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At Least 36 Killed On Maui As Fires Burn Through Hawaii And Thousands Race To Escape

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hawaii fires

(WAILUKU, Hawaii) – Thousands of Hawaii residents rushed to flee their homes on Maui as fires raged across the island, destroying parts of a centuries-old village and killing at least 36 people in one of the deadliest wildfires in recent years in the United States.

The fire caught the island off guard, leaving burned-out automobiles on once-busy streets and burning piles of wreckage where historic buildings once stood in Lahaina Town, which dates back to the 1700s and has long been a popular tourist destination. Crews battled fires in multiple locations across the island on Wednesday, forcing several people and children to flee into the ocean.

According to a statement issued late Wednesday by Maui County, at least 36 individuals have perished, with no other details available. Officials had stated that 271 structures had been damaged or destroyed, and dozens of people had been hurt. The Camp Fire in California in 2018 killed at least 85 people and nearly destroyed the town of Paradise.

With the fires still burning and teams reaching out to explore scorched regions, officials cautioned that the death toll in Hawaii might grow.

On Tuesday afternoon, Kamuela Kawaakoa and Iiulia Yasso of Lahaina reported a terrifying escape beneath smoke-filled skies. After a short sprint to the grocery for water, the couple and their 6-year-old son returned to their flat with enough time to change clothes and flee as the bushes around them caught fire.

“We barely made it out,” Kawaakoa said at an evacuation center on Wednesday, still unclear if their flat was still intact.

hawaii fires

Thousands of Hawaii residents rushed to flee their homes on Maui as fires raged across the island.

As the family escaped, a senior center across the street caught fire. They contacted 911 but had no idea if the people had escaped. Downed electricity poles and others fleeing in cars impeded their progress as they drove away. “It was so hard to just sit there and watch my town burn to ashes and not be able to do anything,” said Kawaakoa, 34.

Tourists were urged to avoid the area while the flames raged, and approximately 11,000 people flew out of Maui on Wednesday, with at least another 1,500 scheduled to leave on Thursday, according to Ed Sniffen, state transportation director. Officials in Honolulu prepared the Hawaii Convention Centre to house thousands of displaced people.

Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen Jr. states that the island has “been tested like never before in our lifetime.”

“We are grieving with each other during this inconsolable time,” he added in an audio recording. “In the days ahead, we will be stronger as a’kaiaulu,’ or community, as we rebuild with resilience and aloha.”

Strong gusts from Hurricane Dora, passing far to the south, fanned the fires. It’s the latest in a string of calamities triggered by harsh weather this summer worldwide. According to experts, climate change is increasing the risk of such disasters.

hawaii fires

Thousands of Hawaii residents rushed to flee their homes on Maui as fires raged across the island.

The fires in Hawaii are not like those in the Western United States. They typically start in extensive grasslands on the drier portions of the islands and are much smaller than mainland fires. In 2021, a big fire on the Big Island destroyed homes and drove people to flee. The Big Island is also experiencing fires, according to Mayor Mitch Roth. However, there have been no reports of injuries or destroyed properties.

Pilots could see the full extent of the wreckage as the winds eased on Maui on Wednesday. Aerial footage from Lahaina showed hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed, including those on Front Street, where tourists used to congregate to shop and dine. Smoking rubble mounds were piled high along the waterfront, boats in the harbor were burnt, and grey smoke lingered over the leafless carcasses of charred trees.

“It’s frightening. “I’ve been flying here for 52 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Richard Olsten, a tour business helicopter pilot. “We both had tears in our eyes.”Search-and-rescue teams are dispersed throughout the destroyed areas in the hopes of locating survivors, according to Adam Weintraub, communication director for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Concerned about future casualties, Weintraub stated, “These were large and fast-moving fires, and it’s only recently that we’ve started to get our arms around them and contain them.” So, we’re praying for the best but bracing for the worse.”

Around 14,500 Maui customers were without electricity early Wednesday. Many people could not contact relatives and family living near the flames due to a lack of mobile service and phone connections in some locations. Some were using social media to send messages.

Tiare Lawrence was desperately attempting to contact her siblings, who live near the Lahaina petrol station that erupted.

“There’s no service, so we can’t reach anyone,” she explained from Pukalani, Maui.

The Hawaii State Department of Defense’s Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara told reporters Wednesday night that officials were working to restore communications, provide water, and add law enforcement troops. According to him, National Guard helicopters splashed 150,000 gallons of water on the Maui fires.

hawaii fires

Thousands of Hawaii residents rushed to flee their homes on Maui as fires raged across the island.

