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Lightning, thunderstorm kill 26 in east Indian state

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Lightning, thunderstorm kill 26 in east Indian state

At least 26 people were killed on Thursday due to lightning and thunderstorm in India’s eastern state of Bihar, officials said.


The deaths have taken place in Patna, East Champaran, Samastipur, Sheohar, Katihar, Madhepura, Purnia, West Champaran districts.

“Seven people were killed in Samastipur, six in Patna, four in East Champaran, three in Katihar, two each in Sheohar and Madhepura, while as one each in Purnia and West Champaran,” an official at disaster management department Bihar said.

On Tuesday 11 people were killed in similar strikes in the state.

Last week also 83 people died due to heavy rains and lightning in the state.

Disaster management officials said the victims were either working inside their fields or had taken shelter under trees at the time of lightning.

On Wednesday Chief Minister appealed people to take care during bad weather conditions and avoid venturing out at the time of lightning and thunderstorms.

He also urged people to strictly follow the precautionary measures issued by the disaster management office for bad weather conditions.

At present India is in the grip of southwest monsoon and most parts are experiencing heavy to very heavy rainfall, besides extremely heavy spells at isolated spots.

(XINHUA)

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Toxic alcohol death toll crosses 100 in India as 30 arrested

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The death toll from poisoning linked to toxic liquor in India’s northern state of Punjab rose to 105 on Monday even as police carried out a crackdown on the illicit alcohol trade in the region.


Poor farmers and workers fell ill after drinking the alcohol across three districts, and the first deaths were reported last Wednesday.

The toll soared  from 21 on Friday after families reported deaths to administration officials over the weekend, in what has become the country’s worst bootleg alcohol incident this year.

Eighty people died in the Tarn Taran district over the past five days, senior official Kulwant Singh said.

Twenty-five deaths were confirmed in nearby Amritsar and Batala, state police said.

In a crackdown, police conducted dozens of raids across villages to arrest 30 bootleggers and smashed illegal distilleries while seizing thousands of litres of tainted liquor.

Initial investigations revealed the liquor contained methanol, which can cause blindness and death when consumed in large amounts.

The Punjab government has suspended seven excise officials and six police officials even as opposition parties accused ruling party leaders of “patronising (the) spurious liquor trade.”

An average of 1,000 people die in India each year after consuming illegally distilled alcohol, government data shows.

The liquor is usually made with poor-quality ingredients and sometimes mixed with industrial alcohol and toxic substances.

A total of 151 people, mostly tea-plantation workers, died after drinking toxic alcohol last year in one of the worst cases of liquor poisoning in India in recent years.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Canada’s economy up 4.5 percent in May

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Canada’s gross domestic product grew 4.5 percent in May because businesses reopened after unprecedented economic lockdowns due to the COVID-19 spread in March and April, according to Statistics Canada on Friday.


May saw rebounds across multiple industries with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, including retail trade that registered a 16.4 percent surge to mark its largest monthly increase since 1961.

May’s gains offset some of the March and April declines, economic activity remained 15 percent below February’s pre-pandemic level.

In May, 17 of 20 industrial sectors posted increases.

Both goods-producing industries rose 8 percent while the services-producing sector was up 3.4 percent.

Preliminary information indicates an approximate 5 percent increase in GDP for June and an approximate 12 percent decline in real GDP in the second quarter of 2020.

Owing to their preliminary nature, these estimates will be revised on Aug. 28 with the release of the official GDP for June and the second quarter.

(XINHUA)

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Iraqi PM says early elections to be held on June 6, 2021

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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Friday set June 6, 2021, as a date for the early elections, which is part of his government’s political program.


“I announce that June 6, 2021, will be the date for the early parliamentary elections and we will do our best to give success to this elections by protecting it and provide its needs,” al-Kadhimi said in a televised speech.

“I ask the parliament to send the electoral law to the presidency for approval, and that the electoral commission to enjoy full independence, in addition to that the elections to be held under international observers,” al-Kadhimi said.

Al-Kadhimi’s comments came after he held a meeting on Thursday with the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), during which he confirmed that the government “is proceeding with the early elections, which is one of the main goals of the government program.”

Late last year, the Iraqi parliament passed most of the elections draft, but differences remained on a few articles due to political row among the political blocs.

On May 6, al-Kadhimi was sworn in as the new prime minister in Iraq, following the approval of the parliament on most of his cabinet members.

(XINHUA)

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Spain reports post-lockdown record number of coronavirus cases

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Spain‘s Ministry of Health reported on Friday 1,525 new coronavirus cases, the biggest spike since the lockdown was lifted in June.


It was the first day since the end of the State of Alarm, which ended on June 21, when the total number of cases surpassed 1,500. It was also the third day in a row that Spain diagnosed over 1,000 infections, resembling figures from the beginning of the lockdown.

The cases reported on Friday were concentrated in four regions — Aragon (511), Madrid (372), the Basque country (158) and Andalusia (107). Catalonia registered 64 infections in the last 24 hours.

The ministry said that another ten people had died in the last seven days.

As of Friday, the number of coronavirus cases totaled 288,522 since the beginning of the pandemic.

At a summit with regional leaders on Friday, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called the health crisis “an economic and social emergency.”

Sanchez insisted that Spain must focus on economic recovery after it registered an “unprecedented” collapse in its second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP). According to the National Statistics Institute, GDP sank by 18.5 percent quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter of 2020.

“Very tough months await us, but we are going to get out of this,” Sanchez said.

(XINHUA)

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