Thursday, December 14, 2017

Tillerson: Terror Group Ties Could Cost Pakistan Territorial Control


U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued the warning as Washington and Islamabad renew efforts to improve bilateral relations and find "common ground" to promote peace in neighboring Afghanistan.
"We want to work with Pakistan to stamp out terrorism within their boundaries as well, but Pakistan has to begin the process of changing its relationship with the Haqqani Network and with others," Tillerson said at a public talk in Washington on Tuesday.
A U.S.-led military coalition is helping the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) to contain a resurgent Taliban insurgency.
Insurgents and leaders of a group allied with the Haqqani Network are allegedly orchestrating attacks from sanctuaries in Pakistan, with the help of the neighboring country's spy agency.
"Pakistan has allowed so many terrorist organizations to find safe haven within its territories, and these organizations are growing in size and influence," Tillerson said.
The secretary said he had warned Pakistani leaders that the terrorist groups might turn their attention from Kabul and decide they like Islamabad better as a target. He cautioned, "If they're not careful, Pakistan is going to lose control of their own country." - Read More

تیلرسن: علایق پاکستان با تروریستان به بهای خاکش تمام می‌شود

ایالات متحده، پاکستان را هشدار داد که اگر روابط خود را با گروه های دهشت افگن که در داخل آن کشور فعالیت می کنند و از لحاظ "وسعت و نفوذ" در حال رشد اند قطع نکند، ممکن اسلام آباد کنترول قلمرو خود را از دست دهد.

ریکس تیلرسن، وزیرخارجۀ امریکا گفت "می خواهیم با پاکستان کار کنیم تا دهشت افگنی را در داخل خاک آن کشور نیز از بین ببریم، اماپاکستان باید روند تغیر روابط خود را با شبکۀ حقانی و سایر گروه ها آغاز کند."

پاکستان همواره از جانب کشور همسایه اش افغانستان و در این اواخر مقامات امریکایی به حمایت و پناه دادن گروه های دهشت افگن به ویژه شبکۀ حقانی در خاک آن کشور متهم شده است؛ ادعای که همواره پاکستان آن را رد کرده است.

آقای تیلرسن افزود "پاکستان به بسیاری سازمان های دهشت افگن اجازه داده تا در داخل قلمرو آن کشور پناهگاه های امنی داشته باشند و وسعت و نفوذ آن سازمان ها در حال افزایش است."

وزیرخارجۀ ایالات متحده در واشنگتن گفت که او به رهبران پاکستانی هشدار داده است که گروه های دهشت افگن ممکن توجه شان را از کابل برگشتانده و تصمیم بگیرند اسلام آباد یک هدف بهتر برای شان باشد.

تاکنون حکومت پاکستان رسماً به این اظهارات وزیر خارجه تیلرسن واکنشی نشان نداده است، اما یک مقام ارشد حکومت پاکستان در صحبتی با صدای امریکا، این ادعاها را رد کرده و آن را بی اساس خوانده است. - Read More

تیلرسن: علایق پاکستان با دهشت افگنان، به قیمت خاکش تمام می شود

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

رئیس‌جمهورغنی: قدس قبله‌ی نخست ما و به مثابۀ حرم شریف، هسته مرکزی هویت ما را شکل داده‌است

محمداشرف غنی رئیس‌جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان، بعد از ظهر امروز در نشست فوق‌العادۀ سران سازمان همکاری کشورهای اسلامی که در شهر استانبول ترکیه برگزار گردیده‌بود، اشتراک و سخنرانی کرد.

دراین نشست که سران کشورهای عضو سازمان مذکور اشتراک داشتند، ابتدا رجب طیب اردوغان رئیس‌جمهور ترکیه در خصوص برگزاری نشست فوق‌العاده سران سازمان همکاری کشورهای اسلامی صحبت کرد.

همچنان، محمود عباس، رئیس تشکیلات خودگردان فلسطین در صحبتی، وحدت کشورهای اسلامی را در قبال موضوع قدس، قابل قدر خواند و اظهار امیدواری کرد که موقف‌گیری واحد کشورهای اسلامی، بتواند منتج به حل مسالمت‌آمیز این مشکل در فلسطین گردد.

رئیس‌جمهورغنی در این نشست طی سخنرانی گفت: ما در یک لحظۀ خاص تاریخی گردهم آمده‌ایم که توجه امت اسلامی و جهان مشترکاً به قدس، حرم شریف و حقوق مردم فلسطین معطوف است.

وی افزود که قدس به‌عنوان اولین قبلۀ مسلمین و حرم شریف در هستۀ هویت مسلمانان جهان قرار دارند که سمبول‌های کلیدی تمدن اسلامی محسوب می‌شوند و قلب هر افغان به‌خاطر همدردی و همدلی با برادران و خواهران فلسطینی‌اش می‌تپد.