The Coast Guard rescued 14 individuals, including two children, who plunged into the water to escape the flames and smoke.

Officials said three persons with significant burns were hospitalized and evacuated to Oahu.

At a news conference Wednesday morning, Maui County Mayor Bissen said investigators had not yet begun investigating the direct cause of the fires, but officials did point to a mix of dry conditions, low humidity, and high winds.

Mauro Farinelli of Lahaina said the winds began to blow fiercely on Tuesday, and a fire started on a hillside.

“It just ripped through everything with amazing speed,” he recalled, adding that it felt “like a blowtorch.”

Farinelli said the winds were so fierce that they blew his garage door off its hinges, trapping his car inside. So a buddy took him, his wife Judit, and their dog Susi to an evacuation shelter. He had no idea what had become of their house.

“We’re hoping for the best,” he said, “but we’re pretty sure it’s gone.”

President Joe Biden directed that all federal assets be available to respond. He stated that the Hawaii National Guard had dispatched helicopters to assist with fire suppression and search-and-rescue activities.

hawaii fires

Thousands of Hawaii residents rushed to flee their homes on Maui as fires raged across the island.

“Our hearts go out to those who have lost their homes, businesses, and communities,” Biden said.

Governor Josh Green cut his trip short and intended to return Wednesday evening. In his absence, interim Gov. Sylvia Luke declared an emergency and advised tourists to avoid the area.

Alan Dicker, who runs a poster gallery and three properties in Lahaina, lamented the town’s and his losses.

“The central two blocks are the economic heart of this island, and I don’t know what’s left,” he explained. “Everything significant I owned burned down today.”



Canadian Mother And Twins Charged With Pretending To Be Inuit

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Three Canadian women have been charged with impersonating Inuit to receive benefits from indigenous organizations.

Two sisters, aged 25, allegedly committed fraud by posing as adopted Inuit children.

The two sisters and their 59-year-old mother face two counts of fraud. One Inuit group described the alleged deception as “shocking.”

On October 30, the defendants are scheduled to appear in court in Iqaluit.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stated in a statement that Amira and Nadya Gill, along with their mother Karima Manji, defrauded two local organizations of “funds that are only available to Inuit beneficiaries by obtaining grants and scholarships” between October 2016 and September 2022.

As part of the Nunavut Agreement, a 1993 indigenous land claim settlement, members of Canada’s Inuit community in the sparsely populated northern territory are eligible for grants and scholarships.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., or NTI, which represents Inuits in the territory, oversees the registration of indigenous classification.

NTI stated in a March statement that it had become “aware of possible fraudulent enrollment” of the Gill sisters after Ms. Manji claimed they were adopted and identified an Inuk woman as their birth mother.


Three Canadian women have been charged with impersonating Inuit to receive benefits from indigenous organizations.

They stated that the instance was a “first of its kind” in the organization’s enrollment program’s history.

The three Ontario residents were removed from the NTI’s list of beneficiaries, and the matter was referred to the RCMP following an investigation.

Kitty Noah, the woman identified by the Gills as their birth mother, stated before her demise in July that she was unrelated to the twins.

In 2021, the sisters Gill, both Ontario’s Queen’s University graduates, launched an online business selling facial masks with designs by indigenous artists.

In an interview with Canadian broadcaster CBC, NTI President Aluki Kotierk stated that the Gill sisters and their mother should “at a minimum” refund the money they received from Inuit organizations.

HE ADDED THAT the NTI will conduct additional training for enrollment committees in the future.

Mr. Kotierk described the alleged fraud as “another form of colonization” and part of a larger trend of non-indigenous Canadians claiming indigenous ancestry.

He stated, “You wanted to take our language from us.” “You intended to strip us of our culture. Are you now attempting to assume our identity? It is simply astounding.”

In a statement, the NTI referred to the incident as “isolated” and stated that it was fortifying enrollment requirements by requiring applicants to submit a copy of their long-form birth certificate.


Three Canadian women have been charged with impersonating Inuit to receive benefits from indigenous organizations.

In addition to the funds provided by the Kakivak Association and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, claiming indigenous status enabled the siblings to receive scholarships from Indspire, a Canadian indigenous charity, Hydro One, and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Before 2021, scholarship applicants could self-identify as indigenous, according to a Royal Bank of Canada spokesperson, but the requirements have since been updated.

