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South Asia floods claim more than 750 lives

August 21, 2017 rbksa 0
Author: 
AFP
Tue, 2017-08-22 21:34
ID: 
1503338285159382100

NEW DELHI: More than 750 people have died in floods across South Asia, officials said Monday, with monsoon rains also causing the deaths of hundreds of animals, including rhinos and a tiger.
The human toll is steadily rising across India, Nepal and Bangladesh following the latest in a series of deluges since Aug. 10, as the annual monsoon hits the north and east of the region.
Nearly 50 bodies were found overnight in Bihar, in India’s east, taking the number of dead there to 253, a state disaster official told AFP.
In Nepal, 143 people have died and 30 remain missing after flooding that has destroyed close to 80,000 homes.
The heavy rain has also taken a toll on India’s wildlife, with rescue teams pulling stranded animals from raging waters in Kaziranga National Park.
The sanctuary in northeastern Assam state, home to the world’s largest population of rare one-horned rhinos and other endangered species, has been especially hard hit.
“Our teams have recovered 225 dead animals since Aug. 12. Of those, 15 were rhinos,” Kaziranga Director Satyendra Singh told AFP.
“A Bengal tiger also died in a fight with a herd of elephants. He was left injured and later could not walk or swim. It is possible that due to floods, there was a space crunch and it led to a territorial conflict.”
Nearly 200 deer, four elephant calves, four wild boars, two water buffaloes and one porcupine were among the other animals found dead in Kaziranga, which is still 20 percent under water, said Singh.
“The toll could rise further,” he added.
The mighty Brahmaputra River, which runs through Assam, often breaks its banks during the monsoon leaving marooned animals scrambling to higher, dryer ground.
Conservationists worry that poachers, hunting for lucrative rhino horn, will try and capitalize on the exodus of wildlife from the protection of the jungle.
Singh said his teams had already taken precautions, erecting barricades and increasing patrols.
The park, a tourist magnet home to about 2,500 rhinos, was given a huge publicity boost last year when Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate visited during their tour of India. But like other parts of the region, it is prone to flooding during the monsoon.
Across Assam and West Bengal, 122 people have died while 69 people have perished in Uttar Pradesh state.
In the Himalaya region in India’s northwest, landslides caused by heavy rain have claimed 54 lives, the vast majority in one huge avalanche of mud that swept two buses off a mountainside.
Across the border in Bangladesh, 115 people have died and 5.7 million are affected by raging downpours.

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related_nodes: 
Nearly 600 dead in South Asia floods
Death toll in South Asia monsoon flooding rises to 245
41 dead in western India flood
Flooding maroons people in Indian states, eases in Nepal

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South Sudan grounds UN planes in airport row

August 21, 2017 rbksa 0
Author: 
Reuters
Tue, 2017-08-22 21:47
ID: 
1503338105159367100

NAIROBI: South Sudan has grounded planes belonging to UN peacekeepers in a dispute over control of the airport in the capital Juba, the government said on Monday.
The move threatens to further delay the deployment of the latest 4,000 peacekeepers to be assigned to South Sudan, where civil war broke out in 2013.
“It was because the forces that were brought went to the airport to control the airport, which is not part of their mandate,” President Salva Kiir’s spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said, explaining the decision to stop UN flights.
“They cannot come here to control our airport. It is our airport and if they wanted to cooperate with us, they must refrain from (deploying in) places they are not authorized.”
Government forces are currently in control of the airport. UN officials said later in the day they had resumed the flights after the government started approving them.
“Clearances are now being issued and UNMISS’ normal operations to protect civilians and build durable peace in South Sudan have resumed,” the UN mission (UNMISS) said.
The UN Security Council agreed in August last year to deploy the so-called regional protection force (RPF) of 4,000 extra peacekeepers, mostly from Rwanda and Ethiopia, after renewed fighting broke out between troops loyal to Kiir and those backing former Vice President Riek Machar.
The RPF was to supplement a 12,000-strong UN force already on the ground, but South Sudan has been reluctant to accept it, saying it has reservations over the nationalities of the troops and the armaments they can carry.
A small batch started trickling in three months ago, but diplomats said the latest dispute could bring further delays.

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Turku stabbing suspect may have been radicalized

August 21, 2017 rbksa 0
Author: 
AFP
Mon, 2017-08-21 15:06
ID: 
1503337250069320900

HELSINKI: Court documents on Monday identified the suspect in last week’s stabbing spree in a Finnish city as 18-year-old Abderrahman Mechkah, who the country’s intelligence agency said may have been radicalized.
The stabbing is being probed as the country’s first-ever terror attack.
Police have previously described the suspect as an asylum seeker from Morocco.
He targeted women in the attack at a market square in the southwestern port of Turku on Friday. Two people were killed dead and eight were injured.
The motive for the attack is unclear. But the Finnish intelligence agency SUPO said Turku police had received a tip early this year that Mechkah “appeared… to have been radicalized and showed interest in extremist ideologies.”
The tip, which had been forwarded to the SUPO, “contained no information about any threat of an attack.”
Mechkah, whom police shot in the thigh while arresting him minutes after the rampage, is to appear before the Turku court on Tuesday via video link from hospital, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said.
His court appearance had initially been scheduled for Monday.
Police will ask the court to remand him in custody on suspicion of two murders and eight attempted murders “with terrorist intent.”
Investigators said on Sunday that they had interrogated the suspect for the first time, but disclosed no information about the outcome.
Police will also request the detention of four other Moroccan citizens who were arrested in an overnight raid on a Turku apartment building and refugee housing center just hours after the attack.
“They are suspected of participation in the murders and attempted murders committed with a terrorist intent. They deny any involvement in the offenses,” the NBI said.
Police said earlier that the suspect was an asylum seeker who arrived in Finland in early 2016.
The attack occurred just after 4:00 p.m. (1300 GMT) on Friday, with police shooting the knife-wielding suspect minutes later.
The two people who died were both Finnish women, born in 1951 and 1986. Six of the injured were also women, while two men were injured trying to fend off the attacker.
Among the injured were an Italian, a Swede and a Briton.
Finland raised its emergency readiness level after the attack, increasing security at airports and train stations and putting more officers on the streets.
The SUPO said authorities had received over a thousand tips in recent years similar to the one concerning Mechkah.
“Our aim is to investigate all tips, but in order to go through all of them we have to prioritize heavily. Those tips that contain information about a concrete threat must be prioritized,” it said.
In June, the SUPO raised Finland’s terror threat level by a notch, to “elevated” from “low,” the second on a four-tier scale.
It said at the time that it saw an increased risk of an attack committed by Daesh militants, noting that foreign fighters from Finland had “gained significant positions within Daesh in particular and have an extensive network of relations in the organization.”
The agency reiterated on Monday that it was closely watching around 350 individuals — an increase of 80 percent since 2012.
A minute of silence was held across Finland on Sunday in honor of the victims.
Another minute of silence was to be held in Helsinki on Monday, organized by Christian and Muslim associations.

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Buy USD/JPY targeting 111.50 – Citi trade of the week

August 21, 2017 Yohay Elam 0

USD/JPY started off the week with ith a drop under 109, but the team at Citi has other plans for the pair. Here is their trade of the week: Here is their view, courtesy of eFXnews: Currency investors should consider buying USD/JPY this week, advises CitiFX Research in its weekly FX pick. Citi recommends buying USD/JPY* […]

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