’Youngest and brightest’ lost in Pacific ferry disaster

This undated handout photo released by Maritime New Zealand and received on January 31, 2018 shows boys jumping off the deck of the ferry MV Butiraoi, a 17.5-metre (57.4-foot) wooden catamaran, at an unknown location. (AFP)
Updated 01 February 2018
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’Youngest and brightest’ lost in Pacific ferry disaster

WELLINGTON: Many children and teenagers are among those missing after a ferry sank in the remote Pacific, official figures have revealed, with victims described as their region’s “youngest and brightest.”
Radio Kiribati reported late Wednesday that a council survey of Nonouti island, where the ferry departed on January 18, showed there were 88 people aboard.
It said they included 10 children of primary age and 13 high school students.
The youngsters are believed to have been traveling to the Kiribati capital South Tarawa for the start of a new school term.
Only seven people, including a 14-year-old girl, have been found alive so far and hopes are fading of locating any more.
Four aircraft, from the United States, Australia and New Zealand, are combing vast swathes of ocean looking for survivors, along with six boats.
Kiribati President Taneti Maamau told public radio Wednesday that the sinking was a “tragic moment” for the tiny island nation but the search for survivors would continue.
“There are objects that have been spotted like wooden pieces and a gas cylinder and a few other things, but sadly there are still no signs of people spotted yet,” he said.
Former president Anote Tong said Nonouti had lost its “youngest and brightest” and the whole of Kiribati was in shock.
“This is by far the biggest disaster in terms of numbers and also in terms of the people involved,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Tong said there were questions about why it took authorities more than a week to raise the alarm after the ferry, MV Butiraoi, set off on a passage that was only supposed to last two days.
The seven survivors were found drifting in a dinghy on Sunday and the search is now concentrating on finding a life raft that was launched from the sinking ferry.


Swine flu kills 40 in western India

Updated 18 January 2019
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Swine flu kills 40 in western India

  • Last year around 1,100 people died and 15,000 were infected across India by the highly contagious A H1N1 virus that spreads from human-to-human
  • Cases spike in the winter months of December and January in the west and north of the country including in Rajasthan and in New Delhi

JAIPUR, India: At least 40 people have died and more than 1,000 have tested positive for swine flu since the beginning of this year in a western Indian state popular with foreigners, authorities said Friday.
Last year around 1,100 people died and 15,000 were infected across India by the highly contagious A H1N1 virus that spreads from human-to-human.
Cases spike in the winter months of December and January in the west and north of the country including in Rajasthan and in New Delhi.
Authorities in Rajasthan, famous for its deserts and palaces, have told doctors they must seek permission before going on leave and plan a door-to-door campaign to detect infected patients.
Health officials have also launched an awareness campaign to sensitise people about symptoms, precautions and treatment, and have screened more than 5,100 people.
“Total deaths are 40 and positive cases are 1,036 as from January 1 to 17 in Rajasthan. One of the deaths occurred on Thursday,” according to a statement by the Rajasthan health department.
One high-profile victim in Delhi this week was Amit Shah, a top aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was admitted to hospital with the virus.
Rajasthan’s Jodhpur district recorded the highest death toll with 16 fatalities and 225 people testing positive.
No travel advisory has been issued however.