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Mexican police find 45 bags containing human remains



(picture BBC)

BBC reported that Mexican authorities have found 45 bags containing human remains in a ravine outside the western city of Guadalajara.

Officials were searching for seven young call centre workers, who had been reported missing last week, when they found the bodies. The remains include men and women, and the number of bodies is not yet known. The search is expected to continue for several days because of difficult terrain and poor lighting.

The state prosecutor’s office for the western state of Jalisco said in a statement that, following a tip-off in the search for the seven people, they had begun searching at the Mirador del Bosque ravine where they found the bags that included body parts.

The first bag was found on Tuesday, but because of the difficult terrain and lack of sunlight, the investigation resumed on Wednesday and will continue until all remains are located, the prosecutor’s office said. Firefighters and civil defence were working with police and a helicopter crew to recover the remains.

Officials said they would continue working to determine the number of dead bodies, who they were, and their causes of death. It added that it would continue trying to establish the whereabouts of the seven people reported as missing.

Although it has not yet been established how the bodies ended up in the ravine, crimes of disappearance are relatively common in Mexico.

More than 100,000 people are missing, government figures suggest, with many being victims of organised crime. Perpetrators are rarely punished. Government data shows that many disappearances have occurred since 2007, when then-President Felipe Calderón launched his “war on drugs”.Three quarters of those reported missing were men and one fifth were under the age of 18 at the time of their disappearance. Relatives of the disappeared say that the government is not doing enough to find them, and that officials are indifferent when they report their loved ones as missing.

The United Nations has called it “a human tragedy of enormous proportions”.

Jalisco is the heartland of a violent drug war, and some of the most powerful groups operating there include the Jalisco New Generation cartel (CJNG), and their rival, Nueva Plaza, which split from the CJNG in 2017, sparking violence across Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco state.

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Foreign News

Maldives opposition candidate Muizzu projected to win presidential run-off




Presidential candidate Mohamed Muizzu, after casting his vote (Aljazeera)

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has conceded defeat in a presidential run-off vote after an official count showed his rival Mohamed Muizzu in an impenetrable lead.

“Congratulations to president-elect Muizzu,” Solih wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, after the Elections Commission of the Maldives showed his opponent winning 54 percent of ballots on Saturday.  “Thank you for the beautiful democratic example shown by the people in the elections,” he added. Official results are expected later today.

Muizzu, 45, emerged as the surprise fore runner during the first round of voting on September 8, taking some 46 percent of the ballots cast. Solih – hurt by a low voter turnout and a split within his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) – won 39 percent.

The run-off was seen as having significant implications for the Maldives’s foreign policy, especially in deciding China and India’s battle for influence in the strategically located archipelago.

“Today’s result is a reflection of the patriotism of our people. A call on all our neighbours and bilateral partners to fully respect our independence and sovereignty,” a top official of Muizzu’s Progressive Party of Maldives, Mohamed Shareef, said according to the Associated Press news agency.

He told the news agency that it was also a mandate for Muizzu to resurrect the economy and the release of People’s National Congress party leader and former President Abdulla Yameen from prison.

Yameen is serving a prison term for corruption and money laundering, but his supporters say he has been jailed for political reasons. Muizzu had served as the housing minister for seven years and is currently the mayor of the capital Male.

Watchdog group Transparency Maldives said there had been some incidents of “electoral violence,” without specifying further details.

There were more than 282,000 eligible voters and turnout was 78 percent an hour before the polling stations closed.


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Foreign News

Israeli conscripts banned as guards after allegations of sex with Palestinian inmate




Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said female soldiers will be banned from being guards in high security prisons (pic BBC)

Female Israeli soldiers are to be banned from serving as high security prison guards after allegations of sex with a Palestinian inmate.

Israeli media say a soldier admitted to physical intimacy with a Palestinian man said to have carried out a deadly attack on Israeli civilians.

The woman is thought to have been on military service which is compulsory for the majority of Israelis. Women must serve for at least two years and men for 32 months.

The name of the soldier and the inmate serving a life sentence have not been released.

The court hearing the case ordered that other details including the location of the prison should not be revealed. Israeli media also reported that during questioning, the soldier – who has been arrested – claimed four other women had also had intimate relations with the same man.

The Palestinian inmate was transferred from his cell to a segregated wing ahead of questioning, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) said.

On Friday, IPS chief Katy Perry and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir announced that female soldiers would no longer serve in high security prisons holding Palestinian “terrorists”.

Israeli media quoted Mr Ben-Gvir as saying that by mid-2025 “not a single female soldier will remain in the security prisoners’ wings”.

There have been repeated calls for the service of female Israeli soldiers in high-security Israeli prisons to be halted. However, these previously stalled because of a lack of staff to replace them.

Last year, Israeli ministers ordered an investigation after a scandal at one jail in which it was alleged that Palestinian convicts had assaulted and raped female soldiers serving as prison guards and that some senior prison officers had “pimped out” the conscripts.


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Foreign News

State of emergency declared in New York City over flash flooding




Residents escape the rising floodwaters in New York City

A state of emergency has been declared in New York City as strong storms bring flash flooding.

Many of the city’s subway systems, streets and highways have flooded, while at least one terminal at LaGuardia Airport closed on Friday.

Up to five inches (12.7cm) of rain fell in some areas overnight, and up to seven more inches (17.8cm) are due, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has said. “This is a dangerous, life-threatening storm,” she added. “I am declaring a state of emergency across New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley due to the extreme rainfall we’re seeing throughout the region,” she said on X, formerly known as Twitter and urged people to take steps to stay safe and “never attempt to travel on flooded roads”.

No deaths or critical injuries have been reported.

A state of emergency was also declared in the New Jersey town of Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from New York City.

In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams, warned people it was a time for “heightened alertness and extreme caution” as the state of emergency was put in place. “Some of our subways are flooded and it is extremely difficult to move around the city,” he told a press briefing.

Authorities have so far conducted at least six rescues of residents trapped in flooded basements, according to officials.

Pictures and video footage showed people wading through water reaching up to their knees, as streets and subways were hit by heavy rain. Several videos posted to social media appeared to show water pouring from the ceiling and walls of subway stations and onto inundated platforms. Much of the flooding has so far centred on the borough of Brooklyn.

More than 2.5 inches of rain was reported in one hour in Brooklyn Navy Yard. In a virtual briefing, New York’s chief climate officer Rohit Aggarwala said that the city’s sewage system was only designed to handle 1.75 inches an hour. “It’s no surprise that parts of Brooklyn have borne the brunt of this,” he said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) advised people to stay home if they did not need to travel.

Terminal A at La Guardia Airport is currently closed because of flooding, authorities said. Passengers were advised to check with their airline before travelling.

The New York Police Department also announced multiple road closures and said the National Guard had been deployed. Elsewhere, traffic hit a standstill as water rose above cars’ tires along a stretch of the FDR Drive – a major road along the east side of Manhattan.

And in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, workers waded through knee-high water as they tried to unclog a drain as cardboard and other debris floated by.

There had been no storm-related deaths or critical injuries as of midday (1600 GMT), city officials said.

Flood warnings and advisories from the weather service are currently in place for some 18 million people in the New York metropolitan area and in other major cities along the East Coast.

New York City has had nearly 14 inches of rain so far this month, making it the wettest September since 1882, according to National Weather Service data.


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