Nine people were killed and many others are missing after a series of landslides in Nepal on Thursday night, officials said.
Janardan Gautam, a spokesperson for Nepal’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA), said that seven of the deceased belonged to two families in Kaski and Lamjung districts of Gandaki province.
“The figure could go up as rescue operations are still under way in some areas,” Gautam told dpa on Friday, adding that around a dozen of people had been rescued and taken to hospital.
It is not known how many people are still buried after the landslides in several areas.
The state-owned National News Agency said at least 29 people were missing after landslides swept over a dozen houses in Myagdi, another district in Gandaki province.
NDRRMA urged people to be careful as heavy rainfall continues to wreak havoc across the country.
Earlier on Thursday, two people died due to floods near the Chinese border in central Nepal, while at least 16 others are still missing.
Monsoon-induced natural disasters are common in Nepal, a country mostly covered by mountains and rivers.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
137 Rangers worldwide die in 2020, says International Rangers’ President
Its President, Chris Galliers, made the disclosure at the 2020 World Ranger Day, celebrated annually on July 31.
Galliers’ speech was read by Dr Ibrahim Goni, Conservator-General, National Park Service, during a Zoom meeting in Abuja to commemorate the World Rangers Day in Abuja.
He said that the figures accounted for the highest number of Rangers deaths since the inception of the Roll of Honour in 2011.
Galliers said of the seven IRF regions, Asia had the greatest number of rangers’ killed at 66 deaths, representing 48 per cent of all ranger deaths.
According to him, Africa has the second highest number of Rangers’ deaths of 40, making up 30 per cent.
“We know that this number could be considerably higher, as not all ranger deaths are reported or publicised.
“The number is still unacceptably high, with 1,013 recorded ranger deaths over the past decade.
“This is of major concern. We, as the ranger family, share in the loss of our colleagues and their families, and look to honour them on the World Ranger Day for all that they had contributed to the profession and conservation.”
He said the main cause of deaths on duty for rangers was homicide, which accounted for 43 deaths, adding that these deaths mostly occurred in Africa and Asia.
“In addition, the environment in which rangers work can be hostile and dangerous, threatened by the very animals that they serve to protect.
“Wildlife attack accounted for the second highest cause of rangers fatalities, with 24 deaths.
“Other causes include accidents- 33 deaths; drownings- 14 deaths and illness/natural causes- 23 deaths.”
The IRF president said the the federation, at the World Ranger Congress, at Nepal in November, 2019, set some ambitious actions to professionalise the sector and support those working on the frontline.
Galliers said that for the most part, rangers had been classified as essential services, allowing them to continue their invaluable works.
According to him, rangers need the support of the world, and to achieve this, regardless of COVID-19, or not, there is a need for empowered and well supported rangers, operating in a more secured work place, who will become ambassadors for the profession to inspire the next generation.
“We hope that the world takes a greater appreciation of the value of protected and conserved areas and the people who protect them, and realise having a minimum of 30 per cent of the earth protected by 2030 is a real necessity.
“On behalf of IRF and the Board, we thank all those that are taking the time to voice their support for rangers. Thanks too must go to all that are running programmes to keep rangers operational and effective through this difficult time.
“Finally, a thank you to the ranger families for their support and the sacrifices that they live with continuously.”
Dunn, however, said it was commendable to note that ranger patrols by the Nigerian National Park Service had not once faltered during this turbulent period.
According to him, with the support from WCS, Rangers are a force for good in Nigeria.
Dunn: “Ranger teams in Yankari Game Reserve have not lost a single elephant to poaching since 2015.
“Dedicated ranger units in Cross River National Park have drastically reduced poaching of Cross River Gorillas, and there has been no record of Gorillas killed in Okwangwo since 2008.
“Only constant patrols by courageous rangers in Gashaka Gumti National Park has kept Nigeria’s largest wilderness area safe and secure, free from the scourge of Boko Haram.”
He, however, noted that Nigerian rangers needed automatic weapons, better training, improved remuneration and better working conditions.
Dunn added that the rangers also needed joint patrols with the army and improved recognition of the work they do to improve security for all Nigerians, not just for wildlife.
“Also, confidence that the poachers they risk their lives to arrest will be prosecuted according to the full force of the law, and would not be released to reoffend; zero tolerance for violence or threats of violence against rangers,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some rangers from the various national parks across the country shared their experiences, and called for provision of more sophisticated equipment and support for effective service delivery.
Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan resume talks on disputed dam
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have resumed negotiations on the filling and operation of a controversial dam being built by Addis Ababa on the Blue Nile.
The online meeting on Monday between the three Nile basin countries is the second of a new round of talks brokered by the African Union to resolve the years-long dispute about the hydroelectric Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, fears that the dam will reduce its water supply and is seeking a legally binding deal that would guarantee appropriate flows of water and a legal mechanism for resolving disputes before the dam starts operating.