 وی اضافه کرد که با استفاده از فرصت ایجادشده برای همسبتگی بیشتر باید پلان جامع را جهت کمک به مردم و حکومت فلسطین ترتیب کنیم، زیرا اقدامات کوچک و ازهم‌پاشیده دراین خصوص، کافی نمی‌باشد.

رئیس‌جمهورغنی، استفاده از قوانین بین‌المللی را برای ترتیب نقشه راه جامع “ابتکار عرب” به‌خاطر تأمین صلح عادلانه و پایدار در فلسطین و منطقه؛ مهم خوانده تأکید کرد که تعاملات و راه‌اندازی گفت‌وگو میان مسلمانان و عیسوی‌یان، مردم و کشورهای کلیدی عضو شورای امنیت به‌شمول امریکا، نیازمند درک درست برای رسیدن به صلح پایدار می‌باشد.

رئیس‌جمهور کشور با تأکید گفت که نیاز جدی به ختم منازعات در میان کشورهای جهان اسلام است که از این مسیر می‌توانیم رهبری واقعی خویش را به اثبات رسانیم وتوانایی مانرا از طریق همین اجماع قوی، به نمایش بگذاریم.  -  More

رئیس‌جمهورغنی: قدس قبله‌ی نخست ما و به مثابۀ حرم شریف، هسته مرکزی هویت ما را شکل داده‌است

ترجمۀ متن سخنرانی محمداشرف غنی رئیس‌جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان در نشست فوق‌العادۀ سران...

Muslim leaders call on world to recognize East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Muslim leaders condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday and called on the world to respond by recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who hosted the summit of more than 50 Muslim countries in Istanbul, said the U.S. move meant Washington had forfeited its role as broker in efforts to end Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“From now on, it is out of the question for a biased United States to be a mediator between Israel and Palestine, that period is over,” Erdogan said at the end of the meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states.

“We need to discuss who will be a mediator from now on. This needs to be tackled in the UN too,” Erdogan said.

A communique posted on the Turkish Foreign Ministry website said the emirs, presidents and ministers gathered in Istanbul regarded Trump’s move “as an announcement of the U.S. Administration’s withdrawal from its role as sponsor of peace”.

It described the decision as “a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts, an impetus (for) extremism and terrorism, and a threat to international peace and security”.

The Trump administration says it remains committed to reaching peace between Israel and the Palestinians and its decision does not affect Jerusalem’s future borders or status. - Read More, Reuters

Muslim leaders call on world to recognize East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

President Ghani Accepts Accreditation Of The New U.S. Ambassador To Afghanistan

The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani accepted the credential of the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass, Tuesday afternoon, Presidential Palace.

Ambassador Bass assured President Ghani of his efforts to further expand the bilateral relations between Afghanistan and the U.S. He said that he would try to create an atmosphere for enhancing mutual cooperation in different development realms.

President Ghani congratulated ambassador Bass on his new mission and thanked the U.S. Government for having assisted Afghanistan in different fields of development. The President wished ambassador Bass success in his new career. - More

Office of the President of Afghanistan


President Ghani accepts accreditation of the new EU ambassador to... - 


OIC declares East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has declared East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, rejected the US stance as "dangerous" and called on the international community to follow in its footsteps.

At a summit held in Turkey a week after US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the group of Muslim leaders on Wednesday called on all countries to "recognise the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital".

In a statement, the OIC added that the 57-member group remains committed to a "just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution". 

It also called on the UN to "end the Israeli occupation" of Palestine and declared Trump's administration liable for "all the consequences of not retracting from this illegal decision".

"[We] consider that this dangerous declaration, which aims to change the legal status of the [city], is null and void and lacks any legitimacy," the group said. - Read More, aljazeera

OIC declares East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital | Palestine News ...


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Secretary-General’s message on Human Rights Day


Read More:

Secretary-General's message on Human Rights Day - YouTube


Human Rights Day: UN to launch campaign for 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration

UN Middle East envoy warns of ‘risk of violent escalation’ after US decision on Jerusalem

8 December 2017 – Wednesday’s decision by United States President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has been widely welcomed in Israel but it has also caused much anger among Palestinians and anxiety across the Middle East and beyond, the United Nations envoy on the region’s peace process told ta special Security Council meeting on Friday.

“I am particularly concerned about the potential risk of a violent escalation,” said Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov, briefing the 15-member Council via video-link.

