Avalanche kills Swedish skier in Indian Kashmir: Police

Kashmiri villagers and policemen carry the body of a Swedish skier who has been identified as 25-year-old Daniel Akesson inside a hospital in Tangmarg, near the tourist town of Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir. (AP)
Updated 18 January 2018
0

Avalanche kills Swedish skier in Indian Kashmir: Police

KASHMIR REGION: A Swedish tourist was killed Thursday when an avalanche tore through a Himalayan resort in Indian Kashmir popular with skiers, police said.
The 25-year-old victim was skiing with a fellow Swede in Gulmarg, a hill resort in Indian-administered Kashmir frequented by families and winter adventurers alike, when the avalanche barrelled down the slopes.
Rescuers found one of them alive and “safe” in the snow but his fellow skier was killed in the deluge, said local police superintendent Imtiyaz Hussain.
Hussain said an avalanche warning had been sounded the day before by local authorities after heavy snowfall had blanketed the mountains in the western Himalayas.
The pair were believed to be experienced skiers exploring the uppermost reaches of Gulmarg reached by a high-altitude gondola, he said.
Nestled in the mountain range that encircles the Indian-controlled Kashmir Valley, Gulmarg is a stone’s throw from the highly-militarised disputed border with Pakistan.
The “Gulmarg Gondola” is one of the world’s highest cable cars, ferrying passengers to an altitude of 4,100 meters (13,500 feet) and depositing them at the top of a dizzying run that challenges even the most experienced skiers.
For the more adventurous, there are plenty of opportunities to veer off-piste and slice through pristine snows.
But it is not without risks. Last June, seven people including two children were killed when the cable car crashed to the ground.
Avalanches are also common, killing tourists and soldiers alike in the steep, remote mountains.
Last year, 20 people died in a series of avalanches across the northern reaches of the Himalayan territory. In 2010, a snowslide killed 17 Indian soldiers during a training exercise at a high-altitude military school.
At least 140 people, mostly soldiers, were killed when a single massive avalanche hit a Pakistani military camp in 2012 on the other side of the border.


What’s next for Italy as populists take charge?

Updated 21 May 2018
0

What’s next for Italy as populists take charge?

  • Italy's proposed coalition mix of far-right, anti-establishment and euro-skeptic policies.
  • Both Di Maio and Salvini insist that they want to create a coalition that can last the full five-year mandate and implement their program.

ROME: A mix of far-right, anti-establishment and euro-skeptic policies, was promised by Italy’s proposed coalition government, leading the international community to wonder what the future holds for the eurozone’s third largest economy.
Here are answers to five pressing questions as the League and Five Star Movement (M5S) prepare to take charge.
Despite outspoken criticism of the European Union from both parties, the final version of the M5S-League government program does not mention a unilateral exit from the eurozone.
M5S abandoned their idea of a referendum on the euro and while the League has called the currency “a failed economic and social experiment,” the party has proposed a series of reforms and an eventual coordinated group exit along with a number of other countries in the long term.
M5S hold more clout in the new coalition having won almost 33 percent in March’s election, compared to the League’s 17 percent, even if League leader Matteo Salvini claims to represent the 37 percent who voted for his rightwing coalition.
While Salvini is the undisputed top dog of the League, the shadow of M5S founder Beppe Grillo, an outspoken former comedian, still looms large over the party led by Luigi Di Maio.
A question mark also hangs over the fate of flamboyant former premier Silvio Berlusconi. Part of the rightwing alliance with Salvini, Berlusconi begrudgingly gave the green light for the League and M5s to make a deal without his Forza Italia party.
The aging media tycoon, however, disapproves of the new government program and, after a recent court ruling overturned a ban on him holding public office, could once again be able to exert influence from inside parliament — if a member of his party offers up their seat.
Never afraid of a long shot, Berlusconi has also offered himself up as a potential future premier.
Both Di Maio and Salvini insist that they want to create a coalition that can last the full five-year mandate and implement their program.
Their parties, however, only have a wafer-thin six vote majority in the Senate, which holds the same power as that of the Chamber of Deputies, where they have a 32-vote majority.
The two parties will have to hold onto their MPs, particularly those who view the new alliance with skepticism, in order to go the distance.
A tumultuous campaign, inconclusive elections and a prolonged period of political deadlock meant that financial markets were already nervous, especially faced with the possibility of a return to the polls.
So the prospect of a M5S-League accord was initially met with some relief — until the coalition revealed their government program.
In response to the document’s costly financial measures and euroskeptic tone, key financial indicators pointed to decreasing investor confidence in Italy.
The difference in yield between Italian and German 10-year government bonds has gained 40 points in less than a week, increasing to 170 points.
Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella has the power to veto ministers and reject any law deemed financially non-viable for the country.
He is also the guarantor of Italy’s international commitments and will keep a close eye on any move to modify the country’s role on the world stage, especially given Salvini’s scathing comments about the EU and praise for Russian leader Vladimir Putin.