2 packed buses swept away in India landslide; at least 45 bodies recovered

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Heavy machinery removes debris as rescue personnel search for survivors and bodies of victims after a landslide along a highway at Kotrupi, some 200 kilometers from Himachal Pradesh state capital Shimla on Sunday. (AFP)
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Army soldiers and rescue workers search for bodies of landslide victims even as they try to pull out two buses that were covered in mud after a landslide triggered by heavy monsoon rain in Urla village, Himachal Pradesh state, India, on Sunday. (AP Photo/Shailesh Bhatnagar)
Updated 13 August 2017
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2 packed buses swept away in India landslide; at least 45 bodies recovered

SHIMLA, INDIA: A massive landslide in mountainous northern India swept two packed passenger buses off a hillside Sunday into a deep gorge, killing 45 people, an official said.
“Forty-five bodies have been found,” said Sandeep Kadam, a senior official of Himachal Pradesh state where the accident occurred.
The coaches had stopped for a tea break around midnight Saturday in Himachal Pradesh when tons of rock and mud swept away an entire stretch of highway roughly 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the state capital Shimla.
Rescue teams reached the scene but struggled in the dark and steep terrain, with the army later joining the search.
“The other bus has been swept away, 800 meters down the steep hillside. We are not sure how many people were in this bus,” Kadam told AFP.
Some houses and slum dwellings were also destroyed in the landslide, which followed days of heavy rain in the Himalayan region.
Landslides are common in India, especially during monsoon months when heavy rain loosens steep hillsides.
At least five people were killed last month in a mudslide in remote Arunachal Pradesh state along the border with China.
Hundreds have died across India in torrential rain, floods and landslides since the onset of the wet season in April.


US to withdraw from UN rights council: UN officials

Updated 10 min 26 sec ago
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US to withdraw from UN rights council: UN officials

  • Washington accuses UN Human Rights Council of bias against Israel.
  • UN rights chief: "The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable".

UNITED NATIONS: The United States will announce on Tuesday that it is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, which it accuses of bias against Israel, UN officials said.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley will make the announcement at a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington at 5:00 p.m. (2100 GMT).
Haley has repeatedly threatened to quit the Geneva-based body, established in 2006 to promote and protect human rights worldwide.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to comment ahead of the announcement, saying: “We will wait to hear the details of that decision before commenting fully.”
“What is clear, is that the secretary-general is a strong believer in the human rights architecture of the UN and the active participation of all member states in that architecture.”
UN officials privately confirmed they were expecting the US decision to quit the rights body.
The withdrawal followed strong UN criticism of Trump’s policy to separate migrant children from their families at the US-Mexico border.
UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said Monday “the thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable.”
Human Rights Watch criticized the move, warning that Washington’s absence at the top UN body would put the onus on other governments to address the world’s most serious rights problems.
“The Trump administration’s withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else,” said HRW’s executive director Kenneth Roth.
“The UN Human Rights Council has played an important role in such countries as North Korea, Syria, Myanmar and South Sudan, but all Trump seems to care about is defending Israel.”
US criticism stems from the fact that Israel is the only country that has a dedicated agenda item, known as Item 7, at the rights council, meaning its treatment of the Palestinians comes under scrutiny at each of the body’s three annual sessions.
The United Stated refused to join the body when it was created in 2006, when George W. Bush was in the White House and his ambassador to the UN was John Bolton, Trump’s current hawkish and UN-skeptic national security adviser.
It was only after Barack Obama came to power that Washington joined the council in 2009.
Since Trump took office, the United States has quit the UN cultural agency UNESCO, cut UN funding and announced plans to quit the UN-backed Paris climate agreement.