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Remembering September 11th attacks in New York City, 15 years later

Commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, hundreds gathered in lower Manhattan

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11 September 2001 Picture credits: WIKIPEDIA COMMONS
  • September 11, 2001, was the deadliest day in history for New York City firefighters: 343 were killed 
  • Structural steel of the skyscraper, built to withstand winds in excess of 200 miles per hour and a large conventional fire, could not withstand the tremendous heat generated by the burning jet fuel
  • Osama Bin Laden was the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks

September 12, 2016: Hundreds gathered in lower Manhattan Sunday morning to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and to honor thousands of people who lost their lives. Al-Qaida terrorists hijacked four planes and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon near Washington, while one crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

Paying tribute to the victims. Picture Credits: VOA

The ceremony began at 8:40 a.m. at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum with the national anthem and a reading of names of those killed in both the 2001 and 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center. Attended by the families of those killed in those attacks, elected officials, first responders and others, the event includes six moments of silence, timed to commemorate significant moments on Sept. 11, 2001.

President Barack Obama observed a moment of silence at the White House on Sunday. “We remember and we will never forget the nearly 3,000 beautiful lives taken from us so cruelly,” Obama said. “We wonder how their lives might have unfolded, how their dreams might have taken shape.”

He vowed that terrorists “will never be able to defeat a nation as great and as strong as America,” praising the country’s diverse ethnic population comprised of people of all races and religions as “one of our greatest strengths.”

Graffiti by an artist. Picture Credits: Wikimedia common
Graffiti by an artist. Picture Credits: Wikimedia common

Obama, commemorating the September 11, 2001 attacks for the last time as president before leaving office in January, said, “This is the America that was attacked that September morning. This is the America that we must remain true to.”

“Fifteen years ago, a September day that began like any other became one of the darkest in our nation’s history,” Obama said Saturday in his weekly address.

The president said those killed were “from all walks of life, all races and religions, all colors and creeds, from across America and around the world.” It was the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941 at the start of World War II.

People read the names of the victims during a commemoration ceremony for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. The country’s leading 2016 presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, paid their respects at Ground Zero but halted their political campaigns for the day.

As daylight ended Sunday in New York, spotlights projected two giant beams of light into the sky to represent the fallen twin towers of the World Trade Center.

Nineteen hijackers, 15 of them from Saudi Arabia, were killed in the attacks, which led directly to the U.S. war in Afghanistan, where al-Qaida trained attackers against the United States, and indirectly to the war in Iraq. The U.S. still has thousands of forces in Afghanistan and Iraq even as it has ended large-scale combat operations.

Writing on Twitter Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “On 9/11, we remember those we lost, those who tried to save them. We honor them by pursuing peace, security, justice worldwide.”Near Shanksville in western Pennsylvania Sunday, the Flight 93 National Memorial stands in memory of the passengers and crew members who carried out a sustained assault against the hijackers for control of the plane 15 years ago.

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A September 11 Museum has been erected on the New York site where the World Trade Center once stood, housing artifacts and photographs connected to the attack.

At the Pentagon, the 184 people who died on September 11, 2001 are honored with 184 benches over pools of water. A huge American flag was draped from the roof of the headquarters of the country’s Defense Department on the side of the building where the attack occurred.

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Before the ceremony began, hundreds gathered around the plaza, many holding posters and shirts dedicated to victims. As the Brooklyn Youth Chorus sang the national anthem, many in the crowd held up posters and framed pictures before loudly applauding. (VOA)

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Chainsmokers on How they dealt with the fame that came after the release of their hit song “Closer”?

The Chainsmokers admire Indian music and say that it was cool to work with globally popular Indian star Priyanka Chopra

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Chainsmokers duo are behind the hit single
Chainsmokers duo are behind the hit single "Closer". IANS
  • It is important to use the popularity to send out a positive message
  • India is holding onto its cultural music
  • A lot of musicians in the US want to use their music for political activism

New Delhi, September 10, 2017: They felt “strange” with the fame that came with the popularity of their single “Closer”, and feel they still have a lot to prove.