He told the Council that for both Israelis and Palestinians, Jerusalem “is and will always remain an integral part of their national identity.” Moreover, for billions of people, it serves as a symbol and a cornerstone of their Christian, Jewish or Muslim faith. “That is why it remains one of the most sensitive places in the world.”

“[Yet] there is a serious risk […] that this will spark a chain of unilateral actions, which can only undermine the achievement of our shared goal,” Mr. Mladenov warned.

Since the US announcement, widespread demonstrations and violent clashes have occurred between Palestinian protestors and Israel Security Forces throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

Protests have also been reported in other Arab cities and villages within Israel, as well in cities around the region and beyond, from Lebanon and Jordan to Malaysia and Bangladesh.

Noting the symbolic, religious and emotional charge that Jerusalem holds for people across the world, Mr. Mladenov called on all political, religious and community leaders to “refrain from provocative action and rhetoric that could lead to escalation; and I call on all to exercise restraint and engage in dialogue.” - Read More
UN Middle East envoy warns of ‘risk of violent escalation’ after US decision on Jerusalem

Issue of Jerusalem must be resolved through direct negotiations between parties, UN chief stresses

Human Rights Day: UN to launch campaign for 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration

8 December 2017 – The United Nations will on Sunday kick off in Paris, France, a year-long campaign to honor the foundational human rights document, which next year marks its 70th anniversary.

Since the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, “human rightshave been one of the three pillars of the United Nations, along with peace and development,” said Secretary-General António Guterres in his message for Human Rights Day, annually observed on 10 December.

As “one of the world's most profound and far-reaching international agreements,” the Universal Declaration proclaimed the inalienable rights of every human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.

Mr. Guterres noted that while human rights abuses did not end when the Universal Declaration was adopted, the instrument has helped countless people to gain greater freedom and security, and has also helped to prevent violations, obtain justice for wrongs, and strengthen national and international human rights laws and safeguards.

“Despite these advances, the fundamental principles of the Universal Declaration are being tested in all regions,” he said, citing rising hostility towards human rights and those who defend them by people who want to profit from exploitation and division.

“We see hatred, intolerance, atrocities and other crimes. These actions imperil us all,” he said, urging people and leaders everywhere to stand up for all human rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural – and for the values that underpin hopes for a fairer, safer and better world for all. - Read More

Human Rights Day: UN to launch campaign for 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration

Friday, December 08, 2017

U.S. has begun fully implementing Trump travel ban: State Dept.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said it began fully implementing President Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting six Muslim-majority countries on Friday, four days after the Supreme Court ruled the order could be enforced while legal appeals continue.

Trump’s order, which calls for “enhancing vetting capabilities” at U.S. embassies and consulates overseas, directs the departments of State and Homeland Security to restrict the entry of people from six Muslim-majority countries - Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen - as well as from Venezuela and North Korea.

The State Department said in a statement on Friday that no visas would be revoked under the new vetting procedures. It said the restrictions were not intended to be permanent and could be lifted as “countries work with the U.S. government to ensure the safety of Americans.”

Trump promised as a candidate to impose “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” and his effort to implement a travel ban has run into repeated legal challenges since he first announced it a week after taking office.

The current ban is the third version from the administration. Lower courts allowed the provisions covering North Korea and Venezuela to go into effect. - Read More, Reuters

U.S. has begun fully implementing Trump travel ban: State Dept.


Trump lifts refugee ban, but admissions still plummet, data shows

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In late October, President Donald Trump lifted a temporary ban on most refugee admissions, a move that should have cleared the way for more people fleeing persecution and violence to come to the United States.

Instead, the number of refugees admitted to the country has plummeted. In the five weeks after the ban was lifted, 40 percent fewer people were allowed in than in the last five weeks it was in place, according to a Reuters analysis of State Department data. That plunge has gone almost unnoticed.

As he lifted the ban, Trump instituted new rules for tougher vetting of applicants and also effectively halted, at least for now, the entry of refugees from 11 countries deemed as high risk. The latter move has contributed significantly to the precipitous drop in the number of refugees being admitted.

The data shows that the Trump administration’s new restrictions have proven to be a far greater barrier to refugees than even his temporary ban, which was limited in scope by the Supreme Court.

The State Department data shows that the kind of refugees being allowed in has also changed. A far smaller portion are Muslim. When the ban was in place they made up a quarter of all refugees. Now that it has been lifted they represent just under 10 percent. - Read More, reuters
Trump lifts refugee ban, but admissions still plummet, data shows


U.S. deportations down in 2017 but immigration arrests up

Most Americans oppose visa lottery but favor other openings for immigrants: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Commuting Times, Median Rents and Language other than English Use in the Home on the Rise - CENSUS.Gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 07, 2017


New American Community Survey Statistics Provide Local Data for Every Community Nationwide

DEC. 7, 2017 — The nation experienced an increase in commuting time, median gross rent and a rise in English proficiency among those who spoke another language. These are only a few of the statistics released today from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012-2016 American Community Survey five-year estimates data release, which features more than 40 social, economic, housing and demographic topics, including homeowner rates and costs, health insurance and educational attainment.

