Nepal mourns victims of deadliest plane crash in decades as operation continues in 1,000-foot deep ravine

News Network
January 16, 2023

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Kathmandu, Jan 16: Nepal observed a day of mourning on Monday for the victims of the nation's deadliest aviation disaster in three decades, with 68 people confirmed killed in the plane crash.

The Yeti Airlines ATR 72 plummeted into a steep gorge, smashed into pieces and burst into flames with 72 people on board as it approached the central city of Pokhara on Sunday, police said.

Soldiers used ropes and stretchers to retrieve bodies from the 300-metre (1,000-foot) deep ravine late into the night, with recovery efforts set to resume on Monday.

"We have so far sent 63 bodies to the hospital," said police officer AK Chhetri on Monday.

"Due to fog, the search has been paused. We will continue the search after one or two hours when the weather clears."

There was no word on the fate of the five people still unaccounted for.

Debris from the twin-engine turboprop airliner was strewn across the crash site, including the mangled remains of its wings and passenger seats.

Rescue workers were rushed there after the crash, and tried to put out the raging fires that were sending thick black smoke into the sky.

There were 15 foreigners on board, including five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one passenger each from Argentina, Australia, France and Ireland, Yeti spokesman Sudarshan Bartaula told AFP.

The rest were Nepalis.

"Incredibly sad news out of Nepal of a plane crashing with many passengers on board," Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Monday, adding that his government was seeking information about the Australian national on board.

The ATR 72 was on a flight from the capital Kathmandu and plunged into the gorge between Pokhara's brand-new international airport and the old domestic one shortly before 11 am (0515 GMT) on Sunday.

"I was walking when I heard a loud blast, like a bomb went off," said witness Arun Tamu, 44, who was around 500 metres away and who livestreamed video of the blazing wreckage on social media.

"A few of us rushed to see if we can rescue anybody. I saw at least two women were breathing. The fire was getting very intense and it made it difficult for us to approach closer," the former soldier told AFP.

It was unclear if anyone on the ground was injured.

"Our first thoughts are with all the individuals affected by this," the plane's France-based manufacturer ATR said in a statement on Sunday.

"ATR specialists are fully engaged to support both the investigation and the customer."

Nepal's air industry has boomed in recent years, carrying goods and people between hard-to-reach areas, as well as ferrying foreign mountain climbers.

But it has been plagued by poor safety due to insufficient training and maintenance. The European Union has banned all Nepali carriers from its airspace over safety concerns.

Nepal also has some of the world's most remote and trickiest runways, flanked by snow-capped peaks with approaches that pose a challenge for even accomplished pilots.

The weather is also notoriously capricious and hard to forecast, particularly in the mountains, where thick fog can suddenly obscure whole mountains from view.

Nepal's deadliest aviation accident was in 1992, when all 167 people on a Pakistan International Airlines jet died when it crashed on approach to Kathmandu.

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News Network
April 9,2024

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The Delhi High Court rejected Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's plea challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and remand order passed by the trial court in connection with the excise policy case. The court delivered the verdict in the excise policy case on Tuesday.

In its order, the high court said the petition challenged the arrest and said it was in violation of Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). "The court clarifies that the plea is not for bail but for declaring the arrest illegal," Bar and Bench reported while citing the court order.

The high court said the material collected by the ED “reveals Arvind Kejriwal conspired and was actively involved in use and concealment of proceeds of crime." 

“The ED case also reveals that he was involved in his personal capacity as well as convenor of AAP," the order said.

Kejriwal had earlier questioned the timing of the arrest that came just ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2024.  Reacting to this, the court said, “Petitioner has been arrested in money laundering case and court has to examine his arrest and remand as per law irrespective of timing of elections."

Reacting to Kejriwal's argument casting doubt on the statements of “approvers" in the excise policy case, the court said the statements of “Raghav Magunta and Sarath Reddy are approver statements which were recorded under the PMLA as well as Section 164 CrPC".

“To cast doubt on the manner of recording statement of approver would amount to casting aspersions on the court and judge," the order added. “The law of approver is over 100 years old and not one year old. It cannot be suggested that it was enacted to implicate the present petitioner (Kejriwal)," it added.

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April 15,2024

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The Iranian Army Chief Commander Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi says the country will not hesitate to give a “stormy and unified” response to any act of aggression against it.

In a Monday message marking the National Army Day, Mousavi said great defensive measures of the country’s Army and Armed Forces have resulted in strong deterrent power.

Iran has conveyed its message of power to the world in a way that the world has realized that the Iranian Armed Forces will give a “stormy and unified” response to any aggression against the country’s national interests, borders and security, he added.

The top commander noted that Iran’s firm response to an act of aggression by the usurping Israeli enemy against its diplomatic premises in the Syrian capital of Damascus brought joy to oppressed nations, especially the resilient people of Palestine and Gaza.

Mousavi emphasized that the retaliatory strikes, dubbed Operation True Promise, revealed only a part of the capacity and strong will of the Iranian Armed Forces and were carried out in cooperation among the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Division, the Army, and the Defense Ministry.

He said the Army has played a key role in strengthening the country’s defense power, independence and lasting security by implementing various measures.

It has constructed strategic drone and underground tactical bases and made hundreds of modern defense achievements in the land, air, sea and space sectors in addition to advancing in the fields of science and technology, he explained.

Now the enemies lack the courage to carry out any act of aggression against the Islamic establishment and the noble Iranian nation, the top commander said.

He added that Iran has staged several joint military drills to enhance national security and dignity.

The Israeli airstrikes on Iran’s embassy compound in Damascus killed two generals of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi and General Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, as well as five of their accompanying officers.

In response, on Saturday night, the IRGC targeted the Israeli-occupied territories with a barrage of drones and missiles. The extent of the damage on Israeli military bases across the occupied territories is yet to be specified.

Following the reprisal, Iran warned Israel against taking any retaliatory actions and also urged the US to try not to involve itself in the conflict and signaled that it viewed the matter as “concluded.”

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News Network
April 3,2024

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Mangaluru, Apr 3: Padmaraj R, the Congress candidate for Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency, today filed his nomination papers for the upcoming polls with the returning officer and deputy commissioner Mullai Muhilan at latter’s office in Mangaluru. 

He was flanked by DK district in-charge minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, MLC B K Hariprasad, district Congress president and MLC Harish Kumar and Puttur MLA Ashok Kumar Rai among others.

Prior to this, the young Billava leader led a procession from Kudroli Gokarnatheshwara temple to the DC office. The procession, which was flagged off by veteran Congress leader B Janardhana Poojary, passed through Car street, GHS road, Clock tower, and concluded at the A B Setty Circle.

Padmaraj is contesting against BJP’s Capt Brijesh Chowta in the Lok Sabha election scheduled for April 26 in Dakshina Kannada.

Addressing the people, Padmaraj vowed to end BJP’s communal and divisive politics in Dakshina Kannada. “I am committed to eradicate divisive politics from the district and fostering unity among people of all religious backgrounds,” he said. 

"Today I witness hope and expectations in the eyes of people gathered here. This proves that the message of the Congress party has reached the people,” he said adding that the advantages of having the Congress party in power are evident. 

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