Congo landslide death toll likely to rise over 200 — Ituri vice governor

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Updated 19 August 2017
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Congo landslide death toll likely to rise over 200 — Ituri vice governor

CONGO: A landslide in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo likely killed more than 200 people, based on estimates from the number of households submerged, the vice governor of affected Ituri province said on Friday.
The landslide struck the village of Tora, on the shores of Lake Albert, a seismically active zone in the western Rift Valley, on Thursday.
“There are many people submerged whom we were unable to save,” Pacifique Keta, the vice governor of Ituri province, where Tora lies, told Reuters by telephone. “The rescue is very complicated because there are mountains everywhere, which makes it very difficult to have access.”
Many parts of west and central Africa are vulnerable to landslides, because land is heavily deforested and communities crowd into steep hillsides.
On Friday, Sierra Leone buried 461 victims of a mudslide that swept away homes on the edge of Freetown, the capital, and 600 more people are missing.
Eastern Congo has the added risk of being on a seismic fault line, which means it frequently suffers earthquakes and sometimes volcano eruptions.
Keta said the toll was an estimate based on the number of households submerged and the population of the households. He said that so far about 40 people had been buried.
“We are trying to enhance the emergency response. The aid agencies and MINUSCO (the UN peacekeeping force) are there to evacuate bodies and any survivors as quickly as possible,” Keta said.


Pakistan announces religious school reform ahead of PM’s US visit

Updated 43 sec ago
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Pakistan announces religious school reform ahead of PM’s US visit

  • In another move ahead of Khan’s US trip, Pakistan on Wednesday detained Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of an attack on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 that killed more than 160 people
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday said it has agreed with the country’s clergy to introduce reforms in madrassa religious schools to bring them in line with conventional schools, curbing hate speech and extremist narratives.
The announcement came just before Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington for a Monday meeting with President Donald Trump, whose administration continues to press Pakistan over terrorist financing and curbing militancy.
The government will register more than 30,000 madrassas, which will teach subjects like English, mathematics and science, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood said.
He said the government will conduct their exams and is aiming for a first batch next June, although that is not a firm goal.
Pakistan’s madrassas have long been accused of promoting extremist narratives and have been dubbed “nurseries of extremism.”
“There will be no preaching of hate speech against any religion or sect,” the minister said.
“We will look at their curriculum to see there is no hatred against any sect or faith,” he added.
Pakistan pledged to crack down on religious seminaries suspected of fostering extremism following a school massacre by the Taliban in December 2014 that left more than 130 children dead, but the move faces stiff resistance from conservatives.
Madrassa reforms attempted by the past governments have failed due to pressure from the clergy.
Pakistan is a deeply religious Muslim-majority society and, despite misgivings about madrassas, clergy are generally well respected.
In another move ahead of Khan’s US trip, Pakistan on Wednesday detained Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of an attack on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 that killed more than 160 people.