Recovery begins after cyclone Amphan ravages India, Bangladesh coast

Residents clear a tree that fell on electric lines after the landfall of cyclone Amphan, the most powerful storm in the region in more than a decade, in Kolkata on May 21, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 22 May 2020

Recovery begins after cyclone Amphan ravages India, Bangladesh coast

  • Amphan hit land Wednesday as the most powerful storm in the region in more than a decade

NEW DELHI: India authorities on Friday began assessing damage and clearing roads in the wake of Cyclone Amphan that killed more than 90 people and left millions displaced after barreling through the coastal communities of eastern India and neighboring Bangladesh.
In West Bengal state, which bore the brunt of the storm that caused extensive flooding in its capital Kolkata, police and teams from India’s national disaster response force removed fallen trees and other debris, repaired communication lines and started getting hundreds of thousands of people out of shelters.
Amphan hit land Wednesday as the most powerful storm in the region in more than a decade, dumping heavy rain amid a battering storm surge.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the cyclone must be treated as a national disaster. She also pitched for monetary assistance from the federal government after receiving Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Kolkata airport.
The two later conducted an aerial survey of the worst-hit areas of the state. It was Modi’s first trip outside the national capital after a coronavirus lockdown was imposed in late March.
Modi promised Thursday that “no stone will be left unturned in helping the affected.”
In an initial assessment, officials in Bangladesh said the cyclone caused about $130 million in damage to infrastructure, housing, fisheries, livestock, water resources and agriculture. The full extent of the damage along India’s eastern coast was not immediately known.
Authorities in both countries managed to evacuate more than 3 million people before Amphan struck.
At least 80 people were killed in West Bengal state, and two more deaths were reported in neighboring Odisha state. Bangladesh reported 13 deaths.


Britain’s Iraq war crimes probe dismisses thousands of complaints

Updated 02 June 2020

Britain’s Iraq war crimes probe dismisses thousands of complaints

  • Former lawyer Phil Shiner and a team in Berlin drew on the accounts of more than 400 Iraqis who allegedly witnessed or experienced crimes

LONDON: An independent British investigator looking into allegations that UK soldiers committed war crimes in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 said Tuesday that all but one of the thousands of complaints have been dropped.
The Service Prosecuting Authority director Andrew Cayley told BBC radio that it was “quite possible” that none of the original allegations will lead to a prosecution.
Cayley did not provide details of the allegation in the last remaining case.
British combat troops fought alongside other coalition forces in an effort to quell an Islamic insurgency that followed the 2003 US invasion and subsequent fall and execution of dictator Saddam Hussein.
Former lawyer Phil Shiner and a team in Berlin drew on the accounts of more than 400 Iraqis who allegedly witnessed or experienced crimes ranging from rape and torture to mock executions and other atrocities.
A UK tribunal struck off Shiner after finding him guilty of misconduct and dishonesty in connection with the allegations in 2017.
Cayley told the BBC that it was likely that no action would be taken in a separate International Criminal Court (ICC) probe.
“My sense is these matters are coming to a conclusion,” he said.
A lawyer representing some of the soldiers accused by Shiner called for a public apology over the “vile war crime slurs.”
“At long last, this witch hunt is coming to an end,” lawyer Hilary Meredith said.
The UK Defense Ministry said in 2012 that it had paid £15.1 million ($19 million, 17 million euros) to more than 200 Iraqis who had accused British troops of illegal detention and torture.