American DJs and production duo The Chainsmokers say they want to push themselves and experiment. And they want to spread “positivity with their music without any propaganda.”

In a joint email interview to IANS, The Chainsmokers duo Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall reflected upon their journey in the music world and how they are dealing with the fame. They mentioned it is important to use the popularity to send out a positive message amid all the “craziness happening in the world”.

“That song (‘Closer’) gave us a lot of acclaim in a good way. (In) a lot of cases for DJs, people know the music but don’t know what they look like. And ‘Closer’ became so big. We made a couple of TV appearances and we felt famous for the first time, it kind of felt strange,” the duo said in their joint reply.

The duo, who wrapped up their two-city India tour on Friday, also appreciated how India is holding onto its “cultural music”.

The Grammy Award-winning artists headlined the Indian leg of Road to ULTRA, an independent festival brand, brought to India by ULTRA Worldwide and Percept Live. The fest made its foray into the country with Road To ULTRA show in Mumbai and Greater Noida.

The New York based artists exploded onto the music scene with viral hit “#SELFIE” in 2014. They followed it up with hits like “Roses” and “Don’t let me down”, for which they won a Grammy. The success of “Closer”, featuring Halsey, changed the whole game for them.

“We are having the best time and just enjoying every second of the ride but there is still so much more we want to accomplish and we push ourselves to experiment so we are always thinking about what’s next,” they said.

The duo continued the successful ride as they released “Paris” and a single in collaboration with Coldplay titled “Something just like this”.

A lot of musicians in the US want to use their music for political activism.

Ask The Chainsmokers if they also want to use their beats and sounds for a bigger cause, and they said: “It is important to use the resources you have and say the things you believe in, whatever those positive things may be.”

“There is a lot of craziness happening in the world right now and if you have a lot of fans looking up to you, need to create some awareness and spread positivity without a propaganda.”

Talking about their India visit, the duo said: “This is our fourth visit, to be honest…We just weren’t that famous then. We played a fun free festival in Pune. We also went to an orphanage there and met some school kids. Being foodies, we had a lot of naans and tikkas.”

The Chainsmokers admire Indian music and say that it was cool to work with globally popular Indian star Priyanka Chopra. They worked with the Bollywood actress back in 2012 for the single “Erase”.

“It’s amazing how there are only a few countries in the world that support cultural music and India is one of them apart from Brazil and Canada. It is great because there is a strong cultural identity. We have worked with Priyanka Chopra who was pretty cool,” said the “All we know” hitmakers.

Any plans to collaborate with any other Indian actor or musician?

“We were supposed to meet Shah Rukh Khan (after the Mumbai gig) but everything got messed up. He seems (to be) pretty cool and (we) wouldn’t mind hanging out with him sometime,” they said.

But that has to wait now.

“Right now, our schedule is very pretty crazy and we still feel we are relatively new music artists and we have to prove a lot. But there will come a point when we want to put our thing aside and want to work (with) all kinds of artists,” they said. (IANS)

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Richard David for City Council Campaign: A Mission to Promote Hindu Political Rights in New York

It is a proud feeling to see the efforts of Richard David in setting up the agenda for equality through Hindu political rights

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Richard David
Democratic candidate Richard David who is running for City Council from District 28, New York. Facebook

August 07, 2017: It is estimated that over 500,000 Hindus live in New York City’s Metropolitan areas. The Hindus belong to different nationalities such as India, Bangladesh, Suriname, Trinidad, and Guyana.

All five boroughs of New York have the presence of Hindus, particularly Queens which has the largest Hindu population.

Hindu political rights, in the past few decades, have been ignored by prominent leaders and officials in New York.

With this issue in mind, Richard David- a young man- is running for the City Council elections. Richard is a Democratic candidate Richard David and is preparing to run for City Council from District 28, New York. A Hindu, although the name might not imply so, Richard David’s campaign is based on the promotion of Hindu political rights. A number of Hindu activists residing in the US have supported the campaign.

