19 killed as boat capsizes on the Yamuna

19 people are estimated to have died when an overladen boat capsized on the waters of the Yamuna on Thursday. The incident occurred in Baghpat, a western district of the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The District Magistrate Bhawani Singh estimated that the boat was carrying around 60 people when it capsized. Initial counts placed the death toll at 22, but authorities revised the figure and placed it at 19 after further investigation.

“The boat was ferrying passengers more than its capacity. Most of the passengers of the were women. As soon as the boat reached mid-stream, it capsized,” said Singh

The incident incited protests from the villagers, who accused authorities of mishandling rescue operations. The Delhi-Saranpur highway was briefly blocked by a mob of protesters, and reports of vehicles being torched in the area near the highway emerged. Union Minister and Baghpat MP Satyapal Singh travelled to the area and met with family members of the victims. In due course of time, he was able to convince the villagers to unblock the highway.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath promised remunerations of Rs. 2 lakhs to the families of victims, which will be taken from the CM’s relief fund.

Sources: Economic Times, Outlook India

Malaria kills girl in Italy 40 years after Italy was declared malaria free

A 4-year-old girl in northern region of Italy succumbed to cerebral malaria on Sunday, raising fears that the deadly disease has returned to an area that has been free of it for decades. Sofia Zago, of Brescia, was admitted to the hospital on Saturday with a high fever, and her case has puzzled doctors owing to its bizarre nature.

Zago had never left Italy, a country which was declared malaria-free in the 1970s after marshes that served as homes for disease-carrying mosquitoes were drained. Health officials are currently investigating several different theories to understand how she was infected.

While the girl had never left the country, she had recently visited Bibione, an Adriatic resort near Venice. The Anopheles mosquito, whose female carries the disease, are capable of surviving short trips on planes. The girl was also recently hospitalised, because of diabetes. There is a possibility that she could have been exposed to a pair of girls who had contracted malaria in Africa and were recuperating in a separate room.

While it is unclear how the girl contracted the disease, Luigi Gradoni, an infectious disease researcher at the state health institute, said residents shouldn’t worry because malaria isn’t contagious and can’t be transmitted from person to person.

Sources: NPR, Metro

UP suffers tragedy yet again as 49 infants die in Farrukhabad hospital

Less than a month after the death of 60 children in five days at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College and Hospital, news has emerged of a similar occurrence in Farrukhabad. In the last month, 49 newborn children reportedly lost their lives in the Special Newborn Care Unit ward of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital.

While 30 children died while receiving treatment at the Newborn Care Unit, the other 19 died shortly after being delivered. Several of the victims lost their lives due to a condition called perinatal asphyxia, which occurs when a child does not receive an adequate supply of oxygen.

The startling number of deaths were uncovered after a probe into the situation was ordered by Ravindra Kumar, the district magistrate of Farrukhabad. Kumar promptly fired the Chief Medical Officer(CMO) and the Chief Medical Superintendent(CMS) after an FIR was lodged against them and other doctors at the hospital, before being removed from his position as DM

Daya Nand Mishra, the Superintendent of Police, Farrukhabad, issued a statement saying, “we have lodged an FIR against chief medical officer Uma Kant Pandey, chief medical superintendent B P Pushkar and a few doctors of RML Hospital. The accused officers have been booked under IPC sections 176 (Omission to give notice or information to public servant by person legally bound to give it), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), and 304 (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder).”

The FIR and allegations of malpractice were met with hostility by the doctors of Uttar Pradesh’s Provincial Medical Services, who chose to go on strike to protest the termination of RML’s staff members.

Sources: Economic times, Hindustan Times

Image Source: PTI

Image Caption: Yogi Adityanath government faces added pressure after Gorakhpur tragedy

Barcelona loosen purse-strings for Dembele

When this transfer window began, purists from all around the globe declared that the end of football as we know it was swiftly approaching. The beautiful game was finally dead, and football had lost all pretence of being anything other than a business. The last nail in the coffin was to be hammered in by Monaco’s Kylian Mbappé, who was being courted by the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City in early June for a sum of £125 million, an amount that was deemed extravagant for an unproven 18-year-old.

Since then, the record transfer fee has been shattered by Neymar’s £222m move to Paris Saint-Germain, which in turn allowed Barcelona to snap up Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembélé for £138 million. The French forward had an exceptional year with Dortmund in 2016-2017, racking up 10 goals and 20 assists prior to his move to Spain.

