Thu, Jun 15, 2017 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take



Landslide death toll hits 146

The death toll from massive landslides triggered by heavy rains rose to 146 yesterday, with firefighters, police and soldiers struggling to reach the remote southeastern districts to distribute aid, officials said. It was not clear if any villagers were still missing after large chunks of mud swept over thatched homes and settlements in three hilly districts on Tuesday, a day after heavy rains began across the nation because of the influence of a depression in the Bay of Bengal. The search-and-rescue operation resumed yesterday morning after an overnight halt, said Reaz Ahmed, a senior official at the disaster management ministry. Officials said at least 98 of the victims died in Rangamati, one of the worst-hit districts, and 37 were killed in Chittagong, four died in Cox’s Bazaar and seven in Bandarban. Hundreds more have been injured.


States warned over refugees

A top official said that a legal action was to be launched yesterday against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for failing to honor their pledges to accommodate refugees. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that “for more than a year now they have not been taking any refugees at all,” under a two-year program to share 160,000 refugees. “That gives us no other choice than to implement sanctions against these countries today,” Juncker added. The relocation scheme is a major plank of the union’s migration policy and was lauded as a pan-European show of solidarity in 2015 when more than 1 million migrants entered Europe. However, just three months before the scheme’s end date in September, fewer than 21,000 people have been relocated.


MPs suspended over snub

The parliament on Tuesday suspended 48 opposition lawmakers for boycotting a speech by the president, widening a political rift that has alarmed rights groups. Speaker Patrick Matibini barred United Party for National Development (UPND) politicians from taking their seats for 30 days, a move that banned them from the building and stopped their pay. UPND, which was defeated in elections in August last year that it said were rigged, called the suspensions unconstitutional. The lawmakers boycotted President Edgar Lungu’s address at the official opening of the assembly in March, saying they did not recognize him as leader. A month later, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and five others were arrested and charged with treason after a column of opposition vehicles failed to make way for Lungu’s motorcade. Amnesty International has said the treason charges are “trumped up” and called for the politicians’ release.


Inmates escape after flood

Authorities said that dozens of inmates had escaped from a prison on Sumatra Island after the penitentiary broke down due to floods. Torrential rain overnight has triggered floods in several places, inundating residential areas and buildings in Jambi. That caused a wall to collapse at the prison that houses 1,238 inmates. Local police chief Brigadier General Priyo Widyanto said police, soldiers and city security officers were deployed to safeguard the prison and to evacuate inmates from the prison that is still partly flooded. The provincial head of the law and human rights ministry Bambang Palasara said at least 21 inmates have been recaptured and about 30 are still at large.

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