Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 30th 2014 Contents A27
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NEW DELHI---Police in southern
India detained five construction com-
pany officials Sunday as rescuers
using gas cutters and shovels searched
for dozens of workers believed buried
in the rubble of a building that col-
lapsed during monsoon rains.
It was one of two weekend building
collapses that killed at least 22 people.
Nearly 90 contract workers were
believed to have been in the basement
of the 11-story structure to collect their
wages when it collapsed Saturday on
the outskirts of Chennai, the capital of
Tamil Nadu state.
Police said 31 had been pulled out
so far, four died on the spot and another
seven succumbed to injuries in a hos-
The exact number of those trapped
was unknown but rescuers could hear
feeble voices in the debris, said TS Srid-
har, the disaster management agency
commissioner. Officials used gas cutters,
iron rods and shovels after cranes lifted
concrete blocks to get to the survivors.
"Removing debris is a major chal-
lenge. It may take two to three days to
clear the rubble," said SP Selvam, who
is heading the rescue operation.
Police officer Fernandes said two
directors, two engineers and one super-
visor of the construction company,
Prime Sristi, were detained for ques-
tioning as authorities began investi-
gating the collapse.
Balaguru, one of the builders, said
the structure collapsed possibly due to
the impact of lightning.
"Usually, once the construction gets
over we install the equipment to prevent
the building from a thunder strike. It
was nearing completion," the Press
Trust of India news agency quoted Bal-
aguru, who uses one name, as saying.
Earlier Saturday, 11 people died and
one survivor was being treated in a
hospital after a four-story, 50-year-old
structure toppled in an area of New
Delhi inhabited by the poor, said fire
service officer Praveer Haldiar.
Most homes in that part of the capital
were built without permission and using
substandard materials, police officer
Madhur Verma said.
Building collapses are common in
India, where high demand for housing
and lax regulations have encouraged
some builders to cut corners, use sub-
standard materials or add unauthorized
In April last year, 74 people were
killed when an eight-story building
being constructed illegally in the Mum-
bai suburb of Thane in western Maha-
rashtra state caved in. It was the worst
building collapse in the country in
Rescuers with a sniffer dog search for workers believed buried in the rubble of a
building that collapsed late Saturday during monsoon rains on the outskirts of
Chennai, India. Police said dozens of workers have been pulled out so far and the
search is continuing. AP PHOTO
5 detained, 22 dead in
India building collapses
LONDON---In the past decade, billions
of dollars have been spent trying to
save the lives of mothers in developing
countries using strategies --- usually
inexpensive drugs --- deemed essential
by the UN health agency.
Yet two large analyses of maternal
health programmes--- including one
conducted by the UN itself --- report
that the efforts appeared almost
useless, raising troubling questions
about why all that money was spent.
While critics are calling for the pricey
global initiatives to be significantly
overhauled, the programmes are still
being implemented despite little proof
they work. The practices mainly involve
things like ensuring women giving birth
get cheap drugs such as magnesium
sulphate to treat labour complications
or pre-emptive antibiotics for those
getting a cesarean section.
At an international meeting of UN
partners starting today in South Africa,
health officials are getting ready to ask
donors for even more money to pour
into maternal health programmes. Since
2009, the US has invested more than
US$13 billion in maternal and child
survival, hoping to save lives by
supporting "high-impact" health
Studies question UN strategies to save mothers
BAUCHI, Nigeria---Suspected Islamic extremists
sprayed gunfire at worshippers and torched four
churches Sunday in a village just miles from the
town where more than 200 schoolgirls were kid-
napped, witnesses said.
At least 30 bodies have been recovered but more
are turning up in the bushes, where people tried
to escape from Kwada village, said a member of
a vigilante group that has had some successes in
Some of the church buildings destroyed included
the Protestant Church of Christ in Nigeria, the
Pentecostal Deeper Life Bible Church and Ekklesiyar
Yan'uwa, which is Hausa for Church of the Brethren
in Nigeria, Yahi said. The last was started by Amer-
ican missionaries from Illinois in the 1920s.
Yahi said the attackers went on to neighbouring
Kautikari, where they gunned down villagers and
burned down homes. The vigilante said they had
not yet reached Kautikari so did not know what
the death toll was there.