The BBC has sought comment from Indspire and Hydro One.

Some Canadians have used “pretendians” to refer those who fraudulently claim indigenous ancestry.

Jean Teillet, a member of the Métis indigenous community, told Global News that the term “sounds harmless” minimizes the gravity of the issue.

“I prefer to call it fraud because the definition of fraud is intentional deception to obtain a material gain, and that’s what we’re talking about here.”

The three accused women were not readily accessible for comment.



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Tropical Storm Ophelia Moves Inland Over North Carolina As Coastal Areas Lashed With Wind And Rain

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ANNAPOLIS, Maryland — After making landfall near Emerald Isle early Saturday morning, Tropical Storm Ophelia swirled across North Carolina, lashing eastern portions of the state with rain, damaging winds, and hazardous water surges.

The storm landed at 6:15 a.m. with near-hurricane-force winds of 70 mph (110 kph) but was anticipated to weaken as it turned north Saturday and then shifted northeast on Sunday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Centre.

As of Friday, Ophelia is churning up the East Coast at approximately 13 mph (21 kph), bringing windy conditions and torrential rainfall for the weekend. Through Sunday, portions of North Carolina and Virginia may receive up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) of precipitation, with 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) predicted for the remainder of the mid-Atlantic region.

Philippe Papin, a hurricane expert at the National Hurricane Centre, stated that the primary risk posed by the storm system over the next few days will be the possibility of flooding precipitated by the rain.

“Tropical storm-force winds have been observed, but they are beginning to gradually diminish as the system moves further inland,” Papin said in an early Saturday interview. However, in the next 12 to 24 hours, a substantial portion of eastern North Carolina and southern Virginia is at risk for flooding precipitation.

Several eastern North Carolina counties had tens of thousands of residences and businesses without power as of Saturday morning, according to, which monitors utility reports.


Tropical Storm Ophelia swirled across North Carolina, lashing eastern portions of the state with rain, damaging winds, and hazardous water surges.

Jeff Brooks, a spokesperson for Duke Energy, told WTVD-TV on Saturday, “When you have a slow-moving storm with several inches of rain and a wind gust of 30, 40 miles per hour, that’s enough to bring down a tree or limbs.” “This has been the case in the majority of areas where we have experienced outages.”

From Bogue Inlet, North Carolina, to Chincoteague, Virginia, a storm surge warning was issued indicating the threat of rising ocean water forced inland by Ophelia. In some locations, waves of 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) were predicted. The area from Cape Fear, North Carolina, to Fenwick Island, Delaware, was issued a storm warning.

On Friday, each of North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland governors declared a state of emergency. Several institutions closed early, and several weekend activities were canceled. The Washington Nationals baseball contest scheduled for Saturday was postponed until Sunday. Until conditions improve, the North Carolina Ferry System suspended service on all routes until conditions improve.


Tropical Storm Ophelia swirled across North Carolina, lashing eastern portions of the state with rain, damaging winds, and hazardous water surges.

Nancy Shoemaker and her husband Bob picked up sandbags in a park in Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, on Friday. In October of last year, a storm surge swept away the sandbags they had placed in their yard, which is adjacent to the water.

Nancy Shoemaker stated, “We’re hoping that won’t happen this time.” “If we have a lot of wind and a lot of surge, it can look like the ocean out there, so that’s a problem.”

Michael Brennan, director of the National Hurricane Centre, stated that it is not unusual for one or two tropical cyclones or hurricanes to form annually off the East Coast.

Brennan stated in a Friday interview, “We’re at the height of hurricane season, and storms can form virtually anywhere in the Atlantic basin.”

According to scientists, climate change could result in hurricanes expanding their reach into mid-latitude regions more frequently, making cyclones like Hurricane Lee more frequent.

One study simulated tropical cyclone trajectories from the pre-industrial and modern eras and a future with increased emissions. It was discovered that hurricanes would track closer to the coastal, including around Boston, New York, and Virginia, and form more frequently along the Southeast coast.


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2023: Canada Gets Muted Allied Support After Alleging India May Have Been Involved In Killing Of Canadian

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TORONTO, Ontario, Canada — When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood up in Parliament and suggested that India was involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen, the international response was quiet.

India appears to be too powerful to be alienated.

None of Canada’s most key allies — the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, which are all intimately woven together in the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing agreement — reiterated Trudeau’s charges.

They’ve expressed their concern. They have demanded thorough investigations. However, none condemned India for its suspected role in assassinating a Sikh separatist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, on Canadian soil in June.