In the two-month period between the opening of the transfer window and the announcement of Neymar’s move, a transfer fee of £150m seemingly went from being ludicrous to entirely reasonable. Considering the fact that Dortmund bought Dembélé from Rennes for just £12m in 2016, it seems unlikely that Dembélé is currently ten times better than he was a year ago. However, Barcelona’s signing of Dembélé was still hailed by many as a statement of intent, highlighting their determination to invest in youth and potential.

The ‘true value’ of a footballer has always been subject to swift and significant change, and transfer records have been broken time and again. It defies belief that just 21 years ago, Alan Shearer became the most expensive player in the world after his £15m move from Blackburn to Newcastle, a measly one-tenth of the amount splurged by Barcelona on Dembélé. If you were to factor in the inflation rate in England from 1996 to 2017, Shearer should be worth around £26m today, a full £9m less than what Liverpool paid for the famously inept Andy Carroll in 2011.

With the steadily increasing influx of money from record breaking television deals, sponsorship payments and the sales of merchandise and tickets, transfer prices are bound to increase over time. The implementation of Financial Fair Play by UEFA may curb some of the excessive spending that exemplified football in the 2000s, but we are now at a point where a club can pay £150m for a 20-year-old and still be praised for doing good business.

Charlottesville sees violent clashes over Confederate memorial

The city of Charlottesville, Virginia, saw violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protestors on Saturday in the aftermath of the city’s decision to take down a statue of confederate soldier Robert Edward Lee. The violence occurred during a ‘Unite The Right’ rally organised by white nationalists, which was characterised by brazen displays of racism, including the shouting of neo-Nazi slogans and racial slurs.

The violence resulted in the death of a 32-year-old woman named Heather Heyer after a car rammed into a group of protestors. 19 other people were injured in the attack. The car, a gray Dodge Challenger, was being driven by 20-year-old James Alex Fields, who was subsequently apprehended and charged with one count of second-degree murder, one count of hit-and-run, and three counts of malicious wounding. The suspect had been participating in the alt-right rally prior to the incident.

The rally and violence was condemned by Terry McAuliffe, the Governor of Virginia. In a message that was aired on television, McAuliffe addressed the alt-right groups that congregated in Charlottesville, saying, “I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today. Our message is plain and simple: Go home.. There is no place for you here, there is no place for you in America.”

American President Donald Trump’s reply to the violence was significantly more ambiguous, as he condemned an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” Trump was criticized for his hesitation in mentioning the alt-right movement by name.

Sources: New York Times, CNN

Central Govt. Withdraws support for Jamia’s minority status

The central government has decided to alter its stand on Jamia Millia Islamia’s (JMI) minority status. The Centre will inform the court in an affidavit that the college was never intended to be a minority institution and that the HRD ministry’s support for the order of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) which granted minority status to JMI came about due to an error in its understanding of the legal position.

In 2011, the UPA-II government, then in power, had supported the order of the NCMEI to declare JMI a religious minority institution. After the order was issued, JMI discontinued reservations for SC/ST and OBC students. It also set aside half of the total available seats for each course for Muslim candidates. Out of this 50%, 30% of the seats were reserved for Muslim applicants, 10% for Muslim women and a further 10% for Muslim OBC and ST individuals.

The initial order from 2011 has faced opposition from the NDA government which came to power in 2014. In January of 2016, the Human Resource Development ministry, then headed by Smriti Irani, was advised by Mukul Rohtagi, the Attorney General of India, that it was legally entitled to oppose the NCMEI’s order.

Sources: Indian Express, The Wire

Australian police find plans for elaborate IED in Sydney

Australian officials have arrested four men who were allegedly conspiring to bomb an airplane. The arrests took place in Sydney after raids were conducted on Saturday. Australian police forces raided five properties across Sydney after a home-made bomb was found on a terrace in the eastern suburb of Surry Hills. The police issued a statement regarding the intentions of the attackers, saying that the plot was inspired by Islamic radicalism.

While Australia has seen several attacks and foiled plots that were inspired by the Islamic State, this attempt deviated from the usual lone-wolf tactics that have characterised previous attacks. The group arrested on Saturday comprised of two middle-aged men and their adult sons, who were working on devising an elaborate Improvised Explosive Device(IED) with the aim of taking down a plane.

“The primary threat to Australia still remains lone actors, but the events overnight remind us that there is still the ability for people to have sophisticated plots and sophisticated attacks still remain a real threat,” said Justice Minister Michael Keenan. The operations have caused the implementation of revised boarding procedures at Australian airports. The measures include extra screening time and additional checks of both hand and checked baggage.

Sources: Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Federal Police