Bus crash kills 29
At least 29 people were killed yesterday after a bus careered off one of India’s busiest roads, which has become known as the “highway to hell” because of its poor safety record. The driver was suspected to have fallen asleep before the bus crashed into a railing and fell into a drain between two flyovers on the Yamuna expressway, which connects New Delhi with Agra, the city famed for the Taj Mahal. Eighteen people were injured, some critically, police said. The 165km expressway was India’s longest six-lane highway when it opened in 2012, but about 900 people been killed on the road since, according to authorities. The state-run bus was taking more than 50 people from Lucknow in northern Uttar Pradesh to Delhi when the accident happened at about 4.15am about 20km outside of Agra. It fell more than 12m into a drain below the road, crushing the roof of the bus. Running water in the drain complicated rescue efforts, police said. “Twenty nine persons have died and 18 others are injured,” Agra district magistrate N.G. Ravi Kumar said.
Prisoner poisoning probed
The nation has opened a criminal investigation after 14 prisoners were fatally poisoned while they were being transported between jails, the Ministry of Justice said yesterday, suggesting that another inmate might have given them contaminated bread. The incident happened on Sunday as more than 100 prisoners, including eight women, were being transferred in a convoy from prisons in the north of the Central Asian country to jails in the south. The ministry said in a statement that a prisoner handed around bread to a group of 16 inmates traveling in one of the vehicles during a stop on the journey. It said that “16 prisoners, who were in the back of one of the cars, experienced nausea, dizziness, vomiting” half an hour after consuming the bread. Medical staff were only able to save the lives of two of the prisoners, according to the statement, which was relayed by the Khovar state information agency. The state prosecutor had opened a criminal case into the incident, the ministry said.
More US forces sought
President Mahamadou Issoufou called for greater US involvement in the fight against Islamist insurgencies in west Africa — at a time when US President Donald Trump is scaling back the US’ military presence on the continent. Too little is being done to combat the fighters, Issoufou said on Saturday in an interview in the capital, Niamey. Militants have carried out attacks in Mali, Nigeria, Chad, Burkina Faso and Niger. Other countries in the region, including Ivory Coast and Ghana, have stepped up security in the face of the growing threat. Niger is already at the center of an international effort to fight the insurgencies in the Sahel, an arid area on the southern fringe of the Sahara. France and the US have a military presence in Niger — the US built a US$110 million drone base in northern Niger and has deployed special forces on the ground. “I propose an international coalition, like you see in Syria or Iraq, to fight terrorism in the Sahel and the Lake Chad basin,” Issoufou said. “When I say an international force, this also includes the US.” The extent of US involvement in Niger was unclear until four US soldiers were killed in an ambush by more than 100 Islamist militants in the southwest of the country in 2017. Their deaths prompted an investigation by the Pentagon and a fierce debate about US military involvement in Africa.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of