Ethiopia wants the dam to boost its power exports, whereas Egypt relies almost exclusively on the Nile for farming, industry and domestic water use.
During Monday’s meeting, Egypt’s Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty expressed his country’s rejection of Ethiopia’s “unilateral measure” of starting the filling of the dam without consultation and coordination with Egypt and Sudan, which both lie downstream, according a statement issued by his spokesperson.
The minister said the move “gives negative indications that Ethiopia does not want to reach a fair agreement and runs counter to a previous agreement of principles.”
The three countries agreed that the legal and technical committees will discuss the contentious issues during the next two days. The results will be presented at a ministerial meeting on Thursday.
Tens of thousands of Ethiopians celebrated the first filling of the dam on Sunday, flooding the streets of the capital Addis Ababa in support of the project.
In July, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the country had completed the first filling of the dam thanks to seasonal rainfall.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
United States judge whose son was killed by gunman speaks out
A United States Federal Judge whose son was killed and husband wounded by a gunman disguised as a FedEx driver detailed her last moments with her only child in an emotional video posted online.
“Two weeks ago, my life as I knew it changed in an instant and my family will never be the same,” United States District Judge Esther Salas said in the video posted to YouTube on Monday.
The attack on Salas’ family in New Jersey happened July 19. The accused gunman, attorney Roy Den Hollander, was later found dead in an apparent suicide in upstate New York.
He is described as an anti-feminist lawyer, and officials said Salas had recently presided over one of his cases.
That morning the Salas family was getting ready to clean up after a party. They had just celebrated her son’s 20th birthday.
“Daniel always wanted to spend his birthdays with his dad and me so he asked that we host a party for a few of his Catholic University of America friends,” she says in the video.
Despite the pandemic, they agreed.
“We thought we could adhere to safety guidelines,” she says.
After going to church with her husband, Salas said she went alone to the basement to wake up her son.
“We were chatting, as we always do, and Daniel said, ‘Mom, let’s keep talking. I love talking to you, Mom,’” Salas says, struggling to hold back tears. “And it was at that exact moment that the doorbell rang.”
Her son ran upstairs. Moments later, she heard gunshots and screams.
“I later learned that this monster, who had a FedEx package in his hand, opened fire,” she says in the video, her voice shaking.
“But Daniel, being Daniel, protected his father and he took the shooter’s first bullet directly to the chest.”
Her son later died. Her husband, Mark Anderl, a 63-year-old criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor, was shot three times, she explains. One bullet struck his chest, another his stomach, and the third his right forearm.
“While my husband is still in the hospital recovering from his multiple surgeries, we are living every parent’s worst nightmare,” she pauses for a moment, before adding: “Making preparations to bury our only child, Daniel.”
Salas noted that the gunman was easily able to find her personal information online. She then pleads for lawmakers to help protect the private details of federal judges, so no one else suffers the same fate as she and her family.
“My son’s death cannot be in vain, which is why I am begging those in power to do something to help my brothers and sisters on the bench,” she says.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Insect can escape after being eaten by frog, scientists find
The insect Regimbartia attenuata can escape even after being devoured by certain species of frog, among them Pelophylax nigromaculatus, Japanese ecologist Shinji Sugiura of Kobe University announced on Monday.
Like other kinds of frog, Pelophylax nigromaculatus’ lack of teeth makes it unable to kill the insect before eating it. This is done instead by the digestive tract.
But that mostly doesn’t work with Regimbartia attenuata, which, Sugiura says, stimulates the frog to defecate and, like Tim Robbins’ wrongly imprisoned Andy Dufresne in 1994 film “The Shawshank Redemption,” crawls through a river of excrement to its freedom.
It’s the first time that the flight of prey after consumption has been documented scientifically, according to researchers from the magazine Current Biology.
The aforementioned insect and frog are found in the same paddy fields in Japan. To investigate the insect’s capacity for self-defence, Sugiura fed it to young and adult frogs.
The frogs made light work of chowing down the insects. But, within six hours, 93.3 per cent of the impudent invertebrates had come out the other end – and all were as chirpy as ever after their improbable journey.
The insect apparently moves from the frog’s digestive tract to its intended exit at the anus, researchers said. Pressure from the frog’s sphincter keeps its anus closed, prompting the insect to stimulate the frog’s intestine.
This causes the sphincter to relax and allows the insect to take a triumphant log ride to freedom on the frog’s stool.
Researchers observed the same thing happen after consumption of the insect to four other species of frog: Pelophylax porosus, Glandirana rugosa, Fejervarya kawamurai und Hyla japonica.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)