Workers in India building wall ahead of President Trump’s visit

Indian workers construct a wall in front of a slum ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit, in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:15 PM PT — Thursday, February 13, 2020

Construction workers in India are building a wall ahead of President Trump’s visit later this month. The president is expected to attend an event in the country in the coming weeks.

Before his arrival, workers are expected to complete a seven-foot tall wall that will reportedly conceal slum communities. However, a government official said the wall is part of an ongoing “beautification and cleanliness” project. Officials also said the wall is being built for security purposes.

Some residents are already excited about the president’s upcoming arrival.

“We are very happy that Donald Trump is coming here. We are going to give him a warm welcome by making him wear a traditional scarf, which we make here. We are also going to do prayers and he is going to attend prayers of all faiths.” – Pratimaben Vohra, local museum guide

In this Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 photo, Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium stands illuminated, days before it is inaugurated in Ahmadabad, India. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Meanwhile, the Defense Department is transferring additional funds to the president’s U.S. border wall in an effort to increase security. On Thursday, the Pentagon said it’s moving $3.8 billion from several programs toward building the wall.

Officials said the funds are being pulled from its lower priority programs, such as the controversial F-35 fighter jet.

Democrats have denounced the wall as a “vanity project,” but immigration officials said it actually works to deter crime near the border. The Pentagon added the border wall has greatly reduced threats to U.S. national security as well.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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Hong Kong protesters set fire to building intended as coronavirus quarantine site

First aid volunteers try to extinguish a fire set by local residents at a building of the Fai Ming Estate, in Fanling district of Hong Kong, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, after the Hong Kong government announced it would requisition the unoccupied housing project to house quarantined patients of the new viral coronavirus illness. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:20 PM PT — Sunday, January 26, 2020

Hong Kong protesters have set fire to a newly constructed residential building, which the government was planning to use to address the coronavirus outbreak. Reports revealed about 200 protesters gathered near the building and set the fire on Sunday.

Firefighters and riot police arrived soon after. The damage appeared to be confined mostly to the lobby.

This is what #HongKongRioters have done to Fai Ming Estate in Fanling. #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/5a6Te6AVQh

— Angela LaaLaa (@AngieFuego) January 26, 2020

Protesters said they were opposed to the building being used as a quarantine zone, due to its close proximity to a school and the city’s main residential area.

“Our message is very simple: Don’t make the Fai Ming Estate into a quarantine area, as there are lots of local residents here,” said one protester.

Local residents struggle with riot police at the Fai Ming Estate, in Fanling district of Hong Kong, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, after the Hong Kong government announced it would requisition an unoccupied housing project to house quarantined patients of the new viral coronavirus illness. Residents took the streets on Sunday night to oppose the plan to house quarantined patients or medical workers in their neighbourhood, that is far from Hong Kong’s busy business centres. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Hong Kong authorities said nearly 80 locals were believed to be infected, but only six cases have been confirmed so far. The government has raised its response to emergency levels, closing schools and suspending flights in the region.

RELATED: Two Cases Of Coronavirus Confirmed In Calif.

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Esper: China’s Communist Party stealing technology, building surveillance state

Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a joint news conference with Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono at the Pentagon in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 3:27 PM PT — Friday, January 24, 2020

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said China and Russia are prioritized as America’s main security concerns. He is warning of China’s growing surveillance footprint, both within its own borders and around the world.

On Friday, Esper said both Russia and China are using emerging technology to reshape the world to their advantage. He specifically noted Beijing is combining state investment, forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft.

The secretary claimed China is attempting to narrow the gap between itself and its rivals.

“The party has constructed a 21st century surveillance state with unprecedented abilities to censor speech and infringe on basic human rights,” he said. “George Orwell would be proud.”

He added China’s Communist Party uses this surveillance and artificial intelligence to routinely repress minorities and pro-democracy demonstrators.

China has defended its surveillance use as a means of preventing terrorism and separatism. They claimed they do not use it for religious or ethnic monitoring.

Original Article

2 dead in Houston industrial building explosion

Houston Fire Department firefighters make their way through debris near the site of an explosion in Houston, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. A massive explosion early Friday leveled a warehouse in Houston and damaged nearby buildings and homes, rousing frightened people from their sleep miles away. ( Godofredo A. Vásquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:27 AM PT — Friday, January 24, 2020

At least two people are dead, following a massive gas explosion at a manufacturing plant in Houston, Texas. The blast happened early Friday at the Watson Grinding and Manufacturing corporation.

According to first responders, the blast destroyed the building and caused severe damage to nearby homes. The owner of the company said the explosion originated from a tank holding extremely flammable gas, which is used to make plastic products.

Maria Giraldo stands in the backyard of her neighbor’s home just one street east where an explosion occurred Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 in Houston. A massive explosion early Friday leveled a warehouse and damaged nearby buildings and homes, rousing frightened people from their sleep miles away. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Authorities say the blast could be heard and felt miles away. Nearby schools have shut down for the day and the city has opened up a shelter for displaced residents.

Emergency crews have secured the area and an investigation is underway to determine the exact cause.

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