in 2010 thereafter it has been hosted by Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Morocco and Kenya.

Over 700 entrepreneurs and more than 300 investors from 170 countries are attending the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. India has also sent a large contingent. During his visit to the US early this month, Modi had invited Obama to India. Obama is the first American president to visit India twice.

A senior administration official said Obama is unlikely to visit India in the remaining seven months of his presidency, but did not rule out his travel along with that of the First Lady after they leave the White House next year.

-25 June 2016 | PTI | Washington

At least 50 killed in Florida gay nightclub shooting

At least 50 killed in Florida gay nightclub shooting

Pulse Orlando, a nightclub in the city, posted a note to its own Facebook page that said “Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running.”

A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun took hostages and opened fire inside a crowded Florida gay nightclub, killing approximately 50 people and wounding 53 others before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said on Sunday.

Latest updates:

20: 30: A state of emergency has been declared across the city of Orlando, Mayor Dyer says, to allow law enforcement officials to focus on the investigation.

20: 12 pm: Still determining whether the shooting was a hate crime or a terrorist act or a violent crime: FBI

20: 10 pm: This is one of the worst mass shootings in US history: Police Chief John Mina

19: 15 pm: Shooter named as Omar Mateen, US citizen of Afghan descent: TV networks

18: 50 pm: President Barack Obama briefed by counter-terrorism aide on Orlando shooting: White House

17: 15 pm: Florida nightclub shooter was armed with assault-type rifle, handgun, some type of device: Police Chief

17: 05 pm: There is no indication that this shooting is related to the one on Friday, where singer Christina Grimmie was shot dead, police says.

17: 00 pm: Orlando shooting suspect may have ‘leanings’ to Islamic extremism: FBI

16: 50 pm: “About 20 people were killed,” he added.

16: 45 pm: Nine officers were involved in shooting the suspect, Police Chief says.

16: 45 pm: Orlando Police begin briefing on the incident. “Multiple people’ dead inside Florida nightclub; at least 42 wounded taken to hospitals,” Police Chief John Mina says.

15:30 pm: The gunman behind the attack is dead, police said, describing the scene as a “mass casualty situation.”

A post on the department’s official Twitter account early Sunday morning said “multiple injuries” have been reported following the incident at the Pulse Orlando nightclub near Orange and Kaley avenue. The department also advises people to “stay away from area.”

Multiple emergency vehicles have reportedly responded, including the Orlando Fire Department’s bomb squad and hazardous material team.

Pulse Orlando’s earlier posted on its own Facebook page- “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.”

The incident follows the fatal shooting on Friday of 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie, who was killed after her concert in Orlando by a 27-year-old Florida man who later killed himself. Grimmie was a YouTube sensation and former contestant on “The Voice.”

-AP, ORLANDO (FLORIDA), June 12, 2016