Indian caste protests hit Mumbai

Police stand guard at during a protest in Mumbai. Members of the Dalit community obstructed roads, damaged buses and marched down railway tracks, delaying train services, which are the lifeline of India’s bustling financial capital. (AFP)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Indian caste protests hit Mumbai

MUMBAI: Demonstrators from India’s lowest caste blocked roads and railways across Mumbai on Wednesday in protest against violence involving Hindu nationalist groups at an event commemorating a 200-year-old battle.
Members of the Dalit community obstructed roads, damaged buses and marched down railway tracks, delaying train services, which are the lifeline of India’s bustling financial capital.
Some schools and business opted to close as a precaution while the city’s famous lunchbox delivery men, called “Dabbawalas,” also canceled their services.
The protests came in response to violence, which broke out at a ceremony in a village near Pune in Maharashtra state on Monday, leaving one man dead.
Dalits had gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in 1818, in which they helped British colonial forces defeat the high-caste Peshwas.
Dalit leaders accused right-wing Hindus of inciting Monday’s clashes, which spread to other areas of Maharashtra of which Mumbai is the capital.
The state government has ordered a judicial inquiry into the clashes.
Mumbai police said more than 100 demonstrators had been arrested and nine cases of unlawful activity had been registered.
On Wednesday politicians called for a peaceful end to the violence.
“There is an attempt to create a social divide which we have to foil unitedly,” said Neelam Gorhe, a leader of the right-wing Hindu party Shiv Sena.


’Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Willa aims for Mexico’s west

Updated 24 min 4 sec ago
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’Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Willa aims for Mexico’s west

  • The US National Hurricane Center said that Willa could “produce life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall over portions of Mexico"
  • A hurricane warning was posted for Mexico’s western coast between San Blas and Mazatlan, including the Islas Marias

MEXICO CITY: Hurricane Willa has grown rapidly into an “extremely dangerous” near-Category 5 storm in the eastern Pacific, on a path to smash into Mexico’s western coast between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta by Wednesday.
The governments of Sinaloa and Nayarit states ordered coastal region schools to close on Monday and began preparing emergency shelters ahead of the onslaught.
The US National Hurricane Center said that Willa could “produce life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall over portions of southwestern and west-central Mexico beginning on Tuesday.” It predicted that Willa could become a Category 5 hurricane later Monday, generating life-threatening surf and rip tide conditions.
A hurricane warning was posted for Mexico’s western coast between San Blas and Mazatlan, including the Islas Marias, a nature reserve and federal prison directly in the forecast track of the storm.
Tropical storm warnings ranged from Playa Perula north to San Blas and from Mazatlan north to Bahia Tempehuaya. The center said Willa is expected make landfall late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
By early Monday, Willa had maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (255 kph) — the same windspeed Hurricane Michael had at landfall in Florida — and was centered about 200 miles (325 kilometers) south-southwest of the Islas Marias and 155 miles (250 kilometers) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes. It was moving north at 7 mph (11 kph).
Hurricane force winds extended 30 miles (45 kilometers) from the storm’s core and tropical storm force winds were up to 90 miles (150 kilometers) out.
The hurricane center said 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain should fall — and some places could see up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) — on parts of western Jalisco, western Nayarit and southern Sinaloa states. It warned of the danger of flash flooding and landslides in mountainous areas.
Farther to the south, Tropical Storm Vicente weakened but was still expected to produce heavy rainfall and flooding over parts of southern and southwestern Mexico.
By early Monday, its core was about 195 miles (310 kilometers) southeast of Acapulco with top sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph). The hurricane center said it could produce 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) of rain in parts of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco states.