India's Kerala state on high alert after floods kill 37

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An Indian man rides his boat next to houses immersed in flood waters in Ernakulam district of Kochi, in the Indian state of Kerala on August 10, 2018. (AFP)
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Rescue personnel patrol the flooded waters on the banks of Periyar River after the opening of Idamalayar and Cheruthoni dam shutters following heavy rains, on the outskirts of Kochi, August 10,2018. (REUTERS)
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Roads and houses are engulfed in water following heavy rain and landslide in Kozhikode, Kerala state, India, on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. (AP)
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In this photo taken on August 9, 2018, water gushes out of Idamalayar dam as shutters of the dam opened with the storage level crossing 169 metre, the full reservoir level near Bhoothathankettu, on the Idamalayar River, a tributary of the Periyar River. (AFP)
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Photo: (social media)
Updated 12 August 2018
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India's Kerala state on high alert after floods kill 37

  • More than a million foreign tourists visited Kerala last year
  • Hundreds of homes were totally destroyed

NEW DELHI: Flash floods in Kerala have killed 37 people and displaced around 36,000, Indian officials said Saturday, after heavy monsoons led to landslides and overflowing reservoirs across the southern state.
Kerala, famed for its pristine palm-lined beaches and tea plantations, is battered by the monsoon every year but the rains have been particularly severe this season.
Those forced from their homes “have moved to 350 relief camps across the state,” an official at the Kerala State Disaster Management control room told AFP.
The army has been roped in for rescue efforts in Kerala after two days of heavy rain drove authorities to open the shutters of 27 reservoirs to drain out the excess water.
One of the five shutters of a large reservoir in the mountainous Idukki district was opened for the first time in 26 years.
“Our state is in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
“The calamity has caused immeasurable misery and devastation. Many lives were lost. Hundreds of homes were totally destroyed,” he added, lauding the efforts of rescue teams working in the state from across India.
The US embassy Thursday advised its citizens to avoid the areas affected and monitor local media for weather updates.
More than a million foreign tourists visited Kerala last year, according to official data.
The government of Kerala, which has a population of 33 million people, has imposed a ban on the movement of lorries and tourist vehicles in Idukki.


Venezuela’s deputy UN military attache backs Guaido

Maduro says Guaido is leading a US-directed coup against him. (AFP)
Updated 21 February 2019
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Venezuela’s deputy UN military attache backs Guaido

  • Chirinos has called Maduro’s government “illegally constituted.”

WASHINGTON: Venezuela’s deputy UN military attache, Col. Pedro Chirinos, said in a video on social media that he recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president, increasing pressure on President Nicolas Maduro.
US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, highlighted Chirinos’ announcement in a note posted on Twitter on Wednesday but misidentified him as the military attache to the United Nations.
“Venezuela’s military attache to the United Nations, Col. Pedro Chirinos, has announced his official recognition of Juan Guaido as Interim President of Venezuela,” Bolton said in his note.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said he was not aware of any notifications from the Venezuelan UN mission on changes to its delegation.
In a video shared by Bolton on Twitter, Chirinos identified himself and called Maduro’s government “illegally constituted,” while dressed in a military uniform and standing in front of the flags of Venezuela and the United Nations.
“I recognize, and offer my support and obedience, to the transition government led by the president, Juan Guaido,” Chirinos said.
The United States and scores of other countries have openly backed Guaido, who last month invoked constitutional provisions to assume the interim presidency after declaring Maduro’s re-election last year illegitimate.
Maduro retains the support of Russia and China and control of Venezuelan state institutions, including the security services. He says Guaido is leading a US-directed coup against him.