“The American Community Survey allows us to track incremental changes across our nation on how people live and work, year-to-year,” said David Waddington, chief of the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division. “It’s our country’s only source of small area estimates for socio-economic and demographic characteristics. These estimates help people, businesses and governments throughout the country better understand the needs of their populations, the markets in which they operate and the challenges and opportunities they face.”

The survey produces statistics for all of the nation’s 3,142 counties. In addition, it is the only full dataset available for three-fourths of all counties with populations too small to produce a complete set of single-year statistics (2,322 counties). Each year, Census Bureau data helps determine how more than $675 billion of federal funding are spent on infrastructure and services, from highways to schools to hospitals.

Data Highlights

The following highlights are from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey five-year estimates release, unless otherwise noted. - Read More, CENSUS

America today: Longer commutes, higher rents, less English at home - cnn

(CNN) - Americans are commuting longer, speaking less English at home and paying more for rent, according to a new data release from the Census Bureau made Thursday.

The census data, called the American Community Survey, is released in yearly intervals and is filled with facts and figures about how the country's demographics are changing. It shows not just where rents go up but also where they decline. It shows where new immigrant groups are moving and where poverty is declining and rising. It also shows trends, like the increase in Spanish spoken in the home, that are often the subject of political debate.

This year's release summarizes data captured from 2012 through 2016.

Many of the findings of the survey dovetail with the messages President Trump pitched to American voters during the election -- about infrastructure spending on roads, fights about immigration issues and difficulties facing lower income groups.

Americans are driving longer on the country's roads and bridges to get to work. This is particularly true in larger metro areas or smaller metro areas within commuting distance of a larger metro area. Shorter commutes are generally found around smaller metro areas. On the whole, the census found that commutes got slightly longer from 2012 through 2016 than in the previous five-year period.

The worst work commutes are in the Northeast and around Washington, DC. Average commute times to and from these areas are at least 30 minutes each way. They include: - Read More

America today: Longer commutes, higher rents, less English at home ...

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Wildfires threaten several thousand homes in Southern California

Firefighters in Southern California are battling a new wildfire that has engulfed an area near the Getty Center and the Skirball Cultural Center.

The 150-acre brush fire ignited around 5 a.m. CT near 405 Freeway and Mulholland Drive in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. More than 350 firefighters were on the scene with helicopters hovering above as the so-called Skirball fire remained at 0 percent contained later this morning.

Authorities have shut down northbound 405 for an "undetermined period" as a result of the blaze and ordered mandatory evacuations for parts of the affluent Bel-Air neighborhood, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said the Skirball fire has downed trees and destroyed at least four structures in the area so far. Read More

Wildfires threaten several thousand homes in Southern ... - ABC News

Full Video and Transcript: Trump’s Speech Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel - NYTimes

President Trump on Wednesday officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of American foreign policy.

Mr. Trump made the formal announcement during a speech in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, with Vice President Mike Pence standing behind him.

The following is a transcript of his remarks, as prepared by The New York Times. - Read More

For more coverage and analysis, read here.

 
Full Video and Transcript: Trump's Speech Recognizing Jerusalem as ...

Jerusalem is Israel's capital, says Donald Trump

President Donald Trump has announced that the US now recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital, overturning decades of official US policy.

Mr Trump described the move as "a long overdue step" to advance the Middle East peace process.

The president said the US would support a two-state solution, if approved by both the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Ahead of the decision, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned of "dangerous consequences".

Speaking at the White House, Mr Trump said he had "judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians".

East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, was annexed by Israel after the Six Day War of 1967, but is not internationally recognised as part of Israel. - Read More

Jerusalem is Israel's capital, says Donald Trump - BBC News

Donald Trump to plunge Middle East into 'fire with no end' with Jerusalem speech - theguardian

A cacophony of angry and despairing voices across the Middle East and the world has urged Donald Trump not to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at a planned speech on Wednesday, warning him that any such announcement would destroy the peace process, strengthen the extremists and weaken the US’s standing in the world.

The pope issued an unusually heartfelt plea to the president to respect the status quo on the city, and to conform with UN resolutions. He told thousands of people at his general audience: “I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days.”