Police spokesman Gideon Jubrin said he could
not confirm the attack because bad communications
have kept officials from reaching the nearest security
post at Chibok, though Associated Press reporters
were able to make cell phone calls to the town.
Chibok is the town in northeast Borno state from
which more than 200 girls were abducted in April.
Officials say 219 girls remain captive. Kwada is 10
kilometres (six miles) and Kautikari seven kilometres
(four miles) away.
Angry Chibok residents said soldiers were slow
to respond to news of the attack, and the vigilantes
said that once they reached Kwada, the soldiers
refused to confront the extremists directly, only
shooting at them from a distance outside the village.
They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of
reprisals from the military.
Boko Haram extremists attacked a military camp
in the neighbouring local government area of
Damboa last week and killed at least 51 soldiers.
Survivors said they came in armored personnel
carriers mounted with anti-aircraft guns and were
armed with rocket launchers and submachine guns
much heavier than the soldiers' AK47 assault rifles.
The insurgents abducted many soldiers who remain
missing, they said.
Boko Haram extremists are demanding the release
of detained fighters in return for the kidnapped
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has been
criticised for the slow reaction to the abductions
and failure to swiftly rescue the girls. The United
States has drones flying to help locate them and
other nations have sent experts to help, but nego-
tiations appear stalled.
Nigeria's military has said it knows where they
are but fears any military campaign could get them
Jonathan on Sunday condemned other recent
attacks---Friday's bombing of a hotel that local
reports identified as a brothel in Bauchi state, also
in the northeast, and sectarian killings of sedentary
farmers who are mainly Christian by alleged Fulani
Muslim herders in northern Kaduna state. (AP)
Gunmen torch churches,
kill scores in Nigeria
KIEV, Ukraine---Ukrainian President Petro
Poroshenko tried to keep his peace plan to settle
the conflict with pro-Russian separatists on track
in a four-way phone call Sunday with Russian
President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of France
The two-hour conversation came ahead of a
Monday deadline that European Union leaders set
for Russia and the separatists to take steps to ease
the violence, warning that otherwise they were
ready "at any time" to impose further punitive
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French
President Francois Hollande encouraged the Ukrain-
ian and Russian presidents to work on meeting the
EU conditions, Hollande's office said in a statement.
The EU's demands included the return of three
border checkpoints to Ukrainian control, verification
of the cease-fire by monitors from the Organization
for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and talks
to put Poroshenko's peace plan in place.
The call was the latest in a series of discussions
the four leaders have held in recent weeks in an
effort to stop the fighting that has killed more than
400 people since April. A cease-fire in place since
June 20 has been shaky, with each side accusing
the other of numerous violations. A statement
issued by Poroshenko's office said he underlined
Ukraine's willingness to maintain the cease-fire at
least until Monday evening, but expressed concern
about the situation, noting what he said were mul-
tiple violations of the truce by separatist fighters.
He called on Putin to strengthen border controls
from the Russian side to stop what Ukraine says
is the flow of weapons, fighters and mercenaries.
The sides agreed that more talks among represen-
tatives of Ukraine, Russia and the separatists would
convene "very soon," Poroshenko's office said. (AP)
ISLAMABAD---A 17-year-old girl and her husband
were killed by her family for marrying without its
consent, and another young woman was burned
alive by a man for refusing his proposal in Pakistan's
eastern Punjab province, police said yesterday.
Muafia Bibi and her husband Sajjad Ahmed, 30,
were killed in Satrah village Friday night, allegedly
by her parents, two uncles and her grandfather, said
Asghar Ali, the area police chief.
He said the couple was hacked to death with a
butcher's knife, and that all five suspects have been
apprehended. Ali said the couple married on June
19, and that the family had lured them back home
by saying it accepted the marriage. He said it was
Ahmed's third marriage, with the first ending in
divorce and his second wife leaving him after he
married Bibi. Elsewhere in Punjab, a man burned
alive a young girl he wanted to marry after her family
refused his proposal. Fayaz Aslam, 26, doused Sidra
Shaukat in gasoline before setting the 20-year-old
alight in a field, said Akhtar Saeed, a district police
Ukraine president talks to
Putin, Merkel, Hollande
Pakistani couple killed
over love marriage
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