India heatwave kills 800 as capital’s roads melt

Updated 27 May 2015
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India heatwave kills 800 as capital’s roads melt

HYDERABAD, India: At least 800 people have died in a major heatwave that has swept across India, melting roads in New Delhi as temperatures neared 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit).
Hospitals were on alert to treat victims of heatstroke and authorities advised people to stay indoors, with no end in sight to the searing conditions.
India’s Meteorological Department said it had issued heat warnings to several states where temperatures were forecast to top 45 degrees Celsius over the next few days.
“As of now, we don’t predict any respite from the extreme heatwave for the next few days,” said spokesman B. P. Yadav.
Hundreds of people — mainly from the poorest sections of society — die at the height of summer every year across the country, while tens of thousands suffer power cuts from an overburdened electricity grid.
Streets were deserted in Hyderabad, capital of the worst-hit state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India where 551 people have died in the last week.
“The state government has taken up education programs through television and other media to tell people not to venture into the outside without a cap, to drink water and other measures,” said P. Tulsi Rani, special commissioner for disaster management in the state.
“We have also requested NGOs and government organizations to open up drinking water camps so that water will be readily available for all the people in the towns.”
Hyderabad street vendor P. Gangamma said the heat was making her head pound, but she had no choice but to stay outside.
“For the past three days hot wind has been coming in,” said the 65-year-old, who sells cigarettes on a busy intersection.
“I am a diabetes patient, but I have no husband and no sons, so I have to stay here and keep shop.”

Furnace-like conditions
Large parts of India, including the capital New Delhi, have endured days of sweltering heat, prompting fears of power cuts as energy-guzzling air conditioners work overtime.
The Hindustan Times daily said the maximum temperature in the capital hit a two-year high of 45.5 degrees Celsius on Monday — five degrees higher than the seasonal average.
The paper carried a front-page photo of a main road in the city melting in the heat, with the white pedestrian crossing stripes curling and spreading into the black asphalt.
“It’s baking hot out here — our outing has turned into a nightmare,” said Meena Sheshadri, a 37-year-old tourist from the western city of Pune who was visiting Delhi’s India Gate monument with her children.
“My throat is parched, even though I’ve been constantly sipping water.”
Delhi street food vendor Hari Om said business was slow, with few people venturing out in the furnace-like conditions.
“All the food is getting spoilt even though I prepared it fresh in the morning. It’s bad business but what to do,” he said.
“People are not coming out and they also don’t feel like eating. All they want is to sip cold water all day.”
In Telangana state, which borders Andhra Pradesh in the south, 231 people have died in the last week as temperatures hit 48 degrees Celsius over the weekend.
In the western state of Orissa 11 people were confirmed to have died from the heat.
Another 13 people have died in the eastern state of West Bengal, where unions urged drivers in the city of Kolkata to stay off the roads during the day.
India’s power industry has long struggled to meet rapidly rising demand in Asia’s third largest economy, with poorly maintained transmission lines and overloaded grids.
The Hindustan Times warned that some of the hot, dry conditions could plunge the worst-affected states into drought before monsoon rains arrive.
The monsoon is forecast to hit the southern state of Kerala toward the end of this month before sweeping across the country, but it will be weeks before the rains reach the arid northern plains.


‘Send her back!’, US crowd roars as Trump steps up ‘racist’ attack on 4 congresswomen

Updated 4 min 5 sec ago
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‘Send her back!’, US crowd roars as Trump steps up ‘racist’ attack on 4 congresswomen

  • Trump’s targets are Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan
  • He described the targets his hate campaign as ‘hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down’

GREENVILLE, North Carolina: Going after four Democratic congresswomen one by one, a combative President Donald Trump turned his campaign rally Wednesday into an extended dissection of the liberal views of the women of color, deriding them for what he painted as extreme positions and suggesting they just get out.
“Tonight I have a suggestion for the hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down,” Trump told the crowd in North Carolina, a swing state he won in 2016 and wants to claim again in 2020. “They never have anything good to say. That’s why I say, ‘Hey if you don’t like it, let ‘em leave, let ‘em leave.’“
Eager to rile up his base with the some of the same kind of rhetoric he targeted at minorities and women in 2016, Trump declared, “I think in some cases they hate our country.”
Trump’s jabs were aimed at the self-described “squad” of four freshmen Democrats who have garnered attention since their arrival in January for their outspoken liberal views and distaste for Trump: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All were born in the US except for Omar, who came to the US as a child after fleeing Somalia with her family.
Taking the legislators on one at a time, Trump ticked through a laundry list of what he deemed offensive comments by each woman, mangling and misconstruing many facts along the way.
Omar came under the harshest criticism as Trump played to voters’ grievances, drawing a chant from the crowd of “Send her back! Send her back!“
Trump set off a firestorm Sunday when he tweeted that the four should “go back” to their home countries — though three were born in the United States. Trump has accused them of “spewing some of the most vile, hateful and disgusting things ever said by a politician.”
Before he left Washington, Trump said he has no regrets about his ongoing spat with the four. Trump told reporters he thinks he’s “winning the political argument” and “winning it by a lot.”
“If people want to leave our country, they can. If they don’t want to love our country, if they don’t want to fight for our country, they can,” Trump said. “I’ll never change on that.”
Trump’s harsh denunciations were another sign of his willingness to exploit the nation’s racial divisions heading into the 2020 campaign.
His speech was filled with Trump’s trademark criticisms about the news media, which he says sides with liberals, and of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Mueller had been scheduled to testify Wednesday on Capitol Hill, but it was postponed. Trump brought him up anyway. “What happened to me with this witch hunt should never be allowed to happen to another president,” he said.
He also talked about illegal immigration, a main theme of his first presidential bid that is taking center stage in his re-election campaign. He brushed off the criticism he has gotten for saying that the congresswomen should go back home. “So controversial,” he said sarcastically.
The four freshmen have portrayed the president as a bully who wants to “vilify” not only immigrants, but all people of color. They say they are fighting for their priorities to lower health care costs and pass a Green New Deal addressing climate change, while his thundering attacks are a distraction and tear at the core of America values.
The Democratic-led US House voted Tuesday to condemn Trump for what it labeled “racist comments,” despite near-solid GOP opposition and the president’s own insistence that he doesn’t have a “racist bone” in his body.
Trump hasn’t shown signs of being rattled by the House rebuke, and called an impeachment resolution that failed in Congress earlier Wednesday “ridiculous.” The condemnation carries no legal repercussions and his latest harangues struck a chord with supporter in Greenville, whose chants of “Four more years!” and “Build that wall!” bounced off the rafters.
Vice President Mike Pence was first up after spending the day in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and visiting troops at Fort Bragg. “North Carolina and America needs four more years,” Pence said.
It was Trump’s sixth visit to the state as president and his first 2020 campaign event in North Carolina, where he defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Before Trump arrived, Wayne Goodwin, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, spoke at a rally in Greenville and called Trump “just another corrupt snake oil salesman.”
“From sparking a harmful trade war that puts our farmers in the crosshairs, to giving corporations a billion-dollar giveaway at the expense of our middle class, to repeatedly pushing to end protections for pre-existing conditions and raise health care costs, his broken promises have hurt hard-working families across North Carolina,” Goodwin said.