Pope Francis said he hoped “wisdom and prudence prevail, in order to avoid adding new elements of tension to a global panorama that is already convulsed and marked by so many cruel conflicts”.

The spokesman for the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said the US was “plunging the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight”. He added that the Organisation for Islamic Co-operation would meet in Istanbul on 13 December in a special session to co-ordinate a response.

British prime minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that she would call Trump about his proposed announcement.

“The status of Jerusalem should be determined as a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians and Jerusalem should be a shared capital,” she said.

Both Germany and France, fierce critics of the decision, updated travel advice to their citizens, warning of possible clashes in Israel and the occupied territories. - Read More

Donald Trump to plunge Middle East into 'fire with no end' with ...

Any action that would undermine efforts towards a two-state solution must be avoided, Mogherini says after meeting with Tillerson

"The European Union supports the resumption of a meaningful peace process towards a two-state solution. We believe that any action that would undermine these efforts must absolutely be avoided," said Mogherini.

"A way must be found, through negotiations, to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states, so that the aspiration of both parties can be fulfilled," the HRVP added highlighting that the European Union supports the resumption of a meaningful peace process towards a two-state solution. - Read More

Any action that would undermine efforts towards a two-state solution ...


Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini ...

World reacts to US Israel embassy relocation plan | News | Al Jazeera

US President Donald Trump is expected to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday, and announce his plans to move the US embassy to the city. 

The US president on Tuesday called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other Arab leaders to inform them of his intentions.

He was warned by many in the Middle East and elsewhere of the "disastrous consequences" the move would have on regional stability and any prospect of a long-lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. 

No country currently has its embassy in Jerusalem, and the international community, including the US, does not recognise Israel's jurisdiction over and ownership of the city.

Echoing Abbas' comments, Jordan's King Abdullah II told Trump that such a decision would have "dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region", according to a statement released by the palace. 

"Jerusalem is the key to achieving peace and stability in the region and the world," the statement said, adding that an embassy move would inflame Muslim and Christian feelings.

In a statement, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi also cautioned Trump against "taking measures that would undermine the chances of peace in the Middle East".

Following a separate phone conversation with Trump, Saudi King Salman also told the US president "that any American announcement regarding the situation of Jerusalem prior to reaching a permanent settlement will harm peace talks and increase tensions in the area".

Earlier on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Israel, following reports that the US was considering recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move that would be symbolised by relocating the embassy to Jerusalem. 

"Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims," said Erdogan. "We implore the US once again: You cannot take this step."

Later in the day, Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's foreign ministeralso warned that any US move to recognise Jerusalem "as the capital of Israel does not calm a conflict, rather it fuels it even more," and that such a move "would be a very dangerous development."

Gabriel said in Brussels that "it's in everyone's interest that this does not happen".

Federica Mogherini, the European Union's top diplomat, said "any action that would undermine" peace efforts to create two separate states for the Israelis and the Palestinians "must absolutely be avoided."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has "consistently warned against any unilateral action that would have the potential to undermine the two-state solution", his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters in New York. - Read More

World reacts to US Israel embassy relocation plan | News | Al Jazeera

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Wildfires In Southern California Force Thousands Of People To Flee - NPR

Multiple fires are burning in Southern California, claiming hundreds of structures and thousands of acres and closing many freeways and local roadways, according to state fire officials.

A wind-whipped wildfire swept into the coastal California city of Ventura early Tuesday, one day after thousands of people in Ventura County were forced to flee the blaze, which has now engulfed some 50,000 acres northwest of Los Angeles. It erupted weeks after firefighters in Northern California's wine country managed to contain the deadliest blazes in the state's history.

"This is already the most destructive fire year on record for the state," NPR's Nathan Rott reports.

Around 1,000 homes in the cities of Ventura, Santa Paula and Ojai have been evacuated, according to the Los Angeles TimesMandatory as well as voluntary evacuations were in effect in Ventura on Tuesday, with shelters open at the Ventura County Fairgrounds and in nearby Ojai and Oxnard.

At least 150 structures have been lost in the blaze, said Ventura County Fire Department Chief Mark Lorenzen. The Times reports those include "at least one large apartment complex and the Vista Del Mar Hospital, a psychiatric facility. ... Many more were threatened."

The Thomas Fire broke out around 6:30 p.m. local time Monday northwest of the city of Santa Paula and then exploded in size overnight. Officials initially said at least one person had died as a result of the blaze but clarified Tuesday that no fatalities have been confirmed, according to the Times.

An incident report from Ventura County described the blaze as "a fast moving, active brush fire that started north of Santa Paula near Highway 150 and has burned into the city limits of Ventura and toward Highway 33." - Read More

Wildfires In Southern California Force Thousands Of People To Flee