There is China, and the objective among allies is to strengthen ties with India as a counterweight to Beijing’s expanding influence and aggression.

But it goes beyond that. Many observers estimate that by 2030, modern India’s economy will have surpassed Japan and Germany to become the world’s third-largest. With over 1.4 billion people and one of the world’s largest militaries, it has emerged as a key player in international affairs.


This makes it difficult for Canada’s key allies, some of India’s main partners, to speak out loudly.

“I think Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom did about what was expected,” said Janice Stein, a political scientist at Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

According to Sushant Singh, a senior scholar at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, “as long as the West needs India to counter China, it is likely to look away.”

On Monday, Trudeau claimed there were “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in killing 45-year-old Nijjar outside Vancouver by masked gunmen, whom India had wanted for years. In addition, Canada expelled an Indian diplomat.

A day later, after India escalated the conflict by dismissing a top Canadian envoy, Trudeau softened his approach, telling reporters that Canada was “not looking to provoke or escalate.”

“PM tempers criticism as allies decline to condemn India over slain Sikh leader,” read the main page of Canada’s The Globe and Mail newspaper on Wednesday.


The claims made by the government are especially troubling for the United Kingdom, which is negotiating a free trade agreement with India.

“These are grave allegations.” “It is appropriate for Canadian authorities to investigate them,” said Max Blain, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spokesman.

However, he stated unequivocally that the death will not be discussed during the trade talks, stating that “these are negotiations about a trade deal, and we are not looking to conflate with other issues.”

According to Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, Trudeau discussed the assassination with Sunak and US Vice President Joe Biden in recent weeks.

If the allies’ reactions were subdued, Joly’s office and the White House refuted news reports that Canada had lobbied the US and other major allies to denounce the assassination in the days before Trudeau made his claims.

According to White House national security spokesperson John Kirby, any rumors that the United States had rejected Canada were “just flatly false.”

“We were deeply concerned by Prime Minister Trudeau’s allegations and remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners,” Kirby added. “They’re investigating, and that should continue unabated.”


However, he noted that the US-India partnership “remains vitally important, not only for the South Asia region but, of course, for the Indo Pacific.”

Nonetheless, the Biden administration provides more spiritual support than real backing. It may want to keep matters bilateral between Ottawa and New Delhi.

“It’s embarrassing” for Washington, according to historian and University of Toronto professor Robert Bothwell. However, “the United States has larger interests.”

If Trudeau’s allegations are true, it demonstrates that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is not “restrained by an innate sense of the rule of law or a commitment to democracy.”

“This is the same kind of thing that Putin does,” he said, alluding to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adversaries who have been slain in Russia and abroad, including in the United Kingdom.

Najjar, born in India and had worked as a plumber in Canada for many years, was assassinated in the parking lot of a Sikh temple in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb. He was wanted by Indian police, who had long suspected him of having ties to separatist terrorists aiming to establish an independent Sikh republic within India. While advocating for a Sikh nation, Nijjar continually denied any links to terrorism.

Canada has failed to present proof of India’s involvement in the murder. However, a US official said Tuesday that the White House interpreted Trudeau’s willingness to come out as an indication of the Canadian leader’s confidence in what had been discovered. The official, who was not authorized to publicly comment, spoke on the condition of anonymity.


Canada is one of the few countries unapologetically supporting human rights and the international rule of law. It also has no qualms about confronting major powers.

China-Canada ties, for example, took a hit in 2018 after China imprisoned former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor. These arrests happened shortly after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder and the company’s top financial officer. The arrest was done at the request of US officials, who accused Meng of fraud.

Even after a prisoner swap in which China released the Canadians in exchange for Meng in 2021, relations have not improved.

In addition, after Canada’s foreign ministry tweeted support for a jailed Saudi activist, the Saudi government removed Canada’s ambassador to the kingdom and withdrew its envoy. It took five years for Canada and Saudi Arabia to reestablish full diplomatic relations in May of this year.

Trudeau also clashed with former US President Donald Trump, who pledged to make Canada pay after Trudeau declared that he would not be bullied in trade talks with the US. Trump retaliated by criticizing Trudeau, calling him “meek and mild,” which surprised Canadians.

The stakes have risen, and it’s uncertain — at least publicly — who Canada can rely on for unwavering support.

“Is Canada alone?” Bothwell wondered. “That is obviously a concern because Canada has always relied on the protection of the British and then the Americans.”


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