9 dead as small plane slams into house in Philippines

Rescuers and investigators stand at the site where a twin-engined plane crashed into a house just after taking off in Plaridel town, Bulacan province, north of Manila on March 17, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 17 March 2018
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9 dead as small plane slams into house in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines: A small passenger plane carrying five people crashed into a house shortly after takeoff north of Manila on Saturday and killed all those onboard and four people on the ground, officials said.
The Piper-23 Apache plane took off from the airport in Plaridel town in Bulacan province then crash-landed Saturday for a still-unknown reason and smashed into a house, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesman Eric Apolonio and police said.
All five Filipinos on board the six-seat plane were killed, and the crash killed four people on the ground, Plaridel police chief Supt. Julio Lizardo said by phone. The crash ignited a fire in a house that was hit by the aircraft, he said.
Two other people on the ground were injured by burning debris, Lizardo said.
TV footage showed parts of the plane wreckage and the shattered walls of the house at the still-smoldering crash site.
Rescuers were looking for at least 1 missing person in the rubble of the house.
Apolonio said the aircraft, which was operated by Lite Air Express, was bound for northern Laoag city. All the aircraft operated by the transport and courier company were grounded while investigators tried to determine the cause of the crash, he said.


India’s ruling party seeks to energise workers after state losses

“We realize that rural distress and employment generation are the key issues and we are working on them,” said BJP spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal. (AFP)
Updated 14 December 2018
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India’s ruling party seeks to energise workers after state losses

  • The government announces so-called minimum support prices for most crops to set a benchmark

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP will try to canvass and galvanize its activists across India before a general election due next May, after losing power in three heartland rural states, senior leaders said after a meeting on Thursday.
Disgruntled voters blamed the slow pace of job creation and weak farm prices for the Hindu nationalist party’s defeat in the states, two of which it had ruled for three straight terms.
“We realize that rural distress and employment generation are the key issues and we are working on them,” said BJP spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal, who attended the meeting. “They’ll have to be tackled, and we will take suggestions from wherever needed.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) various wings — representing women, farmers, lower castes, Muslims and young members — will all hold deliberations after losses in the supposed stronghold states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
“These meetings are aimed at preparing for the 2019 election and spreading the party’s message in various sections of society,” Bhupender Yadav, a BJP national general secretary, said after the meeting, which he said had been scheduled before the state election results came out on Tuesday.
He also announced that a planned national convention would be held in New Delhi on Jan. 11 and 12.
Senior BJP minister Nitin Gadkari told the ET Now business channel on Thursday that the agriculture sector may have been neglected under their government.

JOBS AND FARM PRICES
Agarwal, a chartered accountant who is also a director in a state-run bank, said increasing lending for job-generating small businesses was a key focus, as was enhancing procurement of grain from farmers by government agencies at state-mandated prices so there are no distress sales.
The government announces so-called minimum support prices for most crops to set a benchmark, but state agencies mainly buy limited quantities of staples such as rice and wheat at those prices, restricting benefits of higher prices to only around 7 percent of India’s 263 million farmers, according to various studies.
Following the state election setbacks, Modi’s government is expected to announce loan waivers worth billions of dollars to woo farmers, government sources told Reuters this week.
Agarwal said the party’s loss in Madhya Pradesh, known for multiplying agriculture production under three BJP governments, has reinforced its realization that higher output helps consumers by bringing down prices, but can badly hurt farmers.
“The focus has so far been on consumers, like importing onions when prices shot up,” Agarwal said. “Now we need to look at the producers, not just the consumers.”
He also said there was a case for fiscal stimulus, given that inflation fell to a 17-month low in November. Food inflation sank to a negative 2.61 percent from a negative 0.86 percent in October, according to official data released on Wednesday.