Several workers die in India mudslide

Floods and landslides kill hundreds of people in India every year. (AFP/File)
Updated 10 April 2019
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Several workers die in India mudslide

  • The women were having lunch on a hill when the mudslide happened
  • They worked as daily wage laborers in a digging site

NEW DELHI: Ten impoverished women working as daily wage laborers died after being buried alive Wednesday in southern India by a mudslide, police said.
The incident took place in the Narayanpet district of Telangana state, a senior police officer told AFP.
“They were daily wage laborers and were working at a digging site. They went near a hill to have their lunch when the mudslide occurred,” said G. Sridhar, the deputy police superintendent of Narayanpet.
Police and rescue officials used earth movers to clear the mud and retrieve the bodies.
The Press Trust of India news agency quoted witnesses as saying the women were buried under a mound of mud some six to eight feet deep.
State Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao asked officials to provide help to the families of the victims who he said “belonged to the poorest strata” of the society.
Hundreds of people die in floods and landslides across India each year.
The landslides are more common during the monsoon season which runs from June to September.


Trump administration pursues rule that would remove 3.1 mln people from food stamps

Updated 23 July 2019
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Trump administration pursues rule that would remove 3.1 mln people from food stamps

  • Currently, 43 US states allow residents to automatically become eligible for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Current rules allow people to access SNAP benefits worth thousands of dollars for two years without going through robust eligibility reviews

CHICAGO: The Trump administration on Tuesday will propose a rule to tighten food stamp restrictions that would cut about 3.1 million people from the program, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials said.

Currently, 43 US states allow residents to automatically become eligible for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, if they receive benefits from another federal program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, according to the USDA.

But the agency wants to require people who receive TANF benefits to pass a review of their income and assets to determine whether they are eligible for free food from SNAP, officials said.

If enacted, the rule would save the federal government about $2.5 billion a year by removing people from SNAP, according to the USDA.
US President Donald Trump has argued that many Americans now using SNAP do not need it given the strong economy and low unemployment, and should be removed as a way to save taxpayers as much as $15 billion.

“Some states are taking advantage of loopholes that allow people to receive the SNAP benefits who would otherwise not qualify and for which they are not entitled,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters on a conference call on Monday.

SNAP provides free food to some 40 million Americans, or about 12% of the total US population.
A Trump-backed effort to pass new restrictions through the Farm Bill was blocked by Congress last year, following a months-long, partisan debate.

The USDA does not need congressional approval, however, to stop states from automatically allowing recipients of TANF benefits to become eligible for SNAP, said Brandon Lipps, a USDA acting deputy undersecretary.

Current rules allow people to access SNAP benefits worth thousands of dollars for two years without going through robust eligibility reviews, he told reporters on the call.

“Unfortunately, automatic eligibility has expanded to allow even millionaires and others who simply receive a TANF-funded brochure to become eligible for SNAP when they clearly don’t need it,” Lipps said.

The USDA will accept public comment on the proposed rule change. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in December estimated the rule could save the federal government $8.1 billion from 2019 to 2028, lower than the USDA’s estimate.

In 2016, the CBO said arguments against the change included concerns that it would eliminate benefits for households in difficult financial situations and increase the complexity and time involved in verifying information on SNAP applications.