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The Cities This Week: Edition 34




Photograph: Terry Pedwell/AP

A double-decker bus collided with a passenger train in Canada’s capital on Wednesday. Photograph: Terry Pedwell/AP

NAIROBI 

A large explosion rocked the Kenyan mall where Islamic extremists are holding hostages a day after attacking the upscale shopping centre and killing 59 people. Associated Press journalists at the Westgate mall said the explosion on Sunday afternoon was by far the largest in the 30-hour siege. There big blast was followed by silence. An estimated 10 to 15 militant attackers are in the shopping mall holding an unknown number of captives, said Kenyan officials. The Kenyan military has gone into the four-story mall and there have been sporadic gun battles. Kenyan troops were seen carrying in at least two rocket propelled grenades. Earlier on Sunday Kenyan army helicopters hovered over the mall.

MOGADISHU

Thousands of internally-displaced people are being forcibly removed from make-shift camps in Mogadishu as part of a plan to ‘clean up’ the capital. However, authorities have not found a safe alternative location for evicted urban residents, reports Amnesty International. Amnesty International reports: “It is completely unacceptable for people who have fled to the capital for protection to be forcibly evicted. It has resulted in large scale human rights abuses. The government has a responsibility to protect this vulnerable sector of society and ensure their security,” said Gemma Davies, Amnesty International’s Somalia researcher. More than 300,000 live in settlements in Mogadishu where they are sheltering from cyclical drought, famine and a two-decades-long armed conflict which have already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. In January 2013 the Somali government announced a plan to relocate hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) from Mogadishu to proposed camps outside the city to make way for reconstruction and development of the capital.

CHICAGO

Up to 13 people, including a young child, have been wounded in a shooting at a basketball court in Chicago. A three-year-old boy and several others were in a critical condition after the attack in a park on the city’s south side. Witnesses said one or two gunmen opened fire. Police told local media the boy was the most seriously hurt. Chicago saw more murders last year than New York City, which has a population three times bigger. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement: “Senseless and brazen acts of violence have no place in Chicago and betray all that we stand for. The perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

PESHAWAR

A blast at a Protestant church in northwest Pakistan killed 77 people and wounded more than 120, a local official said. The attack took place at the All Saints Church of Pakistan, in the violence-plagued city of Peshawar, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the country’s capital, Islamabad. Two attackers struck right as services concluded, according to the Peshawar Diocese. “Suicide bombers entered the church compound from the main gate and blew themselves up in the midst of the people,” a statement posted on the diocese website read.

WASHINGTON D.C.

President Obama will honor the victims of the Navy Yard shooting during a memorial service on Sunday, serving once again as the nation’s consoler after a mass killing.  The service will be held at the Marine barracks down the street from the Navy Yard, where, the authorities said, a naval contractor armed with a shotgun killed 12 people and wounded a dozen more last week before being killed by the police. It has become an all-too-familiar role for Mr. Obama, who has presided over similarly grim services for the victims of shootings in Newtown, Conn.; Tucson; Aurora, Colo.; Oak Creek, Wis.; and Fort Hood, Tex. At each event, the president has sought to find the right balance between the sadness of a nation and the anger of its citizens. On Sunday, he is scheduled to speak about 5 p.m., and will once again try to help the families of the victims find some peace after an unexplainable event.

OTTAWA

A double-decker bus collided with a passenger train in Canada’s capital on Wednesday, ripping off the front of the bus and killing six people. Witnesses said the bus went through a closed crossing barrier, and passengers said they screamed “Stop, stop!” at the driver just before impact. Officials said 30 people were injured, 10 critically, at the peak of Ottawa’s morning rush hour. The cause of the crash was not yet clear, said John Manconi, from bus operator OC Transpo. It was Canada’s second major rail accident this year, after an oil train derailed and exploded in a Quebec town in July, killing 47 people.

ADDIS ABABA

Once upon a time, there was a railway line linking Addis Ababa with Djibouti. Haphazard and unmaintained, the route fell out of service and land-locked Ethiopia lost one of its most important lifelines to the sea. But it’s nothing a little bit of Chinese money can’t fix. Construction has begun on a new and improved service linking the two cities.

TOKYO

Kohei Jinno lost his home and business to the wrecking ball half a century ago, demolished to make way for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Now, he’ll be moving again for the exact same reason. After spending 1964 and ’65 in another town cleaning cars, Jinno has run a tobacco shop inside the apartment complex he was relocated to in 1966. Now 79 years-old, he’ll be forced to move again, this time, to make way for the brand new, $1.3 billion Olympic Stadium. According toThe Japan Times, some 200 households at Kasumigaoka, where a third of the residents are over 70, will be relocated as a result of the stadium.

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Melissa Meyer

Future Cape Town London-based correspondent

Urbanist-in-training from Cape Town, currently working in London. MSc City Design & Social Science.

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