Floods in Indonesia kill 29, dozen missing

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TOPSHOT - This aerial picture taken on April 27, 2019 shows a general view of submerged buildings after heavy rain caused flooding in Bengkulu on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. At least 10 people are dead and eight are missing after days of heavy rain-triggered floods and landslides on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, authorities said on April 28. / AFP / DIVA MARHA
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This photo taken on April 27, 2019 shows residents salvaging belongings as floodwaters submerged their homes after heavy rains in Bengkulu on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. (AFP)
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TOPSHOT - This aerial picture taken on April 27, 2019 shows a general view of submerged buildings after heavy rain caused flooding in Bengkulu on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. At least 10 people are dead and eight are missing after days of heavy rain-triggered floods and landslides on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, authorities said on April 28. / AFP / DIVA MARHA
Updated 29 April 2019
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Floods in Indonesia kill 29, dozen missing

  • Almost 12,000 were evacuated from Bengkulu province
  • Authorities said illegal mining in Sumatra is partly responsible for the landslides

BENGKULU, Indonesia: Floods sparked by torrential rains have killed 29 people in Indonesia with a dozen more still missing, officials said Monday, marking the latest calamity for a disaster-prone nation.

Landslides and floods are common, especially during the monsoon season between October and April, when rains lash the vast Southeast Asian archipelago.

On Monday, Indonesia’s disaster agency confirmed 29 deaths and said at least 13 more people were missing after days of pounding storms on the island of Sumatra.

Some 12,000 others have been evacuated from water-logged Bengkulu province with hundreds of buildings, bridges and roads damaged.

Hardest hit was Bengkulu Tengah district, just outside of the provincial capital, where 22 people were killed along with hundreds of livestock.

Authorities have set up temporary shelters and public kitchens for the evacuees.

Meanwhile, a landslide triggered by heavy rain in Sumatra’s Lampung province on Saturday killed a family of six and disrupted transportation links to neighboring regions.

Flooding in parts of the capital Jakarta during the week killed at least two people and forced more than 2,000 to evacuate their homes.

Residents of Bogor, a satellite city of Jakarta, also had to contend with 14 pythons that were set loose from a private property due to the high waters.

Six of the snakes — which were as long as four meters — have been found, but the remaining eight remain on the loose, officials said at the weekend.

In Sumatra, authorities said that illegal coal mining was partly to blame for deadly landslides as the practice makes loose soil susceptible to slides when heavy rains hit.

“Apart from natural factors like the heavy rain, (the flooding) was also caused by human activity that destroys the environment,” disaster agency head Doni Monardo told reporters in Bengkulu on Monday.

Activists have long warned deforestation from rampant mining in the province could trigger a catastrophe.

At least four major rivers in Bengkulu overflow every time it rains due to environmental damage near their banks, activists said.

“The flooding in Bengkulu was made worse by the severe damage...caused by coal mining,” Ali Akbar from local environmental group Kanopi Bengkulu said in a statement.

Illegal mining was blamed for killing dozens on the island of Sulawesi in March when a makeshift mine collapsed.

Last month, some 112 people died and more than 90 remain missing after torrential rains pounded Indonesia’s Papua region, triggering landslides and flash floods.


Sweden asks for detention of WikiLeaks’ Assange

Updated 20 May 2019
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Sweden asks for detention of WikiLeaks’ Assange

  • Assange was evicted last month from the Ecuadorian Embassy where he had been holed up since 2012
  • The Australian secret-spiller also faces a US extradition warrant for allegedly conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer

COPENHAGEN: A Swedish prosecutor says she has requested a detention order against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is jailed in Britain.
Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson says if the Swedish court decided to detain Assange “on probable cause suspected for rape ... I will issue a European Arrest Warrant.”
Assange, who was evicted last month from the Ecuadorian Embassy where he had been holed up since 2012, was arrested by British police on April 11 and is currently serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in 2012.
The Australian secret-spiller also faces a US extradition warrant for allegedly conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer.
Persson said Monday that British authorities will decide any conflict between a European arrest warrant and US extradition request for Assange.