District 28 also has the largest Hindu population in the US and hence the most number of Mandirs (i.e., temples: Hindu places of worship).

It is a proud feeling to see the efforts of Richard David in setting up the agenda for equality through Hindu political rights.

Recently, Richard David released his campaign plans which are as follows:

Public Education and Hinduism:

One of the central pillars of Hinduism is its stress on Education. Vital to the progress and development of diverse communities of the city is the opportunity to learn. It is significant to be educated about the culture and Hindu faith. Richard David plans on establishing a Hindu school which would carry out the education on Hinduism and its philosophies. The campaign has worked out a feasible plan that would require the crucial support of the elected officials.

Prevention of Bullying: 

Hindu children are frequently bullied in American schools for their religious background. This has adverse impacts on the well-being (physical and mental) of the child and further worries the parents. As a result of this, many Hindu families are insecure and uncomfortable in the foreign land. The Richard David campaign has formulated a tolerance program that can be worked out after-schools. It is the right approach to tackle the issue and teach respect and plurality.

An option of Vegetarian Food in Schools:

Vegetarianism is a strict principle for many Hindu followers. But this consideration is often not met in public places and events. Vegetarians do not account for secondary priority. While few options are available such as peanut butter sandwiches and salads, Hindu cuisines that make up a proper vegetarian meal is a conscious effort of the campaign.

Hindi as Foreign Language in Schools:

American schools hardly provide Hindi as a foreign language for many students who have a strong interest in the language. These kids are not only Indians but also South Asians and Indo Caribbeans who want to learn the language. The campaign seeks to add Hindi in the curriculum of foreign languages.

Indo Caribbeans and South Asian History:

The history of the Indo Caribbeans and South Asian region are rarely included in school papers. The omission of it from world history implies the ignorance towards Hindus in New York. This needs to be added so that history enthusiasts can know the significant events that shaped today’s South Asia.

The Festival of Diwali:

Diwali has been a part of discussions for far too long, yet no progress has been made to recognize the day as a holy event in school calendars. It is not only significant for Hindus, but also for Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. The campaign seeks to introduce holiday for the Holy festival.

A Seat at the Table:

The Hindus of New York are not represented successfully at the time of cultural events and festivals. Thus it becomes important to have a Hindu at the Seat of representation. A Hindu leader must be present at the platform for further discussions and dialogue.

Chaplains:

Prayers offered at a Christian Chaplain serves as hope, particularly in prisons and hospitals. The campaign is also putting efforts to open the chaplains for Hindus seeking comfort.

Water Site for Offerings: 

Offerings in the water is a vital aspect of Hindu lifestyle. As of now, these is no place alotted for the establishment of a water site for Hindus. Thus, there is an urgent need for such a site.

Honoring Hindu Contributions to the City of New York: 

Hindus are contributing and doing much for New York City every day, but those individuals are not often acknowledged or publicly thanked and appreciated for their contributions. The recognition of these Hindu leaders in public life is important.


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9/11 Victims Tally Continues to Grow As DNA Technology Identifies Man After 16 Years

The 9/11 attacks are recognized among the deadliest terrorist attacks on United States.

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9/11 terrorist attacks are among the deadliest terrorist strikes on US
Visitors scroll through names of victims of the deadly 9/11 attacks at the National September 11 Memorial on Sep 11, 2015. VOA

New York, August 8, 2017: The remains of a man killed in the terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, have been identified nearly 16 years after the deadly attacks.

The city medical examiners’ office announced the finding Monday, but is withholding the man’s name at the request of his family.

It is the first new identification made since March 2015.

Remains of 1,641 victims have been identified. That means 40 percent of those who died that day have yet to have any remains identified.

New, more sensitive DNA technology was deployed earlier this year and helped make the latest identification after earlier testing produced no results, the medical examiner’s office said.

Nearly 22,000 human samples recovered from Ground Zero have been tested and retested since 2001 in an effort to return the remains to the families.

The 9/11 airliner attacks killed a total of nearly 3,000 people in New York, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (VOA)