UN buys huge ship to avert catastrophic oil spill off Yemen
BBC reported that the UN has purchased a huge ship that it hopes will prevent an environmental catastrophe off the coast of Yemen.
For years, more than a million barrels of crude oil have been sitting on a decaying supertanker in the Red Sea. There are fears the vessel could soon break apart or explode, risking one of the worst oil spills in recent memory.
But on Thursday, the UN said it had purchased a crude carrier that would head to Yemen and remove the oil from the stricken ship. “The purchase of this suitable vessel marks the beginning of the operational phase of the plan to safely remove the oil and avoid the risk of an environmental and humanitarian disaster,” Achim Steiner from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said, adding that it was a “major breakthrough”.
A UNDP statement said the ship – which it purchased from major tanker company Euronav – was undergoing routine maintenance in China and would arrive for the operation in early May. “A major spill would devastate fishing communities on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, likely wiping out 200,000 livelihoods instantly. Whole communities would be exposed to life-threatening toxins. Highly polluted air would affect millions,” it said.
The organisation added that a potential oil spill could cost up to $20bn (£16.7bn) to clean up.
The UN had been searching for years for a solution and appealed for donations. The planned operation is estimated to cost $129m of which $75m has been received and another $20m has been pledged, it said.
The stranded ship – the FSO Safer – was left abandoned off the port of Hodeida after Yemen’s civil war broke out in 2015. It has not been serviced since. It was constructed as a supertanker in 1976 and converted later into a floating storage for oil. It is anchored near the Ras Isa oil terminal, which is controlled by Yemen’s rebel Houthi movement.
The 376m (1,233ft) vessel holds an estimated 1.14m barrels of crude oil.
More than 260 dead after Odisha accident
At least 261 people have been killed and 650 injured in a crash involving three trains in India’s eastern Odisha state, officials say.
One passenger train derailed and its coaches fell on to the adjacent track where they were struck by an incoming train on Friday evening. A freight train was stationary.
The rescue operation at the crash site has ended, officials said.
The cause of India’s worst train crash this century is not yet clear. Officials said several carriages from the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express derailed at about 19:00 (13:30 GMT) in Balasore district, hit a stationary goods train and several of its coaches ended up on the opposite track. Another train – the Howrah Superfast Express travelling from Yesvantpur to Howrah – then hit the overturned carriages.
“The force with which the trains collided has resulted in several coaches being crushed and mangled,” Atul Karwal, chief of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) told news agency ANI.
It was the third deadliest crash in the history of Indian railways, he said.
More than 200 ambulances and hundreds of doctors, nurses and rescue personnel were sent to the scene, the state’s chief secretary Pradeep Jena said.
Sudhanshu Sarangi, Director General of Odisha Fire Services, had earlier said` 288 had died. The rescue operation recovering people from the wreckage has finished and work to restore the site of the crash begun, India’s South Eastern Railway company said on Saturday.
Residents of the neighbouring villages were among the first to reach the site of the accident and start the rescue operation. Some surviving passengers were seen rushing in to help rescue those trapped in the wreckage.Local bus companies were also helping to transport wounded passengers.
India has one of the largest train networks in the world with millions of passengers using it daily, but a lot of the railway infrastructure needs improving.
India’s worst train disaster was in 1981, when an overcrowded passenger train was blown off the tracks and into a river during a cyclone in Bihar state, killing at least 800 people.
233 killed, around 900 injured in Odisha triple train crash
At least 233 people have been killed and about 900 injured after two passenger trains collided in the eastern Indian state of Odisha – the country’s deadliest rail accident in more than a decade.
The Coromandel Express, which runs from Kolkata to Chennai, collided with another passenger train, the Howrah Superfast Express, about 7pm local time, railway officials said on Friday.
The Howrah Superfast Express derailed and crashed into the Coromandel Express, South Eastern Railway authorities said. Media reports had earlier said the crash was between the Coromandel Express and a goods train.
Mexican police find 45 bags containing human remains
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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