Dozens die in stampede during bonfire festival at sage's grave in Israel

News Network
April 30, 2021

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Jerusalem, Apr 30: Dozens of people were killed in a crush at a religious bonfire festival in Israel on Friday, medics said, in what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as a "heavy disaster".

Media reports initially said a section of stadium seating had collapsed at the Lag B'Omer event in Mount Meron in the Galilee. But officials later said it appeared that the casualties had been asphyxiated or trampled in a stampede.

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews had gathered at the tomb of the 2nd-century sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai for annual commemorations that include all-night prayer and dance.

It is thought to be one of the largest gatherings of people - certainly in Israel and perhaps farther afield - since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic more than a year ago.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said 103 people had been injured, including dozens fatally. Channel 12 TV put the number of dead at 38. Police shut down the site and ordered revellers to be evacuated by bus.

The tomb is considered to be one of the holiest sites in the Jewish world and it is an annual pilgrimage site.

Videos posted on social media showed chaotic scenes as Ultra-Orthodox men clambered through gaps in sheets of torn corrugated iron to escape the crush, as police and paramedics tried to reach the wounded.

Bodies lay on stretchers in a corridor, completely covered in foil blankets.

On Twitter, Netanyahu called it a "heavy disaster" and added: "We are all praying for the wellbeing of the casualties."

The gathering had been held in defiance of health officials who had worries that crowding could pose a COVID-19 risk.

Private bonfires at Mount Meron were banned last year due to coronavirus restrictions, but lockdown measures were eased this year amid Israel's rapid COVID-19 vaccination programme that has seen more than 50% of the population fully vaccinated.

Police said on Thursday that they had arrested two people for disrupting officers' efforts to keep order at the site. 

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Agencies
May 1,2021

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New Delhi, May 1: The unrelenting second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is becoming worse by the day with India reporting more and more deaths and cases.

As of Friday, India is reporting over two deaths and close to 270 fresh cases per minute on an average, data from the union ministry of health suggests. Further, over four cases are reported each second, the data says.

On Friday, India reported 3,86,452 new Covid-19 infections, the highest single-day rise so far. The fresh cases have pushed the country’s total tally of cases to 1.87 crore.

India also reported a record number of deaths in a day. With 3,498 new fatalities reported in 24 hours, the country’s death toll due to the pandemic increased to 2.08 lakh, the ministry says.

As of today, India’s active caseload stands at 31.70 lakh.

Since April 1, India has reported 45,403 deaths. Of these, 27,800 deaths – or more than half – have been reported since April 21, the government data says.

Since April 21, India has been reporting close to two deaths per minute on an average.

Of the 3,498 new fatalities reported on Friday, 77.44 per cent was from 10 states.

Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties, with 771. Delhi followed with 395 daily deaths.

Maharashtra, the worst-impacted state, is reporting 32 deaths per hour, while the national capital is reporting over 16 deaths per hour.

Further, since April 1, India has reported 65.41 lakh cases. Of these, 31.46 lakh cases have been reported in the last 10 days.

Of the cases reported on Friday, 10 states account for a 73.05 per cent load – Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 66,159. It is followed by Kerala with 38,607 while Uttar Pradesh reported 35,104 new cases.

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News Network
May 2,2021

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May 2: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) seems to be heading towards a thumping victory with over 200 seats in the West Bengal Assembly elections if the ongoing trends hold. BJP on the other hand is likely to face disappointment as till now the party is far behind its declared target of 200 seats.

The TMC is leading in 209 seats, the BJP in 80 seats, the alliance of the Left Front, Congress and the ISF is leading in only two seats after several rounds of counting. Others are leading in one seat. Out of the 294 seats in West Bengal, polls were held in 292 seats as two candidates in two seats died due to Covid-19 and polls there were postponed.

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has won a closely fought battle in Nandigram against her former protegee and BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari.

Her trusted lieutenant and Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim has also secured a comfortable lead from the Kolkata Port constituency.

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News Network
April 27,2021

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Hubballi, Apr 27: Kannada actress Shanaya Katwe has been arrested by Hubballi Rural police in her brother, 32-year-old Rakesh Katwe’s murder case. His decapitated head was found in Devaragudihal forest area and the remaining parts of his mutilated body were dumped across Gadag Road and other different parts of Hubballi, according to reports.

The Dharwad district police have nabbed 4 other suspects who have been identified as Niyazahemed Katigar (21), Tousif Channapur (21), Altaf Mulla (24), and Aman Giraniwale (19), living in the city, reported the New Indian Express.

During the investigation, it came to light that Rakesh’s murder had a connection with his own sister, Shanaya who was allegedly in love with the accused Niyazahemed Katigar. Rakesh had opposed their love affair which prompted Niyazahemed to plot his murder.

The reports also suggest that the gruesome incident took place at Shanaya and victim Rakesh’s house in Hubballi when the actress had visited the city to promote her film. Rakesh is said to have been strangled to death. Katigar and his friends reportedly chopped the body, and dumped the pieces across various places in and around the city.

Model-turned-actress Shanaya made her acting debut in 2018 with the Kannada film ‘Idam Premam Jeevanam’ and was seen in the recent adult comedy ‘Ondu Ghanteya Kathe’.

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