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At least 44 dead, dozens missing after ferry capsizes in Lake Victoria

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Dodoma: At least 44 people died and scores were feared missing after a ferry capsized in Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, with a desperate search for survivors set to resume in Tanzania .
There were “more than a hundred passengers” on board the vessel when it sank Thursday afternoon near Ukara Island in the southeast of the vast lake, which also extends into Uganda and Kenya, a local official said.
“It is feared that a significant number have lost their lives,” said George Nyamaha, the head of Ukerewe district council of which the island is a part.
Regional governor John Mongella said late Thursday the toll had reached 44 while 37 others had been rescued, though some of the survivors were in “a very bad condition”.
He added that rescue operations had been suspended and would continue on Friday morning.
A statement from Tanzania’s Electrical, Mechanical and Services Agency said it was unknown how many passengers were aboard the MV Nyerere.
The ferry was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize and cement, when it overturned close to the dock.
The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but overloading is frequently to blame for such incidents.
President John Magufuli’s spokesman Gerson Msigwa also said on state television TBC 1 that the death toll stood at more than 40.
With a surface area of 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles), oval-shaped Lake Victoria is roughly the size of Ireland.
Capsizes are not uncommon in the massive lake, and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many people in the region cannot swim.
The deadliest such accident in recent decades was in May 1996, when around 800 people died after their ferry sank on its way to Mwanza in Tanzania.
Waters in the lake can be rough and boats are frequently poorly maintained, while ferry operators often fail to record the number of passengers on board.


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CJI recuses from hearing petition challenging interim CBI chief appointment

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New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has recused himself from hearing a plea challenging M Nageswara Rao’s appointment as interim Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Gogoi has sought transparency in the process of short-listing, selection and appointment of the CBI Director.

CJI Gogoi said he cannot hear plea as he would be part of the committee meeting to select the next CBI director.

 

.The plea will now be heard on January 24 by another bench.

The high-powered selection committee comprises the prime minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the CJI or his nominee judge of the apex court.

A bench comprising CJI and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause challenging the appointment of Rao as interim CBI director.

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‘Not safe’: Mamata refuses to allow Amit Shah’s chopper to land in Malda, BJP cries foul

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KOLKATA: In yet another attempt by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal to stop Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) President Amit Shah from addressing rally in the state, the state government has denied permission for landing of Shah’s helicopter in Malda district.

The BJP president, who was recently treated for swine flu at AIIMS in New Delhi, is scheduled to address a rally in Malda on January 22. As per BJP’s plan, Shah will reach Kolkata and then take a helicopter from there to reach Malda where he will participate in a public rally with BJP workers from North Bengal.

The Malda district administration has informed the BJP that it is not possible to grant permission to land helicopters at Malda airport this week.

 

“As per report of the executive engineer, PWD (civil), Malda Division, up-gradation of work at Malda Airport is going on in full swing. A large quantity of fine sand, dust and GSB materials is lying all along the runway and also stacked all around the site,” Additional District Magistrate of Malda said in a letter to BJP.

The letter added that the ongoing construction work has also affected the maintenance of temporary helipad at the airport and it is not possible to grant permission to Shah’s chopper to land at Malda Airport.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of BJP Malda unit had written to Malda DM saying that West Bengal government is using Malda Airport for landing their helicopter every Wednesday and they are refusing permission to Shah’s helicopter.

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Centre threatening to impose Prez’s rule in Andhra: Chandrababu

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Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday alleged that the Centre was threatening to impose President’s Rule in the state but, he said, nobody would be cowed down by such threats.

He claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “negative leader” under whose leadership the country was regressing. Addressing a teleconference with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders, he attacked the prime minister and the BJP, saying they did nothing special for Andhra.

“They say one Union minister will come to the state every week. What good have they done for the state? On top of it, they are issuing threats that President’s Rule will be imposed in Andhra Pradesh. There is nobody here to be cowed down by their threats,” Naidu said.

 

Referring to the opposition parties’ rally in Kolkata two days ago, the TDP chief said it marked the beginning of the end of dictatorial rule and gave confidence to the people of the country. “We will hold a similar rally in Amaravati in which leaders of 22 parties will take part,” Naidu added.

The TDP chief lashed out at his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, saying they were working under Modi’s direction.

The TRS and the YSRC were conspiring to create misgivings among the backward classes so that they are distanced from the TDP, he alleged. He said the backward communities should unitedly thwart such attempts.

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