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Witness at Memphis motel where Martin Luther King was shot recounts ‘shock’ for first time

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Ford said that, before King was shot, she would catch glimpses of him as he came and went from Room 306 of the motel. At one point, she was tasked with delivering hamburgers to him and other civil rights leaders who used the motel room as a de facto headquarters.

“When I took the tray in, I set it on the table,” Ford recalled. “And like I say, he was laying on the bed … smoking a cigarette, because he smoked.”

At 6:01 p.m. on April 4, Ford was cooking in the kitchen when she heard a loud burst ring out. She thought people were shooting off firecrackers. She was mistaken.

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“We all ran outside to see what was going on and he was laying on the balcony,” Ford said of King. “And I’m standing there. I’m just dumbfounded, you know? Just shocked.”

“Like, what just happened, you know? This don’t happen here. And — this not OK,” she added, wiping away tears.

A lone gunman, later identified as James Earl Ray, shot King as he stood on the motel’s second-floor balcony. The moment was a blur, and she could hear people screaming out: “They shot Dr. King! They shot Dr. King!”

 Lorraine Motel employee Mary Ellen Ford is highlighted in a section of the photo taken after the assassination. Courtesy of National Civil Rights Museum

In the aftermath, as news spread of the attack, Ford said phone calls began pouring into the motel.

“Even the payphone on the outside, they were calling on that,” she said. “‘Did Dr. King get shot? Did Dr. King get shot?'”

King would later die at the hospital. Ray escaped and was captured two months later in the United Kingdom. He died in prison in 1998.

Today, the Lorraine Motel houses the National Civil Rights Museum. Ford, who eventually moved to Lansing, Michigan, and raised a family, doesn’t like to speak publicly about that terrifying day.

Her favorite memory, she said, is thinking of the people who would come to the motel each time King stayed there, waiting to see the civil rights leader emerge from his room — and knowing they were witnessing a man who would change the country.

“Standing, sitting on the brick wall, waiting to get a glimpse of Dr. King,” she said of the onlookers. “Just to see Dr. King.”

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Israel: Hamas launches rocket attack on Tel-Aviv | World News

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Hamas has launched a rocket attack on Tel-Aviv – with the Israeli ambulance service saying at least one person is in a critical condition after a building was targeted.

All flights have since been halted at the city’s Ben Gurion Airport, according to Israel’s Kan broadcaster.

Hamas said in a statement it had fired 130 rockets towards Tel-Aviv and its suburbs amid ongoing tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians.

A blast took place in the suburb of Holon on Tuesday evening, according to Israel Channel 12 TV.

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COVID-19: India’s doctors warn against using cow dung to ward off coronavirus – amid rise in deadly ‘black fungus’ | World News

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Hospitals in India have reported a rise in “black fungus” found in COVID-19 patients – as doctors warned people against using cow dung in the belief it will ward off the virus.

The Indian government has told medics to look out for signs of mucormycosis in coronavirus patients following an increase in cases of the rare but potentially fatal infection.

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A woman whose husband died from COVID mourns outside a mortuary in Ahmedabad, India
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A woman whose husband died from COVID mourns outside a mortuary in Ahmedabad, India

The disease can lead to blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood.

It is strongly linked to diabetes, which can in turn be exacerbated by steroids, such as dexamethasone, used to treat severe COVID-19.

Manchester University professor David Denning, an expert in fungal infections, told Reuters there have been cases reported in several other countries including the UK, US, France, Austria, Brazil and Mexico.

“The volume is much bigger in India,” he added.

“And one of the reasons is lots and lots of diabetes, and lots of poorly controlled diabetes.”

Doctors in India treating COVID patients and those with diabetes and compromised immune systems have been told to watch for early symptoms, including sinus pain or nasal blockage on one side of the face, one-sided headaches, swelling or numbness, toothache and loosening of teeth.

Doctors in India have warned against the practice of using cow dung in the belief it will ward off COVID-19
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Some Indians believe cow dung will boost their immunity to defend against COVID

Meanwhile, Indians have been warned against the practice of using cow dung in the belief it will ward off COVID-19.

In the state of Gujarat in western India, some people have been going to cow shelters once a week to cover their bodies in cow dung and urine in the hope it will boost their immunity, or help them recover from the disease.

Dr J. A. Jayalal, national president at the Indian Medical Association, said: “There is no concrete scientific evidence that cow dung or urine work to boost immunity against COVID-19, it is based entirely on belief.”

Gujarat is one of the places said to have recorded cases of mucormycosis, according to media reports, along with Maharashtra and its capital Mumbai.

Indian authorities have not published national data on mucormycosis but insist there is no major outbreak.

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COVID crisis pushes India’s hospitals to the brink

P Suresh, a doctor working at Fortis Hospital in Mumbai, said it had treated at least 10 such patients in the past two weeks – roughly twice as many as in the entire year before the pandemic.

He said all had been infected with COVID-19 and most were diabetic or had received immunosuppressant drugs. Some had died, and some had lost their eyesight.

Other doctors spoke of a similar surge in cases.

Mass cremations are held in New Delhi.
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Mass cremations have been held in New Delhi

Nishant Kumar, a consultant ophthalmologist at Hinduja hospital in Mumbai, said: “Previously if I saw one patient a year, I now see about one a week.”

It is an added complication for India’s overwhelmed hospitals, which are desperately short of beds as well as the oxygen needed for severely ill COVID-19 patients.

India has the world’s highest daily average number of new COVID deaths – accounting for one in every three fatalities reported worldwide each day.

Nearly 23 million coronavirus infections have been recorded in the country, with almost 250,000 deaths.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the COVID variant first identified in India last year is being classified as a variant of global concern, with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.

Maria Van Kerkhove, from the WHO, told a briefing: “There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility.”

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Russia school shooting: Students among 11 killed in attack in Kazan – reports | World News

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At least 11 people including students have been killed and several injured in a shooting at a school in southwest Russia, according to reports.

The RIA news agency said an explosion was heard at the school in the city of Kazan and a gunman has been detained by police.

Interfax news agency cited a source as saying that there were two attackers and the second could still be in the building.

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