Bus accident in south India kills at least 55 people

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Rescuers pull out passengers from a bus that fell into a gorge in Jagtiyal district of Telangana, India, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (AP)
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Relatives of victims of a bus accident wail near a hospital in Jagtiyal district of Telangana, India, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. A bus carrying pilgrims from a Hindu temple in the hills of south India plunged off a road Tuesday, killing more than 50 people including four children, officials said. (AP)
Updated 11 September 2018
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Bus accident in south India kills at least 55 people

HYDERABAD, India: A bus carrying pilgrims from a Hindu temple in the hills of south India plunged off a road Tuesday, killing at least 55 people including four children, officials said. At least 33 others were injured.
The driver lost control as he hit a speed bump on a road leading from the popular Anjaneya Swamy temple in Telangana state, about 190 kilometers (118 miles) from Hyderabad, the state capital, Transport Minister P. Maneder Reddy said. The overcrowded bus pitched into a gorge.
Crowds often throng the temple on Tuesdays. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Hanuman, and Tuesdays are seen as auspicious for offering prayers to him.
Passersby rushed to help after the bus crashed, mangling the front of the vehicle. Volunteers crawled into the bus through broken windows, carrying the dead and injured though thick grass and up the hill to the road. The injured were taken to area hospitals.
Local broadcaster ETV showed chaotic scenes at a hospital in Jagtiyal, where people wailed over bodies in a mortuary.
Reddy said at a news conference that the bus depot manager had been suspended.
“The bus was carrying more passengers than allowed,” Reddy said, adding that the accident appeared to have been caused by a brake failure.
An investigation has been ordered into the cause, officials said.
Among those killed was the bus driver, who lost both of his legs in the accident and later died in the hospital.
“The bus accident in Telangana’s Jagtial district is shocking beyond words,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet. “Anguished by the loss of lives. My thoughts and solidarity with the bereaved families. I pray that the injured recover quickly.”
President Ram Nath Kovind also said that he was shocked to learn about the accident.
Around 150,000 people die every year on India’s roads, often because of reckless driving, badly maintained roads and vehicles overcrowded with passengers.
Deadly bus accidents are common. In July, 48 people were killed when a bus crashed into a gorge in Uttarakhand state.


Swiss canton becomes second to ban burqas in public

Updated 35 min 9 sec ago
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Swiss canton becomes second to ban burqas in public

  • Full-face coverings such as niqabs and burqas are a polarizing issue across Europe
  • The clothing has already been banned in France and Denmark

ZURICH: Voters in St. Gallen on Sunday approved by a two-thirds majority a ban on facial coverings such as the burqa, becoming the second Swiss canton to do so.
Full-face coverings such as niqabs and burqas are a polarizing issue across Europe, with some arguing that they symbolize discrimination against women and should be outlawed. The clothing has already been banned in France and Denmark.
Under the Swiss system of direct democracy, voters in the northeastern canton demanded tightening the law to punish those who cover their faces in public and thus “threaten or endanger public security or religious or social peace.”
The regional government, which had opposed the measure, now has to implement the result of the vote, which drew turnout of around 36 percent.
Switzerland’s largest Islamic organization, the Islamic Central Council, recommended women continue to cover their faces. It said it would closely monitor the implementation of the ban and consider legal action if necessary.
The Swiss federal government in June opposed a grassroots campaign for a nationwide ban on facial coverings.
The Swiss cabinet said individual cantons should decide on the matter, but it will nevertheless go to a nationwide vote after activists last year collected more than the required 100,000 signatures to trigger a referendum.
Two-thirds of Switzerland’s 8.5 million residents identify as Christians. But its Muslim population has risen to 5 percent, largely because of immigrants from former Yugoslavia.
One Swiss canton, Italian-speaking Ticino, already has a similar ban, while two others have rejected it.