Moment of silence marks 14th anniversary of Sept. 11

NEW YORK — Victims’ relatives began marking the 14th anniversary of Sept. 11 in a subdued gathering Friday at ground zero, with a moment of silence and sombre reading of names.

Hundreds of victims’ relatives — fewer than thronged the ceremonies in their early years — gathered, carrying photos emblazoned with the names of their lost loved ones as they remembered the day when hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center’s twin towers, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“We come every year. The crowds get smaller, but we want to be here. As long as I’m breathing, I’ll be here,” said Tom Acquaviva, 81, who lost his son, Paul Acquaviva, a systems analyst who died in the trade centre’s north tower.

For Nereida Valle, who lost her daughter, Nereida De Jesus, “It’s the same as if it was yesterday. I feel her every day.” Read more

Plans coming in near future to help Syrian refugees: Harper

OTTAWA — Conservative leader Stephen Harper appears ready to shift gears on the Syrian refugee crisis, hinting for the first time Thursday that work is underway to expedite the process of refugee resettlement.

It’s been a week since a photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach forced all three major party leaders to confront the reality of Canada’s response to the human cost of the wars in Iraq and Syria.

Harper had said earlier in the campaign the Conservatives, if elected, would take in more refugees over time, but after the photograph, Canadians demanded a more immediate response to help settle the 11,300 people the government has already pledged to take. Read more

CHINA: USA MUST TAKE MORE SYRIAN REFUGEES; WE’LL TAKE ZERO, THANKS

“The United States should take its responsibility in the disheartening refugee crisis in Europe as its controversial Middle East policies resulted in wars and chaos that displaced large numbers of people,” hectors China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua.

They dwell on the photo of the drowned Syrian toddler — who was not in the process of fleeing from Syria when he died — and the horrid deaths of 70 refugees in a smuggler’s truck in Austria.

China is not generally noted for its genial indulgence of lawbreakers, especially when there are national security implications, but it expects the United States to throw caution to the winds. “Even though it has remained relatively ‘quiet’ on this matter, the United States actually has an inescapable responsibility on what happens today in Europe and the Middle East,” Xinhua pontificates. Read more